While American Adoptions specializes in private domestic adoptions, foster care adoption is a topic we’re very passionate about. Since each state runs its foster care system differently, it can be hard to find state-specific information in one place. With that in mind, we’ve compiled these resources for you specifically related to adoption from foster care in Virginia.
Many Virginia families choose foster care adoption for different reasons. These include:
Foster parents of a child whose biological parents have had their rights terminated
Families who want to adopt and don’t care about age, race, gender or special needs
Families who want to adopt a child who needs a home
Families who would like to adopt but may not necessarily be able to afford other types of adoption
To get involved with Virginia’s foster care system, you must:
Be 18 years of age or older
Attend an orientation meeting to learn what foster parenting is
Complete pre-service training
Complete a home study
Participate in at least three interviews
Submit background checks
Submit a physician’s health report
Provide financial information (You don’t have to be wealthy, but you do need to be able to provide for another child.)
Submit three references
Foster care adoption works a little differently than private domestic adoption. To adopt a foster child in Virginia, you’ll complete the following steps:
Contact your local department of social services. A list of Virginia departments by location can be found here.
Complete parenting classes, like PS-MAPP (Permanence and Safety-Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) or PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information Development and Education).
File an application to adopt from foster care in Virginia. Expect to include information about your family, your home, and what brought you to the foster care system. At this point, you’ll also let social services know what you might be open to in terms of an adoption situation, such as the child’s age range or any possible special needs.
Complete a home study.
Wait for placement. Depending on how open you are to different adoption situations with your local social services department, this waiting period may be very brief or could last a few months.
When your child is placed with you, you’ll be required to satisfy Virginia’s adoption finalization requirements. After you’ve done so, a judge will grant permanent legal custody.
Remember, however, that adoption doesn’t end as soon as your child is legally yours. You’ll need to have continuing conversations with them about their adoption story as they grow older so they know it’s something to be proud of!
A significant benefit of adopting from foster care is that it generally comes with little cost. You should budget for medical exams, safety classes and court filings, but these shouldn’t total more than $300 in most cases. It’s also possible that these expenses may be reimbursed after you finalize your child’s adoption. To learn more about what fees you may incur, speak to your local social services department.
There are actually three ways to get involved in Virginia’s foster care system.
Adopting from foster care. This is when a family adopts a child who is legally available for adoption, which means his or her parents have had their birth rights terminated. In this situation, there is no way the birth parents will ever regain custody of the child.
Foster parenting. This is when a family provides a temporary home to a child within the foster care system whose parents have not have their rights permanently terminated. It is always the goal of the foster care system to rejoin children with their parents when possible. Not all children in foster care are (or ever will be) available for adoption.
Fostering-to-adopt. Some parents choose to foster a child in the hopes that one day they will be able to permanently adopt them.
So, families who approach the foster care system with the intent to pursue foster adoption are looking to permanently add a member to their family, while families who foster parent are providing a temporary home to a child who needs one while his or her parents work to regain custody.
Currently, there are around 5,000 children in Virginia’s foster care system. Of these, 1,700 are legally available for adoption and waiting for families who are pursuing a Virginia adoption through foster care. If you are interested in seeing a foster care adoption photolisting or learning more about foster children for adoption in Virginia, contact your local social services department.
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