Apr 28, 2015, Updated May 25, 2015
Each year, many Virginians add to their families by virtue of adoption. The process is relatively simple and the Virginia Department of Social Services dictates the process. Whether you are considering Agency Placements or a Non-agency Adoption, we can guide you through the process as seamlessly as possible. Outlined below are some types of representation our attorneys can provide during the adoption process. If you are considering adoption, contact the Steidle & Gordon Attorneys at Law today!
Who May Adopt In Virginia
Many different kinds of people adopt children every day. There is not an income requirement or restrictions on the type of home you live in. You must be at least 21 years old, have adequate space in your home for a child and be able to financially provide for a child. Both married and single parents are needed for children.
Virginia Adoption Home Study
Everyone who wants to adopt in Virginia must undergo a home study, regardless of the type of adoption they are pursuing. A home study is an extensive interview and background check of all members of the household. The welfare and safety of a child is involved which means that the questions are quite personal. Everyone over the age of 18 must undergo fingerprinting and a criminal background check. There are also questions about employment history, your marriage or divorce (if applicable), your child hood, parenting skills and many other aspects of your life.
Virginia Older Child Or Special Needs Adoption
There are many children in Virginia who are waiting for an adoptive family. They are children of all ages, races and needs. These children are currently in foster care or other out of home placements and are waiting to meet their forever family. For the purposes of adoption special needs carries a different definition. Virginia classifies special needs children as:
• Six years old and older;
• Have brothers or sisters they need to be placed with;
• Have a black, biracial or other minority heritage;
• Have physical, mental or emotional needs.
Infant Adoption In Virginia
Infant adoptions are done through a voluntary placement with a birthmother. For this reason infant adoptions are facilitated through an adoption agency or an adoption attorney. It is their job to protect the best interests of both the birth mother and the adoptive parents. When selecting an agency or attorney select one who has experience in infant adoptions and is licensed in Virginia.
International Adoption In Virginia
There are many countries that have children waiting for an adoptive placement. While the state of Virginia has a very broad age of parents that are allowed to adopt, that is not always the case in international adoption. Each country has different criteria for adoptive parents as well as different paperwork required and how long you must remain in the country with the child once you have taken custody. It is important that you choose an adoption agency that has experience in adoptions from the country you want to adopt from. It will make your adoption a much easier process. The agency must be licensed in Virginia.
Virginia Adoption Registry
If you are an adult who was adopted in Virginia, or a birth parent who placed a child for adoption in Virginia, you may be able to gain identifying information on the other party. The laws are not cut and dry. You may receive information if you can show good cause and the birth parent has indicated consent to have the information released. The agency then has 8 months to conduct an investigation. If your application is denied, you may petition the court to have the records unsealed.