Adoption By City

How to Adopt in Virginia

Virginia isn’t just the birthplace of our nation, it's also the birthplace of many children who will be placed for adoption and home to families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey. Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in Virginia.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Virginia

To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked question about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in Virginia.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Virginia?

Individuals or couples interested in adoption must meet the following qualifications:

  • Have sufficient mental and physical health to care for a child
  • Have flexibility to change in relation to the child's needs
  • Be able to cope with frustration, problems and disappointments
  • Have the capacity to handle loss
  • Have the capacity to accept professional support with regard to the child's needs
  • Have the capacity to take responsibility for one's actions
  • Understanding that adoption is a lifelong commitment and experience
  • Have financial stability to care the child's needs
  • Be able to respond to the child's changing developmental, health, and emotional needs
  • Willingness to connect with the child's Birth Parents
  • Have the ability to love and nurture a child born to someone else

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Virginia?

Expenses related to adoption in Tennessee range widely depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Are you looking to adopt internationally or domestically? Through a private agency or the foster care system? Depending on what you decide, Adoptive Parents in Virginia may be asked to cover expenses such as:

  • Home study fees
  • Fees to a licensed adoption agency
  • Reasonable Birth Mother expenses including:
    • Medical expenses for her and the baby
    • Counseling
    • Living expenses she cannot afford because she cannot work such as food, rent, clothing and transportation
    • Legal services

All financial exchanges and agreements must be disclosed in court to ensure there are no unreasonable payments or payments made to individuals on the side in connection to the adoption.

How do you become a Foster Parent in Virginia?

To become a Foster Parent in Virginia, you must be at least 18 years old and meet the following requirements:

  • Attend a Foster Parent orientation meeting
  • Complete pre-service training
  • Complete a home study
  • Complete 3 face-to-face interviews
  • Submit 3 names of references
  • Verify you have the financial means to support the child
  • Provide a physician’s report proving you are mentally and physically capable of caring for the child
  • Pass a national criminal background check, a child abuse and neglect registry check, and a DMV check

Can you finalize an international adoption in Virginia?

Adoption of a child from a foreign country will be finalized and recognized in Virginia as long as it was issued in compliance with the United States and the country from which the child was born. The readoption process will not be required; however, if the Adoptive Parents want their child to receive a US Birth Certificate, they must complete the following:

  • Prove the date, place of birth and parentage of the child
  • Submit a certified copy of the final order of adoption from the foreign country
  • Submit an affidavit proving they satisfied the home study requirements required by Virginia
  • Include information necessary for the new birth certificate

What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in Virginia?

An adoption facilitators specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated.

In Virginia, it is illegal to use services provided by adoption facilitators, even if they claim to be licensed. Payments in exchange for adoption services may only be made to licensed adoption agencies and attorneys.

Click here to read about the difference between adoption agencies, attorneys, and facilitators.

What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in Virginia

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in Virginia.

Who must consent to an adoption Virginia?

Consent to adoption in Virginia must be given by the following:

  • The Birth Mother
  • Any man who:
    • Is the Presumed Father
    • Has registered with the Putative Father Registry
    • Acknowledged his paternity
  • The adoptee if they are at least 14 years old
  • A child placing agency if they have custody of the child

For more information about adoption consent in Virginia, click here

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Virginia?

Consent to adoption in Virginia is not required by the following:

  • A Birth Father who denies if paternity in writing
  • A parent who has had their parental rights taken away
  • A parent who has failed to contact or visit the child for 6 consecutive months before filing for adoption
  • A Birth Father who fathers the child as a result of rape, incest, statutory rape, or similar offense

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Virginia?

In Virginia, consent to adoption must be given in writing, signed under oath, and acknowledged before an officer authorized to take acknowledgements. This applies to Birth Parents both over and under the age of 18 years old.

A Birth Father may consent to the termination of his parental rights any time before the child is born. For a direct placement, consent cannot be given by the Birth Parents until at least 3 days day after the child's birth.

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Virginia?

Consent to adoption by a Birth Parent may be revoked before the final order of adoption if it was found to be obtained by fraud or duress, or both the Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents provide written consent.

A valid entrustment agreement terminating all parental rights and responsibilities to the child is revocable by both Birth Parents until the child has reached the age of 10 days, and 7 days have elapsed from the date of execution of the agreement. In addition, a valid entrustment agreement is revocable by both Birth Parents if the child has not been placed in the physical custody of adoptive parents at the time of the revocation. Revocation of an entrustment agreement must be in writing and signed by the revoking party. The written revocation must be delivered to the child placing agency or local board to which the child was originally entrusted.

In a direct parental placement, consent is revocable by either consenting Birth Parent for any reason for up to 7 days from its execution. The 7 day revocation period may be waived in writing at the time of consent provided that the child is at least 10 days old and the consenting birth parent acknowledges having received independent legal counsel regarding the effect of such waiver. In the case of two consenting Birth Parents, the waiver by one consenting birth parent will not affect the right of the second consenting Birth Parent to retain his or her 7 day revocation period.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Virginia?

