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Navigating Adoption for LGBTQ+ Families in Virginia

By: Stephanie Sauer, Partner & Family Law Group Chair and Cassidy Stoneback, LGBTQ+ Outreach Coordinator

Adoption is an important way for many to grow their families, but it is an especially significant step for LGBTQ+ families. Before starting the adoption process, you and your family should understand what to expect and be equipped with the necessary tools to safeguard your growing family.

Types of Adoptions

Adoption looks different for every family, so it is hard to know exactly what you can expect from the process, but there are ways to prepare. The first step is determining what type of adoption you will pursue:

Agency Adoptions

Adoptive parents work with a licensed agency to have a child placed with them. Adoptive parents and birth parents may meet, but birth parents who work with an agency to place their child must give up their rights as parents to the agency. Adoption agencies usually have attorneys who help birth parents and adoptive parents.

Parental Consent Adoptions

Separate from agency adoptions, parental consent adoptions are where the birth parents consent to relinquish their parental rights and allow the adoptive parents to adopt. The birth parents and adoptive parents can meet in a variety of ways, such as through friends, family, or local community connections and groups. 

Close Relative Adoptions

Under Virginia law, a “close relative” is the child’s grandparent, great-grandparent, adult nephew or niece, adult brother or sister, adult uncle or aunt, adult great uncle or great aunt, stepparent, adult stepbrother or stepsisters, or other adult relative of the child by marriage or adoption. Depending on the length of time the child has resided with the intended adoptive parent, the close relative can adopt a child through an expedited process.

Second-Parent Adoptions or Confirmatory Adoptions

For LGBTQ+ parents, having the right to marry doesn’t always equate to having equal parental rights. While same-sex marriages are still federally protected, a post-Dobbs world means LGBTQ+ parents need to take all precautions to ensure their families are protected.

Confirmatory adoption, also known as second-parent adoption, is an important legal procedure that allows a non-biological and/or non-gestational parent to establish and safeguard their parental rights.

In confirmatory adoptions, a partner, other than the child’s legal parent by birth, adopts their partner’s child without terminating the first parent’s rights. With the current state of LGBTQ+ rights and laws, it is always best practice to complete a confirmatory adoption upon the birth of the child to protect your family.

Streamline Your Adoption Journey in Virginia with GLG’s Legal Guidance

If you are considering an adoption, the first step is to meet with an attorney. Your attorney will discuss what is needed for your specific situation and ensure you have the right documents to complete the adoption.

Navigating the adoption process can be overwhelming, but having a supportive and knowledgeable attorney by your side can make it much smoother.

If your family is considering adoption in Virginia, contact the Geller Law Group to schedule a consultation.

See Related: The Geller Law Group: A Firm For The LGBTQ+ Community

stephanie sauer

Stephanie Sauer, Partner & Family Law Group Chair
OFFICE: 703-687-6188 ext. 125
DIRECT: 571-489-6852
ssauer@thegellerlawgroup.com

Cassidy Stoneback

Cassidy StonebackLGBTQ+ Outreach Coordinator
OFFICE: 703-687-6188 ext. 149
DIRECT: 571-489-6763
cstoneback@thegellerlawgroup.com

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