Virginia Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know for adopting in Virginia

Kylee Hooper July 15, 2016

Welcome, prospective adoptive parents! This guide was written to provide you with a single place to find information about adoption in virginia . It will walk you through everything from laws that will impact your adoption to reviews of adoption service providers in Virginia.

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in Virginia, then sections dedicated to domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 6) foster adoption (Slide      ),  international adoption (Slide      ), and stepparent adoption (Slide      ). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful adoption resources (Slide     ).

Are you interested growing your family through domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with an adoption professional who can answer your questions.

 

Please note:
1. Please note:

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the information provided in this slideshow guide, you should not rely on it to make decisions. Instead, you should rely on licensed professionals in making decisions relative to adoption. The information in this guide is subject to change without notice. Adoption.com is not responsible for the consequences of relying on this information. In no event shall Adoption.com be liable for any direct, indirect, special, or incidental damage resulting from, arising out of, or in connection with the use of this information.

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

The Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia is the largest office building in the world. It has 200 acres of lawn and 67 acres of parking lots. It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels, with a total of 17.5 miles (28 km) long corridor, 131 stairways, 19 escalators, 13 elevators, 284 restrooms, and 7,754 windows.

Source

Adoption in Virginia at a Glance 
3. Adoption in Virginia at a Glance 

Kids in foster care available for adoption in 2012: 2,213      
Foster adoptions completed in 2012: 694      
International adoptions completed in 2012: 327      
Virginia Adoption Facts
International Adoption Statistics

Can I Adopt in Virginia?
4. Can I Adopt in Virginia?

Adoption requirements in the state of Virginia are as follows:

Age:   21 or older   
Marital Status: Can be married or single  
Finances: Must be able to provide for the child
Housing: Must have adequate space in your home for the child     
Personality: Must be willing to commit to the child        
Other Requirements in State: Must complete pre-adoption training.    
DISQUALIFYING CRIMES:  In this state, you may not adopt if you have been convicted of any of the following: Abuse, rape, battery, sexual assault, or any crime against children.    
source and source.

Developing a Support System
5. Developing a Support System

It’s essential to have a good network of family, friends, and neighbors to support you through your adoption process.

It’s also important to connect with other adoptive parents. You can begin making these connections in our forums. You may also want to consider joining a support group for adoptive parents.

Domestic Infant Adoption in Virginia
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in Virginia

Before you get started, click here to learn more about the overall process of adopting an infant in the United States. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back to get the details about adoption in Virginia. 

 Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help
7. Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help

The majority of adoptions are done through agencies in Virginia, but you don't have to go through and agency to adopt. Contact your local agency to learn which type of adoption is best for you.

Some people pursuing a private adoption find it beneficial to work with a professional adoption facilitator, an individual or organization that matches birth parents with adoptive parents in exchange for a fee. Adoption Facilitators are not permissible in the state of Virginia under the statues reviewed. If you adopt a child from Virginia but live in a different state, be sure to speak with an attorney from the state in which you reside to determine whether or not the use of an adoption facilitator is legal.

You can browse and read reviews about adoption service providers in Virginia here.     

For more information about picking an adoption agency, learn about the Top Fifteen Things to Look for In An Adoption Agency.

 Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study
9. Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study

Regardless of whether you complete your adoption, you will need to complete an adoption home study.

Your home study social worker will help educate you about adoption and ensure that you (and your partner, if applicable) meet the requirements outlined on slide four.

Click here to learn more about the Home Study process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word   
10. Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word  

Adoptive parents can advertise for birth parents in Virginia.      

One of the most important things you can do while waiting for an adoption match is to let everyone know about your hope to adopt. Many adoption connections are made through word-of-mouth referrals.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Parent Profiles
11. Domestic Infant Adoption: Parent Profiles

If advertising is allowed in your state, creating a profile on Adoption.com Parent Profiles allows you to easily share your story with those considering placing their child for adoption. Features like videos and photos, posts, Pinterest-like favorites, and recommendations and endorsements make it easy to create a profile as unique as you are, increasing the likelihood that you will stand out and connect with that right person.

Rich communication options like video chat and instant messaging make connecting easy. A mobile-responsive design means that you will never be out of reach.
What’s more, Adoption.com receives over 650,000 monthly visits, which means your profile will receive unparalleled exposure. You can even view and monitor your progress through a detailed statistics page.

