Are you considering adopting a child but have unanswered questions about the adoption process? The Virginia adoption attorney from ShounBach has answered many frequently asked questions regarding adoption. If you need any further help or have questions regarding adoption, please contact our firm at (703) 222-3333.
Adoption is the legal process of giving permanent parental rights to adoptive parents. When you take a child into your home as a permanent family member, you are considered to have legally adopted the child. You are held legally responsible for said child and must care for them.
Thousands of children are waiting to be adopted into permanent homes throughout the United States. Many children are school-aged or older and have emotional, physical, or learning disabilities and are living in foster or group homes because their birth parents were unable to care for them. Children are often given up for adoption due to family problems and as a result, suffered from abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
For a child to be legally adopted, the birth parents have to surrender their parental rights, or those rights have to be terminated by the court. Most adoption agencies ensure that children are legally free for adoption prior to placing a child in a home. Although some birth parents change their minds before the adoption is finalized, it rarely occurs. Once the adoption has been legally finalized, the birth parents cannot legally take the child back.
Due to the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which was passed in 1997, you can legally adopt a child who lives in a different state. The law prevents states from delaying or denying a placement is an approved family resides in another state.
The answer depends on the type of adoption. Step-parent adoptions are processed very quickly (in some cases within a few weeks), while other adoptions (i.e. agency placement) can take longer due to the process. There are two stages of the adoption process: pre-placement and post-placement. When a child enters your home, it is considered placement. Pre-placement is considered the timeframe before a child is placed in your home, and post-placement is the time after a child is placed in your home. Every adoption requires a pre-placement period and the timeframe varies.
It depends. Adoption agencies often have a sliding fee scale, and there are frequently little or no costs for adopting a child with special needs. Once the adoption is finalized, the child may receive subsidies to cover medical and other expenses. Costs of adopting a healthy child can cost several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
When a person is acting as a foster parent, they are responsible for giving a child temporary shelter with the intent of returning a child to their parents when they are able to care for the child. If the parents are permanently unable to care for their child, the child is put up for adoption. Foster parents can adopt a child in their care if the child is put up for adoption. A large majority of adoptions in the United States are actually by foster parents.
If you are interested in adopting a child through parental placement or an agency, then you must complete a home study. This is when you meet with a social work several times to give more in-depth information regarding adoption. Depending on what type of adoption agency you are going through, some agencies conduct individual and joint interviews with both members of a couple, while others conduct group home studies with several families at one time. Those interested in adopting must also provide specific documents, such as a marriage license, birth certificate, medical report, criminal check, and child abuse clearance. Personal character references are often needed, as well.
Depending on your openness to race and disabilities, you can adopt an infant through an adoption agency, private adoption, identified adoption, inter-county adoption, or foster adoption. Regardless of what adoption option you choose, you must complete a home study.
If you wish to adopt a child with special needs, both state and federal assistance programs can give you a one-time payment of non-recurring adoption expenses. This can cover adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other adoption-related expenses. More and more companies and government agencies are offering benefits to those who want to adopt, such as reimbursing individuals for legal expenses, agency fees, medical expenses, post-adoption counseling, and various other expenses. You can also apply for loans and travel assistance with banks or travel agencies.