Interstate Adoptions

The Adoption and Surrogacy Law Center

Interstate Parental Placement Adoption When the Baby is Born in Virginia and the Adoptive Parents Do Not Reside in Virginia

By Colleen Quinn, Esquire

The Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center

at Locke & Quinn

http://www.virginia-adoption-attorney.com

quinn@lockequinn.com

In handling interstate adoptions where the child is born or to be born in Virginia, the first step is typically to determine which state law is more advantageous to the parties.

A. Non-Residents Can Do the Entire Adoption In Virginia.

Since 2006, adoptive parents who are not residents of Virginia can do the entire adoption in Virginia. Therefore, doing the entire adoption in Virginia is a clear option for non-resident adoptive parents.

B. Non-Residents Also Can Consider Whether to Proceed Under the Law of Their Home State.

The other option to consider is doing the adoption under the home state of the adoptive parent(s). Doing the adoption under the law of the adoptive parent(s)’ state usually depends on how easily the birth parent(s) in Virginia can execute consents for that state and whether there will be any interstate approval process (ICPC) hurdles.

C. The Best Action Plan.

The best action plan is for the prospective adoptive parent(s) to contact a qualified adoption attorney in their home state and a qualified adoption attorney in Virginia (attorneys who have been admitted as Fellows with the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys are recommended) who is somewhat close in geographic location to the placing birth parent. These two attorneys ought to then coordinate on the pros and cons (including consent and revocation periods, ease of giving consents and terminating parental rights, costs involved, permissible expenses, and all other factors) of proceeding under the law of each state. Potential adoptive parents should be willing to pay consultation fees to the attorneys to work out the options as this involves a considerable amount of time by the attorneys. Ideally the adoptive parents should be able to choose under which state law they prefer to proceed and not allow an attorney to dictate that for them. Adoptive parent(s) should be wary of attorneys who do not advise them of all possible options and who merely are trying to get or keep legal work for themselves.

D. Proceeding With a Virginia Placement.

For the interstate adoption to take place in Virginia, as of 2010, the following procedures and costs are involved:

1. Costs Involved:

(a) Attorney for the Birth Mother (and could be for both the birth father and birth mother if they are married). The attorney for the birth mother (“BM”) usually costs about $1000 to $1500. Unusual circumstances may warrant higher fees.

(b) Licensed Adoption Agency Services. The adoptive parents (“APs”) also will need to pay a Virginia adoption agency to offer birth parent counseling, to turn the adoptive parent(s)’ home study into a Virginia home study report to court, and to take the follow-up visits over the next six months and turn those into the second report to court before getting the Final Order. The cost of this agency service can vary from $750 to $1500 depending on the agency and where BM is located. It also can be more if the underlying home study is severely deficient and does not have the requisite criminal record and child protective services clearances done.

(c) The Attorney For the Baby. A court appointed guardian ad litem (“GAL”) for the child will be about $250 to $400.

(d) The Attorney for the Adoptive Parents. The attorney’s fees and costs for the adoptive parents for the entire process (from hospital process to obtaining interstate (ICPC) approval, to handling the entire adoption from termination of parental rights in the juvenile court to filing the petition in circuit court to finalization, including obtaining original and amended birth certificates, runs about $3,500 to $4000. This can vary depending on the hospital, the location of the court to be used and the circumstances surrounding the birth father.

2. Procedures Involved:

(a) Addressing the Birth Father’s Rights. There are several ways in Virginia to terminate the Birth Father’s (“BF”) rights:

· The BF can sign a pre-birth consent or denial of paternity.

· The BF can sign a post-birth out of court consent or denial of paternity.

· The BF can come to court with the birth mom and consent.

· The BF can do nothing and, depending on his status, be given notice of the adoption proceeding or of his right to register with the VA Putative Father registry.

(b) Addressing the Birth Mother’s Rights.

Under VA law, the birth mom needs to sign her consent to the placement before a Virginia judge, must wait until the child is three days old to sign, and has seven days to revoke after signing the consent (if the child is at least ten days old and the birth mother has separate legal counsel, then the birth mother can waive the seven day revocation). The adoptive parents need to be present.

(c) The Home Study Report to Court and Consent Hearing.

In order to have the consent and transfer of custody hearing, the out of state home study must be completed, then the home study needs to be turned into a report to court by the licensed Virginia adoption agency, and it must be filed by the time of the consent hearing. The BF’s rights also will be addressed at the consent hearing.

The out-of-state adoptive parents only need to be in Virginia for the initial consent and transfer of custody hearing. They do not have to come back to Virginia and can leave as soon as they have interstate approval.

(d) Finalizing the Adoption.

After the consent hearing in the Juvenile Court, the adoption will be finalized in the Circuit Court. After the filing of the petition, an Interlocutory Order will be entered ordering the home study agency to conduct three visits and the reporting agency to coordinate with the home study agency and then file a report of visitation. The entire adoption process is about four to five months given that the home study agency must allow ninety (90) days between the first and the third visit. After the report of visitation is filed, the Final Order will be entered. After the Final Order is entered, the new birth certificates will be issued in about 8-16 weeks and the original birth certificate will be placed under seal. If the adoptive parent(s) or birth parent(s) wish to have a copy of the original birth certificate, it must be obtained before the Final Order of Adoption is entered.

