C2Adopt considers "family preservation" as the first, best option for children and will explore that with any pregnant client as the first consideration. If an adoption plan is going to be made, C2Adopt believes a fully open adoption plan is the best way to meet all of the needs of the child who will be placed.
There are two legal processes available in Virginia:
- Parental Placement Adoption
Both types allow for the mother and father to make an individualized adoption plan and to choose the family who will parent their child. No matter which legal process is used, expecting parents receive counseling, support and assistance in exploring all of their options and in gathering resources. If a parent decides to make an adoption plan, C2Adopt is able to assist with a Parental Placement Adoption (a term unique to Virginia). Parental Placement is a direct placement from placing parents to adoptive parents without an agency ever taking legal or physical custody of the child. The placing parent(s) choose the adoptive family with whom they wish to place their child, usually prior to the birth of the child. This agency requires the all of the parents meet at least once “simultaneously” with their home study agency to exchange information such as names, contact information, medical and family history. While there is no longer a legal requirement for this meeting or for the exchange of identifying information, this agency requires this of all clients who use our Infant Adoption Services. C2Adopt believes that it is in a child's best interest for ALL information to be shared and will require the exchange of names and addresses and full background information if you choose to work with this agency.
Our staff knows that the decision to adopt a child or to place your child for adoption are life changing events and we are here to make sure that our clients feel supported from the beginning and for as long as they want and need our services. C2Adopt is committed to a lifetime partnership with our families.
- Home Study Assessments specific to Parental Placement Adoption
- Placement and post-placement services and support
- Expectant parent Options Counseling, support and referral to community resources.
What's Unique about Our Infant Program
The Infant Placement Program of C2Adopt offers clients the unique perspective of having conducted Parental Placement adoptions longer than any other agency in the Commonwealth. C2Adopt was the first agency to embrace this type of open adoption when the first Parental Placement law went into effect in 1989. Our years of experience with open adoption allow us to provide to all our clients, knowledge and skills regarding how to best approach this type of adoption. Call us for more information about how we can assist you or answer your questions about this type of adoption.
Visit our Waiting Families Profiles to find information about some of our clients who are hoping to build their families through adoption.
How to get started
The Home Study Assessment: The home study is a mutual educational process during which families learn about the unique aspects of adoptive parenting and we learn about how a family's life experiences have prepared them for adoptive parenting.
The Commonwealth of Virginia requires the home study assessment process to include, but is not limited to:
1. A minimum of three face-to-face visits between the client and the social worker, one of which is in your home
2. Educational workshops to provide information and training about the lifelong impact of adoption
3. Required paperwork such as background clearances, income verification, references, autobiography, medical clearance, verification of marriage/divorce, etc…
4. Our agency approaches the assessment from a strengths perspective and seeks to find ways to approve a family rather than looking for reason not to. For our Infant Adoption clients, once your home study is complete, we then assist you in preparing a profile that could be presented to expectant parents, and if applicable, network with out of state agencies. For more details on this part of the adoption process, call us or attend our next FREE Orientation Meeting.
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between open adoption and an agency placement?
Currently in Virginia, there is no longer a specific distinction between an open adoption and an agency placement adoption. Agency placements are now allowed to be fully open (i.e. identifying information is shared between placing and adoptive parents) if all parties prefer to conduct the adoptive process in that way. It is also still an option to complete an agency placement adoption without exchanging information; this is frequently referred to as a “closed” adoption. The term open adoption refers to the sharing of information and/or contact between the adoptive and biological parents of an adopted child. This can occur before, during and/or after the placement of the child (Baran and Pannor, 1993). Open adoption, whether through a Parental Placement or Agency Placement, allows the placing parents the opportunity to make an individualized plan for their child and play an active role in selecting an adoptive family. It allows adoptive parents access to information about family history and the opportunity to get to know the parents and begin parenting the child at birth. Placing and Adoptive Parents together determine the degree of openness and together they make a plan for on-going contact that is mutually agreeable. C2Adopt will assist both sets of parents in determining what level of contact they are most comfortable agreeing to and will assist in negotiating on-going contact agreements. An on-going contact agreement made between birth and adoptive parents in a Parental Placement adoption may be legally binding if all parties choose to enter into a PACCA agreement (Post Adoption Contact and Communication Agreement). We will provide details about this process should you wish to consider it.
I am just starting to look into adopting an infant. Where should I start?
