florida adoption home study

our florida team



Carrie Murray Nellis

Executive Director & Florida State Director

Carrie's BIO

My Mother tells a story about me at the ripe age of 7. She found me pacing up and down the driveway with my suitcase full of necessities (i.e. dolls, toys, etc) in hand. A family friend happened to be out for a run and stopped me thinking I was planning to run away. He asked: “Carrie, what are you doing?” With the innocence of a 7 year old I simply answered “Mr. Stan don’t you know Jesus is coming? Are you ready?”

And with that I seem to have never stopped asking the same question to all who would listen. As I grew older I realized simply loving people was more effective than words – but when God opened the doors the question remained the same – Are you Ready?

I graduated from Wheaton College with degrees I would never use, but my time at Wheaton furthered my passion for others and a thirst to discover how my talents & passions fit into the body of christ.

My sweet husband, Gil, and I married fresh out of college. Only three months into our marriage when literally I woke him up in the middle of the night to say “God is calling me to go to Law School.” His response was as surprising as my impromptu announcement – He said “me too.” And with that we quit our jobs and went to Mercer University School of Law together. Throughout our time at Mercer I admit I was jealous of Gil. He was focused. He knew his calling was towards Tax law and Estate Planning. For three years I continually asked God “Are you sure I heard you right?” “Why am I here?” His steady voice continued to say “Just wait.”

After Graduation, I worked for a small general practice law firm in Savannah, Georgia. I was blessed with great partners who genuinely loved me, but I was lost – still not knowing why God had called me to practice law.

Within my first year of practice, I had my first Adoption case and a fire inside me started burning. Shortly afterwards The Murray Nellis Law Group was born. I quickly became involved in Juvenile Court cases and saw an opportunity to serve my clients by not only fighting for them inside the courtroom, but by loving them outside the courtroom walls as well. But as many do, I became disillusioned with the Juvenile System that so many times it fails our children and Birthparents. The Lord showed me that through Open Adoption children would have an opportunity for a stable safe upbringing and Birthparents would have the opportunity to reclaim their dignity and know what it means to be truly loved.

And so one thing lead to another – years have gone by and the Lord allowed my law practice to become exclusively centered around Adoption Law.

For years I have had the opportunity to work alongside Vicki, but in 2016, the Lord called us to start Abiding Love Adoption Agency. It is our passion to serve Birthparents and to serve them well by loving them FIRST! I consider it an honor that God chose me to love on such special women and men during one of the most difficult times of their lives.

Stacie Joiner

Home Study Caseworker

Stacie's BIO

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a burning passion in my heart to speak up for the voiceless. It’s how God wired me. I knew by the time I was sixteen years old that He had a clear calling on my life to do just that. Through my childhood, I witnessed my own mother advocating for life by loving on birth moms. I also witnessed several adoptions which overwhelmed and humbled me to see how beautiful of a depiction it was of my own salvation. I was lost and fatherless with no voice, then Jesus advocated for me on the cross. He paid the ultimate price so that I could be adopted and reconciled to my Heavenly Father. It was again imprinted on my heart that adoption would play a big role in my life.

God had placed the same desire on my husband’s heart before we ever started dating. After we got married in 2011 we prayed about adoption fervently, asking God for the right time. We went on to have 2 biological children when God gave us the green light in 2015. (By the way, our youngest was only 7 weeks old so this had to be God’s timing, right?) We prayed through every avenue of adoption, and God so faithfully led us to our daughter in China in the summer of 2016. Fast forward 4 years and we now have 5 children. In that time, we also uprooted our life in Georgia to move to Jacksonville, FL for my husband’s career. (We love the beach, but living near all these Florida Gators is still taking some getting used to!) Life is full and fun and crazy and never dull for us! We consider ourselves to have been blessed immeasurably more than we could have ever asked or imagined.

I am beyond excited to be a part of Abiding Love Adoptions walking alongside fellow adoptive families to help prepare them for the beautiful, unknown road they are faithfully and obediently walking down. It’s not an easy road, but it’s so worth it because it’s so pleasing to our Heavenly Father. It’s my absolute joy and honor to play any small role in God joining families together in such a beautiful, redemptive way.

We have a team of dedicated social workers to complete adoption home studies throughout the State of Florida. The home study process is similar for everyone, but there will also be some unique differences depending on the details of your situation.

Abiding Love Adoptions is here to simplify the process, answer all of your questions, and set your mind at ease. We’d love to talk with you and discuss how we can help.


Initial Home Study


Home Study Updates


Home Study Conversions


Post Placement Supervision

our locations

Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Stuart, Florida

Stuart, Florida

Miami Beach, Florida

Miami Beach, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Gainsville, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach, Florida

A Word

from our founder

"A Healthy Open Adoption begins at the Home Study. While many see the Home Study Process as simply a series of checklists and interviews, Abiding Love does not.  Instead, we passionately believe that one-on-one education regarding the complicated facets of Adoption is the starting point for the needed heart-shift from an adoptive parent-centered perspective to a triad-centered perspective.  The education and counseling completed during the Home Study Process is vital to not only the success of an Open Adoption, but to a Healthy Adoptee, Birth Mother, and Adoptive Parent."

- Carrie Murray-Nellis