Frequently Asked Questions
No, you do not have to be Catholic to adopt from Catholic Charities. Some of our programs do require a pastoral reference as part of the application process and some of our programs do not.
Yes. An attorney is always required to finalize an adoption. Depending on the type of adoption you pursue would determine the extent to which you would need an attorney. For an agency adoption an attorney is only required to finalize the adoption. For a parental placement adoption an attorney is required to terminate birth parent’s rights and to finalize the adoption.
We offer post-adoption services to adoptive parents, adoptees, and birth parents. Our goal is to be a lifetime resource for you.
When the birth parents select the adoptive parents, the amount of contact is up to the families involved. Many times the birth parents will ask to meet the adoptive parents. This meeting is facilitated by the agency. The identities of both the adoptive family and the birth parents can be kept confidential or you can have an more open relationship. The level of contact is ultimately determined by what you are comfortable with and what you and the birth family agree to. This can include pictures, letters, and ongoing face to face contact either facilitated by the agency or directly with the birth family.
We place healthy infants of all races, as well as children with special needs. Special needs includes medical challenges, babies born exposed to drugs or alcohol, and children with a family history of mental illness or other hereditary traits.
There are various adoption requirements set by both Catholic Charities and the State of Virginia. Applicants can be married or single. You must be able to financially accommodate the addition of a child into your family. Preference is given to couples experiencing infertility or secondary infertility (for an agency adoption).
If the birth mother does not know who the father is, she will sign an Affidavit stating that. This Affidavit is a legal document and must be signed in front of a notary public. The agency will then search the Putative Father Registry and possibly (if deemed necessary) file a petition in the juvenile court to terminate rights of the unknown father.
In an agency placement the birth mother “entrusts” the child to the agency by signing the Entrustment for Permanent Surrender of the Child at any time after birth. A notary must witness the document. The entrustment agreement can be revoked by the birth parent until the child is 10 days old or 7 days have elapsed since its execution; whichever is later. After the revocation period has expired and an adoptive placement has occurred, the entrustment agreement is irrevocable except upon proof of fraud or duress. This would look slightly different in a parental placement adoption or an independent adoption.
Fees vary depending on the type of adoption you choose.
The wait time for placement of an infant will vary depending on the type of adoption you choose and the types of circumstances you are open to considering. After an infant is placed in your home, there is a minimum period of six months before the finalization process can begin. A minimum of three supervisory visits are required during the six month period, with not less than ninety days between the first and last visit. Once the supervisory requirements are met, the finalization process can begin with the Consent from the agency (if it was an agency placement). The finalization process takes several months to complete and an attorney will be needed to assist in the process.
An adoption home study is a written report by a social worker who has met with the applicants on several occasions, both individually and together (if a couple). Virginia requires at least three face to face meeting with a minimum of one meeting taking place in the family’s home. Components of a home study involve education, preparation, mutual assessment, and gathering information about the prospective adoptive parents. The mutual assessment process is designed to help families decide if adoption is right for them, as well as to help families understand the type of child whose needs they could meet. This process can take approximately from three to four months, depending on the completion of the required paperwork. As prospective adoptive parents, you must complete a home study prior to adopting, regardless of what kind of adoption you choose to pursue.