Adoption is such an important time for everyone involved. Children can gain a supportive family structure while couples carry out their parenting dreams. While there is excitement around adoption, it does not mean that it is an easy process. There is a lot of essential information that you should know before adopting a child in Virginia.
The first thing you should review is the types of adoption in Virginia that are available. Family Law Group can help explain the two types of adoption.
When a child is in the custody of social services or a licensed child-placement organization, agency placements occur. This means that the parents of the child have no say in the adoption process. Instead, the agency caring for the child consents to the adoption. When a child is with social services, they do everything in their power to return the child to their biological family. However, family adoption in Virginia is not always a viable option.
In non-agency adoptions, the child is not placed in the custody of social services at any point. Instead, the birth parents or guardians go through a licensed child-placement agency, consenting to the adoption. Within non-agency placements, there are several specific types of adoptions to consider, including the following.
In this type of adoption, the birth and adoptive parents seek each other out for placement. An adoption agency must still be involved in the process. However, their role is minimized to investigating and reporting on the potential adoptive parents. The birth mother must also consent to the adoption before a judge to proceed with the adoption.
Step-parent adoption means that a step-parent seeks financial and legal responsibility for their spouse’s child(ren). For this to occur, the step-parent and spouse must jointly file a petition for adoption. Furthermore, there are specific requirements for this adoption to occur. For example, the second birth parent must agree to the adoption or is no longer in the child’s life. However, the second birth parent does have the option to disagree with the adoption. While this may occur, the courts can still decide that step-parent adoption is within the child’s best interests.
Sometimes a child will live extended time with one of their close family members, such as grandparents, brothers or sisters, and uncles or aunts. Depending on the amount of time spent under their relatives’ roof, the adoption process slightly differs. If they have been in the home for more than three years, no home study is required, and the adoption process can proceed. If they are in the home less than three years, a home study is needed for the family adoption process to proceed. In these cases, the birth mother can sign consent outside of court.
In Virginia, adult adoptions can occur for specific individuals that are 18 or older. Typical adult adoptions happen when an individual has stood in as a parent for at least three months. While adult adoptions can take place between family members, they can also occur between non-relatives and strangers. However, the adopter must be 15 years older and have known the adoptee for at least a year. In adult adoptions, there is no requirement for consent from biological parents.
Seek Out Adoption Assistance
As you can see, adoption is a complex process with intricate rules. However, you don’t have to approach this process alone. Family Law Group has a team of experienced adoption lawyers to help you solidify your family today.
Allow us to walk you through each step of the adoption process by giving us a call at (703) 552-5072 today!