Not all families have the same start, but they are families nonetheless. While some may birth their own children, others may expand their family through adoption. The ability to adopt a child is an exciting way to bring a child into one’s life; however, the process itself can be complex and lengthy. Thus, those considering adoption in Virginia should understand the laws that govern the process.
Both residency requirements and the age at which a child’s consent is needed can vary from state to state. Regarding these points, the state of Virginia requires at least 6 months of home residency prior to the finalization of an adoption. Additionally, Virginia requires the consent of children 14 years of age and older. Anyone can apply to adopt a child; however, if an individual is married, there needs to be legal support of the spouse in order to move forward with an adoption.
The adoption process in Virginia can begin through either a placement agency or a non-agency placement, such as direct parental placement. Once parents have completed the required 6-month period of residency, the adoptive parents must petition the court. Additionally, the parents must receive consent from the agency or the biological parents. Once consent is obtained, the adoption can be finalized.
The above laws and process are a simplified explanation. Adoption law is complex and adoptions matters can be difficult and lengthy. Nonetheless, it is still important to understand the basics of the process.
Whether one is considering adoption or has been navigating the process for some time, it is essential to understand one’s options. This not only ensures all the steps are properly taken, but it can help one gain a full picture and understanding of the matter and the rights and options they have.