In Virginia, a Putative Father Registry has been established to give unmarried men, who believe they may have fathered a child, the right to receive notice of adoption proceedings regarding that child. A presumed father must register before or within 10 days of the child’s birth to establish his paternal rights. If a man fails to register in the given time, all his potential rights to the child will be terminated.

In addition to the registry, paternity and parental rights of the child may be established if:

  • Scientifically reliable testing shows a 98% probability of paternity
  • The man and Birth Mother give a written statement acknowledging his paternity
  • He was married to the child’s Birth Mother during the time of birth or within 300 days of the termination of their marriage

For more information about Birth Father rights in Virginia, click here.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Virginia

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Virginia are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

The home study is a critical component to the adoption process. While it is to ensure your home will provide a child with stability, safety, and support, it is also a resource for Prospective Adoptive Parents to asks questions and prepare for the adoption. A home study also helps the social worker determine the types of adoptions that are appropriate for a family.

In Virginia, the home study will include the following:

  • At least 3 interviews, one of which must be in the home with the Adoptive Family
  • Provide 2 references from unrelated individuals
  • Provide a physician's assessment of their current health status
  • A criminal background check
  • A Child Protective Services Central Registry check
  • An assessment of the following:
    • Relationship with family and friends
    • Work history and community involvement
    • The applicant’s capacity to parent a child
    • The readiness and reason for adoption
    • Willingness to accept the child’s birth family history
    • The financial means and readiness to support the child
    • Accessibility to community resources to meet the child’s needs
    • The health and safety of the home environment

To learn more about the home study process in Virginia, click here.

Who oversees a home study in Virginia and who is included in it?

All members of the home being investigated, including children if appropriate, will be included in the home study, and it will be conducted by a licensed social worker or child-placing agency.

Why would my home study not be approved in Virginia?

An adoption home study in Virginia will be denied if a Prospective Parent has been convicted of any sex crimes that makes them a registered sex offender. The following barrier crimes are also reasons for failing a home study:

  • Murder or manslaughter
  • Robbery
  • Car jacking
  • Malicious wounding by mob
  • Assault and bodily wounding
  • Threats of death or bodily injury
  • Felony stalking
  • Arson
  • Sexual assault
  • Drive-by shooting
  • Pandering
  • Use of machine gun in a crime of violence
  • Crime against a child
  • Abuse or neglect of a child
  • Failure to secure medical attention of an injured child
  • Escape from jail
  • Possession or facilitation of child pornography
  • Obscenity offense
  • Delivery of drugs to prisoner
  • Felonies by prisoners
  • Abuse or neglect of incapacitated adults

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Virginia?

A home study is not required for stepparent’s adoptions unless otherwise ordered in court.

For relative adoptions by the child’s grandparents, great-grandparents, adult nephew or niece, brother or sister, uncle or aunt, or great-uncle or great-aunt, a home study will be required if they have been in their care for less than 3 years. Otherwise, a home study will only be required if ordered in court.

What are the home study requirements for adopting a child from another state?

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

Before the adoption has been finalized, a post placement assessment will take place to ensure the transition into adoption is going well and that the Adoptive Family's circumstances have not changed to no longer fit the child's best interest.

In Virginia, a post placement study is required after the adoption petition has been filed. The study will evaluate the following:

  • The physical and mental health of the child
  • The financial status of the Adoptive Parents and if they are able to care for the child
  • Whether the child is suitable for adoption by the Prospective Parents
  • The circumstances under which the child came to live in the petitioner's custody
  • The fees that the Adoptive Parent have paid in relationship to the adoption
  • Whether the Adoptive parents have received a report of the Birth Parents physical and mental health, and the background records of the child

What are the requirements for a Foster to Adopt placement in Virginia?

A Foster Parent may adopt their foster child if the child has been in their care for 18 consecutive months and the child's Birth Parents have had their parental rights terminated. A child-placing agency will then to a home study investigation and ensure the adoption is in the best interest of the child. If so, postadoption visitations won't be required.

Virginia Adoption Agencies and Professionals

Virginia is home to some amazing adoption professionals who are ready to get your journey started. Whether you are interested in adopting a child or seeking resources to place your child for adoption, these professionals will guide you through the legal pathways and offer you support throughout your journey:

Adoption from the Heart

757-361-0008

Bethany Christian Services

800-238-4269

America World Adoption

800-429-3369

C2Adopt

804-354-1881

The Barker Adoption Foundation

301-664-9664

Things to do in Virginia

If your adoption journey takes you to Virginia, visit some of the state's most popular and historic sites:

Arlington National Cemetery

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly

Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg

Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk

A note from Adoption Network Law Center

No matter your decision, we appreciate the time you have taken to read about how to adopt in Virginia. Adoption Network Law Center wishes you the best of luck and is available to answer any further questions you may have about the adoption process. Call 1-866-602-9541 to speak with one of our amazing team members or visit https://adoptionnetwork.com/ to read more about our services. Whether you’re a soon-to-be Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent, ANLC wishes you the best on your adoption journey.