How do I begin the adoption process?
The most important step before beginning the adoption process is to research adoption options, procedures, and agencies in your region.
Commonwealth Catholic Charities offers free orientations for prospective adoptive parents so that you can understand the adoption process before making a commitment. You may want to attend orientations with several agencies to ensure that you are making an informed decision about what option and what agency is best for you.
What adoption options does Commonwealth Catholic Charities offer?
Commonwealth Catholic Charities offers a full range of adoption options, including agency infant adoptions and parental placement adoptions (private adoption). CCC also works with a number of agencies outside of Virginia to assist with interstate (out of state adoptions) and international adoption.
Does CCC offer foster care adoption?
You can contact your local Department of Social Services if foster care adoption interests you. CCC’s foster care department might also be able assist you in adopting a child in Treatment Foster Care but you will need to commit to fostering a child and supporting their foster care goal. Foster parents are typically given the first option to adopt a child who is in their care if they become available for adoption.
If a Virginia foster child is not available for adoption, CCC can work with out of state foster -to-adopt programs such as, www.Adoptuskids.org.
Can anyone adopt?
Most people can adopt. However, all adoption options and agencies have different criteria for adoptive applicants such as age, marital status, length of marriage, number of children in the home, financial stability, etc. Attending an agency orientation will clarify these things. After beginning the process an adoption home study will be conducted to determine your suitability to adopt. Again, most people will be approved to adopt. If you have concerns about whether you will be approved, discuss them with your caseworker before committing to the process.
What is a home study?
A home study is an assessment of you as a prospective adoptive parent. It is a requirement for every type of adoption.
What’s involved in the home study process?
As part of the home study process, your agency will collect documentation on your behalf which includes but is not limited to, financial information, references, background checks and medical reports. Virginia Department of Social Services' child placing regulations set these requirements. Your home study will take approximately 3 to 4 months to complete depending on how quickly you are able to get us the required information. Virginia also requires training on specific adoption topics. Additionally, there will be interviews with your caseworker in the office and in your home.
What ages of children are available for adoption?
CCC focuses primarily on the placement of newborns. The type of adoption you choose might be a factor in the ages of children available.
What is the cost for adoption?
The cost for adoption can vary depending on the type of adoption you choose. There are fees required whether you are adopting through a private agency or using an attorney. The agency or law firm must absorb the costs of providing services and the expenses involved in maintaining staff and the facilities where the services are offered.
Is there financial assistance for adoption?
There is financial assistance available through grants, tax credits, loans, and employment benefits. Your adoption caseworker may be able to give you additional guidance on how to receive this assistance.
How long does it take to adopt?
Adoption is not a fast process. The length of time will vary depending on the type of adoption you choose; how flexible you are about your child’s background and how active you are in researching adoption opportunities in your region or around your state or the country. If you are only on a private agency’s list it can take longer.
Can the biological parents change their minds?
This is very rare and, in Virginia, there is a short window when birth parents can reverse their decision. Virginia has adoption laws that protect adoption placements. However, it is important that your agency does its due diligence in counseling and supporting both of your child’s birth parents to ensure that the adoption is the best decision for them and to ensure that the adoptive parents have been made aware of any potential risks.
Can I adopt a child from a different state/country?
Yes. Commonwealth Catholic Charities has connections to agencies that specialize in out of state and international adoptions that will be made available to you. A home study in Virginia will still be required.
What kind of help is available to my family after I adopt?
After your child is placed with you, your caseworker will visit you and your child to ensure that your family has the support you need. If there are problems, your caseworker will make a referral for you so that you can get additional services if needed. After your adoption is finalized, there are free post-adoption services available in Virginia until your child reaches 18-years-old. Commonwealth Catholic Charities will always be available to you for support or a referral.
Do you have more questions?
Speak with an adoption case worker to learn more.