What is Adoption?

If there is anything we know, it is that children belong with families. 

Right now, hundreds of children in the state of Florida are awaiting a forever family. Through no fault of their own, these children could not be safely reunified with their biological families after entering foster care. In these situations, the court determines whether it is in the child’s best interest to terminate their parental rights (TPR). Once the TPR process begins, we start to look for a new forever family for the child.

There is a great need throughout the State of Florida for families to open their hearts and their homes to children and teenagers in need of a forever family.  We believe that there are loving, caring families who can provide a forever home to a child or sibling group who cannot safely return to their family.  Many times this may be a teenager, a child with special emotional and/or medical needs, or a sibling group. It is extremely rare for an infant or toddler to become openly available for adoption.

Adoption through the foster care system can be challenging at times, but is a very rewarding experience. These children require a strong family, who can provide a loving, safe, and stable environment to help them develop and feel comfortable as part of the family. Throughout the United States, there are thousands of children available for adoption and waiting for a forever family. Heartland for Children has children right in your local community that are waiting for a forever family through adoption. Florida’s state adoption system offers many unique benefits to adopting children, teenagers, and sibling groups such as tuition waiver, secure legal process, assistance with services and supports, etc.

Check out our Heart Gallery to explore the current children & teens available for adoption within Polk, Highlands, and Hardee Counties.

If you live in Polk, Highlands, or Hardee Counties and would like to register for our next adoption training course, please call 863-519-8900 ext. 223. For additional information about how to adopt a child, please contact (863) 519-8900 ext. 219.

The Heart Gallery

The Heart Gallery

The Heartland for Children Heart Gallery was created to promote local adoption. The mission of the Heart Gallery reaches beyond the kids in the exhibit and into the community, hoping to raise awareness about the need for adoptive and fostering homes.

Professional photographers donate their time by taking compelling pictures of local children hoping to be adopted, and the results are exhibited in a gallery format. The portraits are showcased in a variety of public venues, to increase awareness and help find forever families.  Heart Galleries throughout the country are achieving great success in finding forever families for children.

Heartland for Children's Heart Gallery features local children in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties who are currently available for adoption.

The Process

The Process

Almost anyone is eligible to apply to become an adoptive parent — you may be single, married, divorced, or widowed.  You may currently have children, or not. You may own a home, or rent. There is no minimum income requirement, but applicants must have legal and stable income that is sufficient to support themselves and their families prior to fostering. There are many benefits to adopting a child or teenager; for instance, college tuition for children in care is funded 100% by the state of Florida. 

Step 1: Call

Call our Adoptions team at 863-519-8900 x 223 so that we can conduct a short interview to determine eligibility.

Step 2: Sign-up for an Adoption Info Session.

Step 3: Adoption Training Course

After attending an Adoption Info Session, your family may be invited to attend the 8-week adoption training course. The course includes a Welcome Night, two full day classes, as well as a few online training videos. The total amount of training time is 21 hours. This is a free adoption training course that provides information related to domestic state adoptions, adoptions services, supports available, and education about the impact of trauma and how to best help children heal in relationships from prior trauma. 

Step 4: Preparation & Selection

During the adoption training course, families will complete paperwork as part of the preparation and selection process.  Families will be required to complete certain screening and paperwork such as background screening, health screening, verification of financial stability, and obtaining references. This is an impactful time for families to identify strengths and needs within your own family that will help in identifying the best match for your family when adopting.

Step 5: Adoption Home Study

Upon successful completion of the adoption training course and all other screening, your family may receive an adoption home study. During the adoption home study process, an adoption specialist will visit your home and meet your family. You will discuss your motivation behind wanting to adopt, your openness to parenting children with special needs, your personal and family history, your family interests and routines, etc., which will determine the type of child(ren) that would best match your family.  

Step 6: Matching Process

Once your family completes an adoption home study and has been approved you will work closely with Heartland for Children’s Recruitment Specialist to learn about available children. Once you are matched with a child, the child’s assigned adoption specialist that will guide you along this process.   

Step 7: Adoption Finalization

After a successful match and visitation period with the child(ren), your family will have at least a three month supervision period in which the child(ren) will live in your home prior to the legal adoption finalization date. 

Myths & Facts

Myths & Facts

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to adoption. Let's get the facts straight, check out our most common Adoption Myths & Facts.

Success Stories

Success Stories

We have an incredible community of adoptive families that have opened their hearts and homes to children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Read some of their success stories.