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 4901 Dickens Road, Suite 108

 Richmond, Virginia 23230

 Phone: (804) 358-6669  Fax: (804) 358-5290

 Toll Free: (800) 483-0934

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Parental Placement Adoption

     A.     Birth parents in Virginia may also place a child directly with adoptive parents. This is known as parental placement. In a parental placement adoption, the birth parent consents directly to the adoption of his or her child by the chosen adoptive parents. Legal custody of the child passes directly from the birth parent(s) to the adoptive parents.

     B.     Parental placement adoption in Virginia is governed by Virginia Code ß63.2-1230-1240.

If adoptive parents choose to pursue a parental placement adoption, they must undergo a home study by a licensed child-placing agency in Virginia.

In a parental placement adoption, the attorney will often make arrangements with the hospital where the child is to be born so that (a) the adoptive parents will have access to the child in the nursery following birth and (b) the child will be discharged directly to the adoptive parents.

When the child is to be adopted is at least 3 days old, the birth mother will execute her consent to the adoption before a Judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court often in the presence of the adoptive parents. The court may accept the consent of the birth mother only after making specific findings.

Prior to the courtís acceptance of the birth motherís consent, the adoptive parents and the birth mother may participate in a joint counseling session conducted by the agency that prepared the home study. This may be done separately by mutual agreement.

Just like the birth mother, the birth father of the child to be adopted may participate in the consent process by  (i) participating in the joint counseling, and (ii) appearing in court to execute his consent to the adoption. However, the consent of a birth father in court is not necessary if:

(a) the birth father consents under oath and in writing to the adoption outside of court following the birth of the child;

(b) the birth mother affirms in writing that the identity of the birth father is not reasonably ascertainable;

(c) the birth fatherís whereabouts are unknown and he is given notice of the proceedings by registered or certified mail to his last known address and fails to object to the proceeding within 15 days of the mailing of the notice;

d) the birth father named by the birth mother denies paternity of the child under oath and in writing;

e) the birth father named by the birth mother does not register with the Putative Father Registry.

Upon the acceptance of the birth parent(s) consent(s), the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court will transfer legal custody of the child to the adoptive parents.

A birth parent executing his or her consent to an adoption may revoke that consent for any reason for up to 10 days from its execution or until the child is 10 days old (whichever occurs first). A revocation must be in writing, signed by the revoking birth parent or attorney representing that birth parent and filed with the clerk of the court in which the Petition for Custody and Consent was filed.

     C.     Adoptive parents who have received a child through a parental placement adoption, will file a Complaint for adoption in the Circuit Court in the City or County where they reside. The Circuit Court will enter an Interlocutory Order which triggers a mandatory 6-month probationary period. During that 6-month period, the adoptive parents must undergo three post-placement visits by the child-placing agency that conducted their home study. Following the completion of the visits, and the 6-month period, the agency will prepare a report of visitation which will be filed with the court. The court may then enter a Final Decree of Adoption.

     D.     In a parental placement adoption, Virginia Code ß63.2-1232 A(3) permits the birth parent(s) and adoptive parents to exchange identifying information, including full names and addresses if mutually agreeable. The exchange of identifying information normally occurs during the counseling session which must take place prior to acceptance of a birth parents consent by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.

For questions about parental placement adoption, please send an e-mail to Laura Grant or Rodney M. Poole or contact them at the above number.