Ready to get started? Click here

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption Navigators
12. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption Navigators

Adoption Navigators provides you with quality expertise in sharing your dream of adopting. We provide unparalleled adoption marketing and one-on-one coaching to beautifully show expectant parents who you are and tell your story. With Adoption Navigators you receive premier advertising exposure on Adoption.com, assistance building your profile and creating a video, and expanded reach through social media and search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Adoption.com has more than 16 years of experience helping families connect with potential birth parents.

Let us help you increase your exposure to potential birth parents and decrease your adoption wait time.

Click here to get started.

Creating a listing on Adoption.com Parent Profiles is an excellent way to connect with potential birth parents across the country. If you want to maximize your exposure to potential birth parents and receive personalized coaching and support, consider using Adoption Navigators. Coordinate these services with your adoption professional.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment
13. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

Birth mothers can give the consent to adoption 72 hours after the birth of the child. Consent must be given in court, where at least one biological parent must appear to consent to an adoption petition. Birth fathers can give consent at any time before or after birth in front of a notary. In a direct placement birth parents have 7 days to revoke consent, or if represented by private legal counsel, the birth parent may waive consent as long as the child is at least 10 days old and the attorney has explained the ramifications of waiving consent.

In an agency placement, birth parents are not required to appear in court to give consent. The birth parents can revoke consent up to 7 days after filing the adoption order, or until the child is 10 days old, or until the child has been placed in an adoptive home.

Laws in Virginia regarding consent and revocation of consent are very complex. It is best to speak with an adoption attorney regarding these matters.

Read more about relinquishment here.

Source.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights   
14. Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights  

Virginia keeps a putative father registry for men who believe they are the birth father of a child. By being listed on this registry, birth fathers will be informed when their child is being placed for adoption, and they will have the choice to either allow or disallow the adoption from taking place.   
source
    

Domestic Infant Adoption - Laws about Birth Parent Expenses
15. Domestic Infant Adoption - Laws about Birth Parent Expenses

Hopeful adoptive parents and/or an adoption agency may provide legal and living expenses for an expectant mother. There are, however, requirements governing such support.

The following are allowable birth mother expenses:
-pregnancy and birth related medical expenses
-counseling for birth mother & father
-necessary food, clothing and shelter expenses if the mother is unable to work during pregnancy
-food and lodging expenses related to required court appearances

Fees determined in excess will not be permitted. Any living expenses will have to be cleared by a doctors note (OB/GYN). The doctor will also determine the length of payments after birth, usually dependent upon the type of birth.
Source

Domestic Infant Adoption - Post-Adoption Contact Agreements   
16. Domestic Infant Adoption - Post-Adoption Contact Agreements  

Post-adoption contact agreements are a way for the birth and adoptive families to determine how much contact the child will have with the birth family after adoption. They are recently legally enforceable through the corresponding circuit court where the adoption is finalized. In Virginia these agreements are called Post Adoption Contact & Communication Agreements (PACCA).

Birth parents or adoptive parents can petition the same circuit court where the adoption was finalized to modify a contact agreement, as long as the petitioner recognizes they will receive no monetary compensation and that a broken contact agreement does not nullify an adoption order.

For more information on PACCA click here

 Domestic Infant Adoption - Finalization 	  
17. Domestic Infant Adoption - Finalization  

In a private adoption setting 3 post-placement visits (with at least 90 days between the first and the last) are to be completed by the social worker who initiated the home study before the adoption becomes final.

Agency adoptions generally take a little longer as the child is required to stay with the hopeful adoptive parents for at least 6 months before finalization.

Domestic Infant Adoption – Adopting in Virginia from Out-of-State
18. Domestic Infant Adoption – Adopting in Virginia from Out-of-State

With private (usually domestic infant) adoptions, it is always possible to adopt a child within Virginia, even if you live in a different state.

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC here.

Foster Adoption in Virginia    
19. Foster Adoption in Virginia    

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of adopting children through foster care. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about foster adoption in Virginia.    

