Virginia Adoption Laws and Policies

Who Can Adopt in Virginia?

A resident, an individual with custody of a child placed by a child-placing agency, an adoptive parent who participated in a consent proceeding, “intended” parents who signed a surrogacy contract, a married couple jointly, the child’s stepparent, a spouse from a marriage that is void.

Domestic Adoption Laws in Virginia

Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? Yes.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? No.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Medical (birth-related, plus health insurance premiums), legal, and counseling, plus their related transportation. Food, shelter, and clothing if birthmother can’t work due to pregnancy. Partial expenses if work ability is limited. Unspecified phone bills and auto insurance, repairs, and payments prohibited.

Is there a putative father registry? Yes.

When can consent to adoption be granted? Birthmothers: On or after the third day after the child’s birth; birthfathers: any time. 

When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? Seven days after signing the consent. Return automatic.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Yes, but the agreement must be circuit court-approved and incorporated into the adoption decree. Birthparents and adoptive parents may file a petition with the court.

International Adoption Laws in Virginia

Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Yes.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Yes, adopting parents can petition the circuit court for a Virginia birth certificate if the foreign country in which the child was born has postadoption reporting requirements and as long as the court receives proof of the child’s immigrant IR-3 visa status, the adoption decree provided on the State Registrar of Vital Records form, completed postadoption reports, and an affidavit stating that any incomplete postadoption requirements will be completed.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The State Registrar will issue a Virginia birth certificate for a foreign-born child with a final adoption order upon request and receipt of an adoption report.

Adoption From Foster Care in Virginia

Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, adoption subsidies are available for a special needs child as defined by one of the following: 6 years or older, member of a minority race, member of a sibling group being placed together, has or is at high-risk for developing a physical, mental or emotional disability, has a physical, mental, or emotional disability at the time of adoption that is not diagnosed until up to 1 year after the adoption was decreed, has strong emotional ties to foster parents that the child has lived with for 12 months or more. In addition, the child must be in the custody of the Dept. of Social Services or a private child-placing agency and 18 years or younger. Starts upon adoption placement.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in Virginia?

Virginia Adoption Unit

Program Manager: Traci Jones

801 East Main Street
11th Floor
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: (804) 726-7537
Fax: (804)


DISCLAIMER: The state laws and policies outlined above are offered to readers only for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the state laws were accurate at the time of compilation, but The Current Initiative cannot guarantee that there have been no subsequent changes or revisions to the laws. Please do not rely on the information above without first consulting an adoption attorney licensed in your state. Updated in November 2014.