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Interstate – Child in VA


Interstate Parental Placement Adoption When the Baby is Born in Virginia and the Adoptive Parents Do Not Reside in Virginia

By Colleen Quinn, Esquire

The Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center

at Locke & Quinn

http://www.virginia-adoption-attorney.com

quinn@lockequinn.com

In handling interstate adoptions where the child is born or to be born in Virginia, the first step is typically to determine which state law is more advantageous to the parties.

A. Non-Residents Can Do the Entire Adoption In Virginia.

Since 2006, adoptive parents who are not residents of Virginia can do the entire adoption in Virginia. Therefore, doing the entire adoption in Virginia is a clear option for non-resident adoptive parents.

B. Non-Residents Also Can Consider Whether to Proceed Under the Law of Their Home State.

The other option to consider is doing the adoption under the home state of the adoptive parent(s). Doing the adoption under the law of the adoptive parent(s)’ state usually depends on how easily the birth parent(s) in Virginia can execute consents for that state and whether there will be any interstate approval process (ICPC) hurdles.

C. The Best Action Plan.

The best action plan is for the prospective adoptive parent(s) to contact a qualified adoption attorney in their home state and a qualified adoption attorney in Virginia (attorneys who have been admitted as Fellows with the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys are recommended) who is somewhat close in geographic location to the placing birth parent. These two attorneys ought to then coordinate on the pros and cons (including consent and revocation periods, ease of giving consents and terminating parental rights, costs involved, permissible expenses, and all other factors) of proceeding under the law of each state. Potential adoptive parents should be willing to pay consultation fees to the attorneys to work out the options as this involves a considerable amount of time by the attorneys. Ideally the adoptive parents should be able to choose under which state law they prefer to proceed and not allow an attorney to dictate that for them. Adoptive parent(s) should be wary of attorneys who do not advise them of all possible options and who merely are trying to get or keep legal work for themselves.

D. Proceeding With a Virginia Placement.

For the interstate adoption to take place in Virginia, as of 2010, the following procedures and costs are involved:

1. Costs Involved:

(a) Attorney for the Birth Mother (and could be for both the birth father and birth mother if they are married). The attorney for the birth mother (“BM”) usually costs about $1000 to $1500. Unusual circumstances may warrant higher fees.

(b) Licensed Adoption Agency Services. The adoptive parents (“APs”) also will need to pay a Virginia adoption agency to offer birth parent counseling, to turn the adoptive parent(s)’ home study into a Virginia home study report to court, and to take the follow-up visits over the next six months and turn those into the second report to court before getting the Final Order. The cost of this agency service can vary from $750 to $1500 depending on the agency and where BM is located. It also can be more if the underlying home study is severely deficient and does not have the requisite criminal record and child protective services clearances done.

(c) The Attorney For the Baby. A court appointed guardian ad litem (“GAL”) for the child will be about $250 to $400.

(d) The Attorney for the Adoptive Parents. The attorney’s fees and costs for the adoptive parents for the entire process (from hospital process to obtaining interstate (ICPC) approval, to handling the entire adoption from termination of parental rights in the juvenile court to filing the petition in circuit court to finalization, including obtaining original and amended birth certificates, runs about $3,500 to $4000. This can vary depending on the hospital, the location of the court to be used and the circumstances surrounding the birth father.

2. Procedures Involved:

(a) Addressing the Birth Father’s Rights. There are several ways in Virginia to terminate the Birth Father’s (“BF”) rights:

· The BF can sign a pre-birth consent or denial of paternity.

· The BF can sign a post-birth out of court consent or denial of paternity.

· The BF can come to court with the birth mom and consent.

· The BF can do nothing and, depending on his status, be given notice of the adoption proceeding or of his right to register with the VA Putative Father registry.

(b) Addressing the Birth Mother’s Rights.

Under VA law, the birth mom needs to sign her consent to the placement before a Virginia judge, must wait until the child is three days old to sign, and has seven days to revoke after signing the consent (if the child is at least ten days old and the birth mother has separate legal counsel, then the birth mother can waive the seven day revocation). The adoptive parents need to be present.

(c) The Home Study Report to Court and Consent Hearing.

In order to have the consent and transfer of custody hearing, the out of state home study must be completed, then the home study needs to be turned into a report to court by the licensed Virginia adoption agency, and it must be filed by the time of the consent hearing. The BF’s rights also will be addressed at the consent hearing.

The out-of-state adoptive parents only need to be in Virginia for the initial consent and transfer of custody hearing. They do not have to come back to Virginia and can leave as soon as they have interstate approval.

(d) Finalizing the Adoption.

After the consent hearing in the Juvenile Court, the adoption will be finalized in the Circuit Court. After the filing of the petition, an Interlocutory Order will be entered ordering the home study agency to conduct three visits and the reporting agency to coordinate with the home study agency and then file a report of visitation. The entire adoption process is about four to five months given that the home study agency must allow ninety (90) days between the first and the third visit. After the report of visitation is filed, the Final Order will be entered. After the Final Order is entered, the new birth certificates will be issued in about 8-16 weeks and the original birth certificate will be placed under seal. If the adoptive parent(s) or birth parent(s) wish to have a copy of the original birth certificate, it must be obtained before the Final Order of Adoption is entered.

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