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Contact Us about Adoption:

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About Adoption

blue square bullet Overview

The purpose of adoption is to place children who have been permanently and legally separated from their birth parents with a new family. It is a social and legal process which gives new parent(s) the same rights and obligations as biological parents. Adoption procedures are governed by Chapter 12 of the Code of Virginia. There are only two types of adoptive placements that are allowed by Virginia law. These are agency placements and non-agency placements.

blue square bullet Agency Versus Non-Agency Placements

Agency Placements (placements through local departments of social services or licenced child placing agencies)

Agency placements occur when the child is in the custody of a local department of social services or licensed child-placing agency. In this situation, all parental rights are terminated, custody with authority to place for adoption is granted to the agency, and the agency consents to the child's adoption.

Non-agency Adoptions (parental, stepparent, adult, close relative and intercountry placements)

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 by entry of the final order of adoption.

Except for licensed or duly authorized child-placing agencies, only birth parents and legal guardians 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 guardians may actually place the child for adoption.

blue square bullet Other Court Ordered Services (custody investigations or supervised visitation)

Other court ordered services involve custody investigations or supervised visitation. "Custody investigation" refers to a court ordered method to gather information regarding a child whose custody, visitation or support is in controversy or requires determination. Custody investigations are usually requested in divorce situations.


Guidance & Procedures


Post Adoption Services