Adoption is the legal way to create a parent-child relationship between a child and someone other than the child’s birth parent. The adoption process is highly emotional and has far reaching legal, financial and social effects. As stated by the Virginia Supreme Court, “[t]here is no proceeding that can be as awesome, or is as final, as the proceeding for the adoption of one’s child.” (Shank v. Dep’t of Social Svc’s of City of Virginia Beach, 217 Va. 506, 511 (1976)).
There are several types of adoption in the United States and different laws govern each type of adoption. In some adoption cases, state, federal and foreign laws apply. In many adoption cases, the laws of more than one state apply. Virginia Code § 63.2-1215 sets out the rules for severing the legal relationship between biological parents and their child within the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia Code also spells out the rules for becoming a parent by adoption.
Due to the complex nature of this legal proceeding, proper legal advice is necessary when considering the option of adoption.