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Your StateAdoption Laws

Adoption Laws for Virginia

Advertising Law Info

  • Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents?
  • State Advertising Code of Law
    Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1218; 63.2-1225

    No person shall advertise or solicit to perform any activity prohibited by this section. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a felony.

    A physician, attorney, or member of the clergy shall not charge any fee for recommending [a placement of a child for adoption] to a board or agency and shall not advertise that he or she is available to make such recommendations. An attorney may, however, charge for legal fees and services rendered in connection with the placement.

Adoption Law Info

  • Who Can Adopt?
    A resident, an individual with custody of a child placed by a child-placing agency, an adoptive parent who participated in a consent proceeding, “intended” parents who signed a surrogacy contract, a married couple jointly, the child’s stepparent, a spouse from a marriage that is void.
  • Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption?
  • Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary?
  • What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period?
    Medical (birth-related, plus health insurance premiums), legal, and counseling, plus their related transportation. Food, shelter, and clothing if birthmother can’t work due to pregnancy. Partial expenses if work ability is limited. Unspecified phone bills and auto insurance, repairs, and payments prohibited.
  • When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic?
    Seven days after signing the consent. Return automatic.
  • Qualifications for Adoptive Parents for adoption
    Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 22, § 40-280-20
    Adoptive applicants shall:
    • Be in satisfactory physical and mental health to enable them to provide adequate care for the child
    • Have the ability to assume responsibility for the care, guidance, and protection of other people
    • Have the flexibility and ability to change in relation to the needs of others
    • Be able to cope with problems, disappointments, and frustrations
    • Be able to accept normal hazards and risks
    • Have the capacity to take responsibility for one’s own actions
    • Have the capacity to accept and handle loss
    • Have the capacity to understand that adoption is a lifelong experience and that the family may need support over time
    • Have the capacity to accept professional support
    • Have the ability to realistically understand the needs and behaviors of children and the impact of adoption on the child and family
    • Have the ability to love and nurture a child born to someone else
    • Be willing to provide connections to the child’s birth family
    • Have the capacity for feeling satisfaction from contributing to the development of a child
    • Have the ability to understand and respond to changing developmental, health, and emotional needs of the child
    • Have the financial ability to meet the basic needs of the child and family for food, clothing, shelter, and medical care

Home Study Info

  • Elements of a Home Study for Adoption
    Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 22, § 40-280-20
    The home study shall include:
    • There shall be a minimum of three interviews, including at least one interview in the home of the adoptive family and, in the case of married applicants, a joint interview with husband and wife.
    • In a parental placement, the agency social worker shall meet at least once with the birth parents and prospective adoptive parents simultaneously.
    • Adoptive applicants shall provide at least two references from individuals who are unrelated to them.
    • Adoptive applicants shall identify any criminal convictions and be willing to consent to a criminal records search and a search of the Child Protective Services Central Registry.
    • Applicants shall provide a physician’s statement that reflects their current health.
    The home study shall include an assessment of the following:
    • Significant life experiences and the applicant’s responses to them
    • Relationships with family members and friends
    • Work history and involvement in community activities
    • The capacity of family members to accept the adopted child as an equal member of the family
    • The applicants’ capacity to parent
    • The applicants’ motivation and readiness to adopt
    • The ability to make a lifelong commitment to a child not born to the applicants
    • The ability to accept the circumstances of the child’s birth family history
    • The capacity to understand the lifelong impact of adoption and to help the child deal with adoption-related issues
    • The degree to which the home environment allows for privacy among family members; adequate play areas; and freedom from health and safety hazards
    • The accessibility of community resources that may be needed for the child
    • The financial circumstances of the family
  • Grounds for Withholding Approval for Adoption
    Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63.2-1205.1; 63.2-1719
    No petition for adoption shall be granted if the person seeking to adopt has been convicted of a sexually violent offense or an offense requiring registration as a sex offender.
    An applicant shall not be approved if he or she has a conviction for a barrier crime, which includes:
    • Murder or manslaughter
    • Malicious wounding by mob
    • Malicious wounding by mob
    • Assault and bodily wounding
    • Robbery
    • Carjacking
    • Threats of death or bodily injury
    • Felony stalking
    • Sexual assault
    • Arson
    • Drive-by shooting
    • Use of a machine gun or a sawed-off shotgun in a crime of violence
    • Pandering
    • Crimes against nature involving children
    • Taking indecent liberties with children
    • Abuse and neglect of children
    • Failure to secure medical attention for an injured child
    • Obscenity offense
    • Possession of child pornography
    • Electronic facilitation of pornography
    • Abuse and neglect of incapacitated adults
    • Delivery of drugs to prisoners
    • Escape from jail
    • Felonies by prisoners
    In the case of adoptive homes approved by child-placing agencies, a barrier crime also includes convictions of burglary and any felony violation relating to possession or distribution of drugs.
    An offense is a barrier crime and, in the case of adoptive homes approved by child-placing agencies, means:
    • A conviction of any other felony not included above unless 5 years have elapsed since conviction
    • A founded complaint of child abuse or neglect within or outside the Commonwealth
    In the case of adoptive homes approved by child-placing agencies, convictions shall include prior adult convictions and juvenile convictions or adjudications of delinquency based on a crime that would be a felony if committed by an adult within or outside the Commonwealth.
  • When Home Studies Must Be Completed for Adoption
    Citation: Ann. Code § 63.2-1231; Admin. Code Tit. 22, § 40-280-20
    Any home study conducted for the purpose of parental placement or agency placement shall be valid for a period of 36 months from the date of completion. However, the State Board of Social Services may, by regulation, require an additional State criminal background check before finalizing an adoption if more than 18 months have passed from the completion of the home study.
    In regulation: A home study conducted for purposes of parental placements shall be approved for a period of 12 months from the date of completion.
  • Postplacement Study Requirements for Adoption
    Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.2-1208
    After an adoption petition has been filed, the court shall refer the case to a child-placing agency to conduct an investigation and prepare a report. The investigation shall include inquiries as to:
    • Whether the petitioner is financially able, morally suitable, in satisfactory physical and mental health, and a proper person to care for and to train the child
    • The physical and mental condition of the child
    • Why the parents, if living, desire to be relieved of the responsibility for the custody, care, and maintenance of the child and what their attitude is toward the proposed adoption
    • Whether the parents have abandoned the child or are morally unfit to have custody over him or her
    • The circumstances under which the child came to live, and is living, in the physical custody of the petitioner
    • Whether the child is a suitable child for adoption by the petitioner
    • What fees have been paid by the petitioners or on their behalf to persons or agencies that have assisted them in obtaining the child
    • Whether the adoptive parents have received the report of the birth parents’ physical and mental health and the background, medical, and psychological records of the child
    The report shall include a recommendation as to the action to be taken by the court on the petition.

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