LEARN ABOUT ADOPTION
Adoption is a way of providing security for a child by transferring parental responsibilities from birth parents to adoptive parents, and, in the process, creating a new kinship network that forever links the birth family and the adoptive family through the child who is connected to both. Adoption provides the same rights and obligations that exist between children and their biological parents.
At coordinators2inc we recognize that adoption is a lifelong experience for birth parents, adoptive parents and the child who is adopted. As a result, we become lifetime partners to anyone who is touched by adoption. This means we are available to adoptive families at each developmental stage of their child's life and provide services, support and lots of fun activities for all adopted children and their families who request them. It also means we are available to birth families as they explore their options and after they have made the transition to parenthood or adoptive placement.
TYPES OF ADOPTION
There are only two types of adoptive placements that are allowed by Virginia law. These are agency placements and non-agency placements.
Agency placements occur when the child is in the custody of a public or private social service agency. In an agency placement, all parental rights are terminated by the courts OR the birth parents sign an "entrustment" to the agency. The termination or entrustment gives the agency the authority to place the child for adoption, and the agency consents to the child's adoption before the child is placed for adoption. This type of placement used to be solely a closed, confidential process but it now allows for flexibility in sharing identifying information if all parties choose to do so. Birth parents in an agency placement can also actively participate in choosing the family or locating a family on their own with whom to place their child. As of July 1, 2009, any birth parent placing voluntarily through an agency placement MAY choose to enter into a "legally binding" post-adoption contact agreement with the adopting parents if all parties are in agreement.
The majority of the children waiting in foster care through a licensed or public agency are over the age of 8 and have experienced trauma as a result of abuse, neglect or multiple moves. Our Waiting Child Program provides services for families interested in the children waiting and services to children while they wait.
There is a long to often non-existent waiting list for families interested in infant agency placements, in particular if the family is not willing to explore an open adoption. There are other avenues to infant placements however, and coordinators2inc explores those with all families.
A non-agency placement occurs when the child is not in the custody of an agency. In a non-agency placement, the birth parents or legal guardian(s) consent to the adoption and parental rights are terminated via direct consent of the birth parents in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Except for licensed or duly authorized child-placing agencies, only birth parents and legal parents are allowed to place a child for adoption in Virginia. Although anyone may provide assistance to birth parents in locating a prospective adoptive family and to adoptive parents in locating a child, only birth parents and legal parents may actually place the child for adoption.
There are basically three types of non-agency adoptions. These are stepparent adoptions, parental placement adoptions, and adult adoptions. Coordinators2inc can assist you with a Parental Placement adoption. Information is provided about the other types for your education.
Parental Placement Adoptions - In a parental placement, a licensed child-placing agency, such as coordinators2inc, completes a home study report, conducts the Simultaneous Meeting (no longer required by law, but is required by this agency for our clients) between birth and adoptive parents, and provides a Report to Court. The Report includes home study information, background information on the birth parents and birth of the child and certifies to the Court that all identifying information has been exchanged, all parties are making an informed and uncoerced decision and recommends that this placement appears to be in the best interest of the child. The adoptive parents' attorney files a petition in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for execution of the birth parents consent and awarding of custody of the child to the prospective adoptive parents. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court reviews the Report to Court to determine whether the requirements of law have been met, accepts parental consent, and transfers custody to the adoptive parents. An Adoption Petition may then be filed in Circuit Court. Please note that this type of adoption frequently has the physical placement of the child into the adoptive family occur prior to court consent, usually from the hospital. This means that the adoptive family accepts placement of the child under "legal risk" as the placing parents still have time to change their mind about adoption. Coordinators2inc provides a full range of services to birth and adoptive families interested in parental placement through our Infant Adoption Program.
Stepparent adoptions - A stepparent adoption is when the spouse of the birth or adoptive parent is adopting the child. Typically, no home study is required unless the parent whose rights will be terminated disagrees with the stepparent adoption.
Adult Adoptions - An adult adoption is the adoption of any person who is 18 years of age or older at the time that the adoption petition is filed.
Placements may be facilitated within the Commonwealth of Virginia, from other states and from foreign countries.
• Interstate Adoptions – An adoption where the child from one state is adopted by parents in another state. Procedures for interstate placements of children are intended to safeguard the children while assuring appropriate retention of responsibility and communication among all parties involved. Coordinators2inc provides services to families adopting children from other states through both our Infant Adoption Program and our Waiting Child Program. All Interstate Adoptions must comply with all regulations and procedures of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) office, both in Virginia and in the other state.
• Intercountry Adoptions – An Intercountry adoption is when parents adopt a child from a foreign country. Coordinators2inc has experience assisting families in adopting from countries all over the world through our Intercountry Program. We are familiar with the process of preparing a dossier, receiving a referral, and placement services for families. Coordinators2inc is not a "Hague Accredited Agency" but we are a "Supervised Provider" for several accredited agencies across the U.S. Adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to educate themselves about the differences in adopting from a "Hague country" versus a "non-Hague country". Coordinators2inc is happy to assist families in learning more about this option. In intercountry adoptions, the adoptive parents are encouraged to re-adopt in Virginia for the protection of the child.