Many people in Virginia want to have children but are unable or do not want to do so biologically. In these situations, a person might choose to adopt a child. This is a wonderful event, as it gives a child the chance to grow up in a loving and supportive environment and it gives the adoptive parent the joy that comes with raising a child. However, there are laws regarding adoption that biological parents and prospective adoptive parents should make sure they understand before proceeding.
Chapter 12 of the Code of Virginia contains the laws governing adoption in Virginia. These laws only permit two types of adoptions: agency placements and non-agency placements. Agency placements are adoptions that are made through a licensed child-placing agency or adoptions wherein a child is in the custody of a local social services department. In these types of adoptions both of the child’s biological parents’ rights to the child are extinguished and custody of the child is transferred to the agency, which has the authority to consent to the adoption.
Non-agency adoptions do not involve a local social services department or a licensed child-placing agency. These adoptions are those in which the child’s parents consensually agree to relinquish all rights to their child per the final order of adoption. Some examples of these types of adoptions include step-parent adoptions or adoptions by a close relative. Adoptions in which the child’s biological parent gives their child up for adoption to the adoptive parent are also a type of non-agency adoption.
Adoption is a wonderful way to grow a family in Virginia. However, it is also a legal process that devests biological parents of their parental rights and vests these rights and duties upon the adoptive parents. With so much at stake for both the child’s biological parents and adoptive parents, it is important that all parties understand how the laws of adoption in Virginia will apply to them, so they can make informed decisions.