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Adoption

If you are ready to grow you family you most likely will have some questions.

Adoption is a statutory legal action in which the previous parent-child relationship is terminated and a new parent-child relationship is established. An adoption creates a legal relationship that entitles the adoptive parents and the child to all rights and privileges and subjects them to the same obligations as if the child were born to the adoptive parents. After completion of an adoption a new birth certificate with the adoptive parents’ names is issued for the child.

A petition to adopt may be filed by any natural person who resides in the Commonwealth, or who has custody of a child placed by a child-placing agency of the Commonwealth, or by an adopting parent of a child who was subject to a consent proceeding, or by intended parents who are parties to a surrogacy contract.

In Virginia a child can be placed for adoption in two ways, either by a licensed Virginia child-placing agency or local board, or by the birth parent, legal guardian, or adoptive parent.

In order for an adoption to be valid, the parental rights of the biological parents must be terminated. The termination of parental rights can either occur voluntary or involuntary. If the biological parents voluntarily give up their rights as parents and consent to the child’s adoption by the adoptive parents, the biological parents have 7 days to revoke their consent to adoption. That revocation period can be waived if the child is at least 10 days old at the time of consent and the biological parents received independent counsel.

Involuntary termination of parental rights requires a court order. Involuntary terminations typically occur in cases of abuse, neglect, or dependency after the state has intervened and attempts to rectify the situation were unsuccessful.

The adoption can go forward once the required written consent has been executed and filed. The biological parents may revoke their consent prior to the entry of the final adoption decree in cases where fraud or duress occurred, or upon written mutual consent of the biological parents and the prospective adoptive parents or the child-placing agency. 6 months after entry of the final adoption decree the adoption is final.

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