Each state has different laws for adopting a child. Reading through the fine print of the various laws is often complex and confusing. In the final installment of Lifetime’s blog series about adoption law, we’ll focus on Virginia adoption laws.
If you live in Virginia and are thinking about what it will take to adopt a child, consider these important details before starting the process.
Here are some common questions regarding Virginia adoption laws:
Who is eligible to adopt a child in Virginia?
In Virginia, people can adopt a child if they can meet the requirements of a Virginia home study, which includes background checks, home interviews, and general suitability requirements. A husband and wife can adopt a child jointly as a married couple, in addition to stepparents.
The state has no rules on marriage or age requirements for prospective adoptive parents. If you are unmarried, for example, you are still eligible to adopt as long as you meet the requirements of the agency and birth mother.
Who can you adopt in Virginia?
Any child can be adopted in Virginia. However, state law requires the child to live in the home for six months before the adoption is finalized. In addition, if the child is 14 years old or older, they must provide consent for the adoption.
Before you can adopt, the law requires that the child’s birth mother consent to the adoption, in addition to any man who is the acknowledged father or the presumed father.
What can you expect from the adoption process?
Do you want to adopt a school-age child? Or perhaps you most want to move forward with a toddler or newborn adoption. There are many different children available for adoption in Virginia. So no matter what you prefer, you are sure to find the right type of situation.
The first step for adoptive parents is to decide on their adoption preferences in regards to a child. What age child do you hope to adopt? Newborn, toddler, school-age? What about race or substance exposure? Depending on the type of child you are seeking, there may be various paths to adoption, including waiting children in Virginia if you are open to school-age and above.
If you choose to work with Lifetime Adoption, you will begin the adoption process by filling out our free online application. Once we are working together, we will help you get a home study and create your adoptive family profile. This information is presented to expectant mothers who are thinking about adoption.
If a mother wants to consider talking to you about adopting her child, Lifetime will contact you to set up a phone call. This conversation allows both parties to get to know each other and determine if it is a good fit.
Virginia laws require a home study, which is an in-depth evaluation of your home and your family’s ability and readiness to adopt a child.
First, you will provide detailed documentation and provide a variety of paperwork and information. Some of this information might include physical health statements, financial information (income statements or tax documents), marriage license, birth certificates, and more.
After this phase is complete, an in-home visit and home inspection are required. Our team at Lifetime Adoption, in addition to your home study provider in Virginia, will let you know more about what to expect from the home study process.
What fees are involved?
Adopting a child is a financial commitment. There are legal fees involved, in addition to costs associated with the adoption agency. Virginia adoption laws also allow adoptive parents to help pay for certain expenses for the birth mother. Some of these may include pregnancy-related medical expenses or insurance premiums, counseling, food and shelter costs, legal service fees, or transportation expenses to any related appointments or services.
While adoption does cost, it is not something that is unattainable for the average working family or individual. We proudly work with various adoptive parents who come from all different career backgrounds: nurses, marketing professionals, truck drivers, teachers, food service workers, and more.
Generally, a domestic adoption costs $30,000 to $40,000. Some of the costs will be for travel to meet your child and his or her birth parents, legal fees, and more.
Choosing to adopt is a wonderful decision. If you are ready to begin the adoption process in Virginia, our team of experienced adoption coordinators at Lifetime Adoption can help. Contact us today for more information, and complete our free online application as the first step on your journey to adopt a child.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”