Adoption is a legal proceeding that is govern by statute in which a person(s) takes the child of another, or an adult into his family and makes him or her his own child. The Virginia Code sections that govern adoptions are §§ 63.2-1200 through 1248. Preliminary steps in some types of adoptions are governed by §16.1-283.
There are only two types of adoptions allowed by Virginia law. They are agency placed adoptions and non-agency placed adoptions. In circumstances that involve agency placed adoptions, the parental rights of the parents have been terminated, custody of the child has been placed with the agency, and the agency has consented to the adoption. Parental, Step Parent, Adult, close relative and inter-country placements are non-agency placements where the birth parents or legal guardians consent to the adoption and parental rights are terminated by final adoption order.
Adoptions are filed in the jurisdiction in which the Petitioners live or in the jurisdiction in which the adoption placed agency is located. Proceedings for parental placement adoption of a minor child and for a change of name of that child shall be instituted by petition to the Circuit Court. The petition shall provide a full disclosure of the events that led to the child coming to live in the home of the petitioners. The petitioners and their attorney shall sign each petition for adoption.
All parties to the adoption action are advised to seek independent legal advice, as the adoption process is very complex.