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What types of adoption are available in Virginia?

Couples may choose to adopt a child for a number of reasons. Whether the couple is unable to reproduce due to biological health issues, or the couple is a same sex couple, or the couple simply wishes to help a child without a family, there are a variety of types of adoption and family laws in order to regulate the adoption process.

There are both public and private state regulated agencies licensed to match children with parents looking to adopt. Private agencies are typically social service organizations who deal with children who are brought by parents or expectant parents who wish to give their child up for adoption. Public agencies deal with children who are wards of the state, or have been orphaned, abandoned or abused. Adoption through identification involves the adopting parents and birthing parents finding each other and using an agency to handle the adoption process.

Couples may also choose to adopt independently, by finding suitable birthing parents willing to give their child up for adoption. Sometimes, these adoptions are called "open adoptions", and often the biological parents maintain some form of contact with the child after the adoption. In Virginia, this is allowed if authorized by the birthing parents.

International adoptions are complicated; requiring adherence to both state and federal laws regulated by the Hague Adoption Process, as well as the laws and regulations of the foreign country of the child's origin.

The types of adoptions do not end there. Same sex couple adoptions vary by state, but are legal in the state of Virginia, and follow many of the same regulations as traditional couple adoptions. Stepparent adoption typically occurs when a spouse has a child from a previous marriage and the other spouse wishes to adopt the child. Relative adoptions often occur when parents of a child are deceased, incarcerated, or are deemed unfit for parenting.

Source:, "The Different Types of Adoption", Accessed May 12, 2015

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