Do I Need An Attorney To Help Me In An Agency Placement Adoption?
Virginia law recognizes two types of adoption: agency placement adoption and non-agency adoption. This posting will focus on agency placement adoption and why representation by a skilled family lawyer is a benefit.
Agency Placement Adoption
An agency placement adoption is when a child is in the custody of either a local department of social services or a licensed child-placement agency. In this type of adoption, all existing parental rights are terminated and the approval authority lies with the agency that has custody of the child.
The process for an adoption is fairly straightforward. You begin by getting in touch with the Adoption Resource Exchange for Virginia. They will ask some general questions and then refer you to an agency to begin with. You will then attend orientation with the agency. You will then attend training for between 28 and 30 hours. Either before or after your training, you will be asked to complete an application that you must complete and return to the agency. You will then be subject to a home assessment from a social worker. You will then move to the selection and placement phase. Finally, after the child has been in your home for at least 6 months and a social worker has conducted at least additional visits, you can legally finalize the adoption through the court. It is at this point where you petition the court to finalize the adoption. It should be noted that even the Commonwealth recommends that you should be represented by an attorney during this process.
Why Is An Attorney Necessary?
If you are considering an international agency adoption, there are legal hoops to jump through from start to finish. There are certification requirements that must be met by the foreign agency regarding child trafficking treaties. There are also immigration issues in every international adoption. Further, an international child must be re-adopted under Virginia law because a foreign adoption is valid only for that country. The issues are fairly immense and complex and no adoptive family should try to go this alone.
In a domestic adoption, an attorney is still a necessity. The attorney will serve an oversight function over the first steps of the adoption process. They will vet the agency and the contract with the agency and negotiate any changes to the contract. The attorney will also provide necessary guidance if the adoption is taking place across state lines. The attorney will also represent the family if any hearings are necessary during the process as well. Finally, the attorney will petition the court for the adoption to become final and represent the adoptive parents in any finalization hearings the court deems necessary.
An adoption is a life-changing event, for both the adopted child and the adopting family. It can be highly stressful, expensive and even traumatic. A skilled family lawyer helps mitigate the stress and manage the expense and uncertainty that is part and parcel with an adoption. The skilled family law professionals at Shannon and Bedois, P.C. have years of experience working with adoptive families to help them grow their families. If you live in the Chesapeake and Virginia Beach area and you are considering an adoption, give them a call at (757) 228-5529 to set up a consultation today. An adoption is a huge investment of time and emotion with an even bigger payoff in the end. Make sure that your investment is protected by the skilled family lawyers at our firm.