Foster Adoption - Children Available for Foster Adoption in Virginia
20. Foster Adoption - Children Available for Foster Adoption in Virginia

Currently, there are over 4,000 children in Virginia's foster care system. Of those 4,000, over 800 children are ready for adoption right now. SOURCE

Check out Adoption.com's Virginia photolisting here

Foster Adoption - Get Professional Help   
21. Foster Adoption - Get Professional Help  

In Virginia, you need to go through your local agency in order to become qualified for foster care or to foster to adopt.

To find adoption agencies in Virginia and to read reviews, check out Adoption.com’s Reviews page for Virginia here. 

You will still need to complete a home study as part of this process.

Becoming Part of the Foster Care System 	  
22. Becoming Part of the Foster Care System  

By going through the foster training, you will be more aware of the type of children you may have in your home, and feel better prepared for them.

As part of the foster care system, you may receive legal risk placements in your home. These children are in foster care but their parent's rights have not been completely terminated yet. If these children are unable to return to their birth families, they might become legally free to be adopted.

Finalization 	  
23. Finalization  

You can petition to adopt after a child has been in your home for 6 months. If the child is legally free, you should be able to go ahead and begin the adoption process.

Post Adoption Contact Agreements   
24. Post Adoption Contact Agreements  

Post-adoption contact agreements are legally enforceable in Virginia.

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that can be entered into by adoptive and birth families. The agreement outlines details about how much contact the birth and adoptive families will have after the adoption is finalized.

In instances in which the child’s biological parents’ rights have been involuntarily terminated, the well-being of the child needs to be first and foremost in everyone’s minds if a post-adoption contact agreement is created. Caseworkers and therapists should be consulted in making decisions about contact after adoption.

Adoption Assistance   
25. Adoption Assistance  

You can receive adoption assistance when you adopt a child who is considered to have special needs. You can also receive up to $2,000 per child in non-recurring fees that are approved by the state. A base daily rate of pay will be established for every child with special needs. You may be qualified for additional payments based on your child's individual circumstances.

International Adoption in Virginia
26. International Adoption in Virginia

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of international adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about international adoption in Virginia.

International Adoption - Photolisting
27. International Adoption - Photolisting

There are millions of beautiful children across the world who are hoping to find a forever family.

Click here to meet some of them through our Photolisting.

International Adoption - Get Professional Help
28. International Adoption - Get Professional Help

With international adoptions, your only choice is to complete your adoption through an agency. Because of the Universal Accreditation Act, all adoption agencies completing international adoptions are required to be credentialed according to federal standards. Make sure to check with any agency before working with them to ensure they have this accreditation in place!

In selecting an international adoption agency, there are Four Essential Criteria you should probably consider. Click here to browse through reviews of adoption agencies in Virginia.

In order to be approved to adopt internationally, you will need to complete an international adoption-specific home study.

International Adoption - Post-Adoption Requirements
29. International Adoption - Post-Adoption Requirements

Adoptions finalized out-of-country will be recognized in Virginia.    

You will also need to request a U.S. birth certificate for your child.

Read more about post-adoption requirements here

Stepparent Adoption in Virginia
30. Stepparent Adoption in Virginia

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of stepparent adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about stepparent adoption in Virginia.

Stepparent Adoption - Terminating Parental Rights
31. Stepparent Adoption - Terminating Parental Rights

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the corresponding biological parent’s rights will first need to be terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

You will need to consult with an adoption attorney about your desire to adopt. He/she can help you decide if it’s likely that the biological parent would be willing to relinquish rights OR if it would be feasible to pursue involuntary termination of his/her parental rights.

Stepparent Adoption - Petitioning to Adopt
32. Stepparent Adoption - Petitioning to Adopt

Once parental rights have been terminated, you can file a petition to adopt with the courts. You and your spouse will both testify in court regarding the stability of your marital relationship, the bond you’ve developed with your stepchild, and your desire to become the legal parent of your stepchild.

You will generally not be required to complete a background check or home study as part of the stepparent adoption process.

Adoption Resources
33. Adoption Resources

Forums        

Virginia Adoption Wiki

Parent Profiles    

Adoption Stories

author image

Kylee Hooper

Kylee Hooper is not quite a mother, but she adores babies, and hopes to be able to either foster or adopt someday. When she isn't writing, reading, or editing; she is normally playing her harp or creating an adventure.


Want to contact an adoption professional?

Love this? Want more?

Host: ws1.elevati.net