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What is the difference between agency and non-agency adoption?

Adoption is a wonderful way to grow a family in Virginia. People have many personal reasons for adopting a child. Perhaps, they are unable to conceive a child biologically, or they want to give a home to a child in need. In the end, though, adoption is a means for placing children with new parents who have the same duties to the child and the rights of parentage as the child’s biological parents once held.

There are two types of adoption available in Virginia. One type of adoption is through an agency placement. In this method, prior to being adopted, the child is in the care and custody of a licensed child-placing agency or a local department of social services (LDSS). In an agency adoption, the child’s biological parent’s rights to the child are terminated.

The primary goal of the LDSS is to bring the child back into the home of their family within a year. If it is determined that the child is better off being adopted, then the goal is to have this completed within two years of the child entering foster care.

A second type of adoption is non-agency adoptions. In these adoptions, the child’s biological parents agree to the adoption, and their rights to the child will then be terminated once the final order of adoption is submitted to the court. Close relative adoptions, stepparent adoption and parental placement adoptions are all types of non-agency adoptions.

What type of adoption is best suited for a family is based on that family’s unique situation. If prospective parents in Virginia are looking to adopt a child, one of the first steps they may take is discussing the matter with a family law attorney, so they can make informed choices.

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