Adoption FAQ

Adoption FAQ

Read Our Virginia Adoption Attorney's Adoption FAQ

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. Our Virginia adoption lawyers have more than 200 years of combined legal experience and can help both individuals and families adopt a child in the Northern Virginia area. If you need any further help or have questions regarding adoption, please contact our firm at (703) 988-7627.

What is adoption?
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.

Why are children put up for adoption?
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.

Can a child's birthparents take a child back after they have been adopted?
For a child to be legally adopted, the birth parents have to surrender their parental rights. 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.

What if I want to adopt a child in another state?
Due to the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which was passed in 1998, 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.

How long does the adoption process take?
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 due to the type of child being adopted. Once an interested individual or couple has completed and passed a home study, the process to adopt a child with special needs can take a few weeks, while adopting a healthy infant can take two to seven years.

How much will it cost to adopt a child?
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.

What is the difference between foster care and adoption?
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 want to adopt a healthy infant or toddler, it may be ideal for you to become a foster parent.

What is a home study?
If you are interested in adopting a child, 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.

How can I adopt a baby?
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.

Is there a way to receive financial assistance so I can adopt a child?
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.