Many birth parents prefer to place their children directly with adoptive parents they select themselves. In Virginia, this approach is known as parental placement adoption—and the Virginia Code governs it. This process ensures that biological parents, adoptive parents and adopted children enjoy the same protections provided through social services or agency-based adoptions. Read on to learn more about the parental placement process in Virginia:
Home Study and Joint Counseling
Prior to adoption, future parents must consent to a home study, conducted by a licensed child placing agency. The home study includes a thorough examination of the prospective parent’s home environment, medical history, financial data and interpersonal relationships. This process is mutually beneficial, as it allows the prospective parent to gain a better sense of his or her goals and desires for adoptive parenting.
Upon successful completion of the home study, adoptive parents and birth parents participate in joint counseling. This counseling session is an integral aspect of the consent process.
Consent From the Biological Father
Birth fathers can consent to parental placement adoptions by attending joint counseling sessions and appearing in court, when necessary. In select situations, the biological father’s consent may not be needed. For example, the father’s identity may not be ascertainable, or the father may deny paternity under oath. Revocation of consent can occur within seven days of it being granted.
The adoption placement process does not end upon receiving consent from the birth parent and taking the child home. After this, the adoptive parents enter into a probationary period, in which the agency that conducted the initial home study completes a series of visits and assessments. The agency then files a report with the local court, after which a final adoption decree can be completed.
The Role of a Family Attorney
If you opt for a parental placement adoption, work closely with an experienced family attorney. Your lawyer can minimize adoption issues by advising you on your rights and responsibilities. Additionally, your lawyer can be appointed as guardian ad litem to ensure that the ensuing adoption is in the best interests of your child.