Adoption laws, since they differ in each state, can be confusing. What is necessary to adopt in one state might not be in another, and the process itself can vary in many ways. If you’re interested in adopting in Virginia, then, you need to be up-to-date on adoption laws in Virginia. To save you some time, we’ve compiled all pertinent Virginia adoption laws in one place.
Please note that this article does not serve as legal advice. Adoption laws change frequently, so you should speak with a social worker or attorney before taking any action.
In Virginia, you can adopt if you are:
A husband and wife jointly
A person who has custody of a child that was placed with them by an adoption agency
Intended parents who have a surrogacy contract
A parent adopting a child who is old enough to consent to their own adoption
Virginia has no marriage or age requirements, so same-sex couples, unmarried individuals and hopeful parents of all ages are also welcome to adopt in Virginia as long as they meet the requirements of their chosen adoption professional.
Virginia adoption laws require that consent to the adoption be given by the child’s birth mother, in addition to any man who:
Is an acknowledged father
Is the presumed father
Has registered with Virginia’s Putative Father Registry
If the child is 14 years old or older, he or she will also be required to consent to the adoption, unless a judge finds that the adoption is in the child’s best interest and consent is not necessary.
The child’s birth father may terminate his own parental rights prior to the birth of the child, but in a direct placement, the child must be at least three calendar days old before the birth parents can consent to adoption.
Adoption laws in Virginia do allow for adoptive parents to pay for some birth parent expenses, including:
Pregnancy-related medical expenses and insurance premiums
Mental health counseling
Food, clothing and shelter expenses when a birth mother’s pregnancy makes her unable to work
Reimbursements for expenses related to court appearances, including food, lodging and transportation
Legal service fees
Transportation to any services
Please note, however, that no one should ever exchange money or anything of value for the placement of a child.
Before you can adopt a child, Virginia adoption laws state that you must complete a home study. A home study is an evaluation of your family’s readiness to adopt and includes three phases: the documentation phase, an in-home visit and a home inspection. Your home study provider will walk you through exactly what you need to do, but it can be helpful to begin preparing documents such as:
Physical health statements
Mental health statements
Financial information, such as tax documents and income statements
American Adoptions is a full-service, national adoption agency. This means we’re well-equipped to comply with all adoption laws in Virginia and to help you pursue your adoption journey, whether you’re a prospective birth mother or a hopeful adoptive parent. We provide every service, from providing birth mothers with free counseling to helping adoptive families find adoption opportunities. To learn more, call 1-800-ADOPTION, or request free information here.
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