The first place to start is to contact various agencies within your area to receive information packets and attend their orientation meetings. Be prepared to ask the agency various questions in regard to their fees, philosophical approach, training, flexibility and services offered. After choosing an agency, most agencies require you to submit an application. Once an application is received, an adoption social worker will contact you to begin the home study process.
C2Adopt provides an Orientation meeting to help you explore your choices. Check out our Workshop schedule for the date and time of our next meeting. We also provide a one-on-one consultation service for families who prefer to meet in private with one of our professionals to explore their options. There is a nominal fee of $60/hr for this service and you may contact Rebecca Ricardo to schedule a consultation appointment. If you have already attended an orientation and are interested in filling out an application, please Contact Us.
What is involved in the home study process?
Please see our Infant Adoption Getting Started page for answers to this question.
How do I become connected with a potential birth mother?
The number one way that our families become connected with potential placing parents is through word of mouth. We encourage our families to let friends and family members know they are interested in adopting. We also encourage our families to create profiles, which they can pass out to potential birth mothers once they are connected. A profile is a summary look at your life through a letter written to the potential birth mother about who you are and a brief description about your life, career, hobbies, etc. Families include pictures with captions of their family, home, animals and anything that they feel best represents who they are. We provide several avenues to present your profile and assist with suggestions about the multiple ways in which you can make yourself known as a possible resource to a placing parent. C2Adopt also has a profile book of prospective adoptive parents that potential placing parents can look through. We also help explore the options of advertising in newspapers, Internet and other places of interest.
There also is the opportunity to work with an out of state agency that works with potential placing parents. Some of our clients choose to have their home study completed through us and then work with an agency in another state. The out of state agencies charge anywhere between $15,000-$45,000 for this service. This is something you can explore with your social worker if you are interested.
How often do the birth parents change their mind?
The percentage of cases in which a placing parent changes his/her mind is actually less than 5%; however, if it happens to you or someone you know, it can feel like it happens all the time. If the parent is going to change his/her mind, it is more likely that it will happen in the hospital after delivery. However, there are cases that the parent changes her mind after the child has been home with the adoptive parents. Please refer to the law section to review the legal process to read about the revocation period, which is the time in which the birth parent has to change his or her mind. No agency can promise or guarantee that a placement will be successful. There are no "risk free" adoptions and each placing parent and adoptive parent should talk with their social worker about assessing which risks they are most comfortable with as they make their decision on the type of adoption to pursue.
In order to facilitate informed and uncoerced decision making on the part of placing parents, C2Adopt provides each client with a separate social worker from the social worker who is working with the adoptive parent.
Will the birth parents show up years later and want their child back?
This is a common question and misperception that adoptive parents have when first exploring open adoption. Once the adoption has been finalized through a court order, the adoptive parent(s) are the legal parent of that child. Virginia Code states that a final order of adoption is "not subject to attack after six months". Virginia law also requires that, after the revocation period expires and prior to the final order, if the adoption is contested, the best interest of the child will be the determining factor in any decision.
When adoptive parents ask this question we typically find that there is also an underlying and understandable fear of feeling a sense of claiming and entitlement to your child. This is something that your social worker will help process with you so that you can find a way in which fitting the birth parent into your child's and your life that will be comfortable and not stressful to you or the child.
What kind of contact will I have with the birth family of my child?
One of the advantages of an open adoption is the opportunity for contact between the adoptive parents and the biological family, which can help provide children with knowledge about their true roots and identity. The level and type of contact you will have will be determined by you and the birth parent you choose to work with. After adoption, the most typical contact is periodic exchange of letters and pictures between the two families. Children's questions, curiosity and need to know about family history are normal and to be expected. C2Adopt believes that the more knowledge, empathy and understanding the adoptive family has about their child's birth family, the greater their ability to answer the child's questions, to talk positively about the birth family and to help a child form a healthy and positive identity.
Will my child feel the same way about me as birth children feel about their parents?
A child does not have to be born to you to attach and bond with you. Think of the many relationships in your life of loved ones (spouses, in-laws, friends, family members, etc.) that you have bonded and attached with that are not blood relatives. There are many other ways in which you as an adoptive parent can enhance the bonding and attachment process. Your social worker will explore these with you during the home study process. The act of caring for the infant through feedings and changing, nurturing, loving, and providing the basic needs are what promotes a healthy attachment and begins the bonding process between you and your child.
How long does the whole process take?
Your home study can be completed in 2 to 4 months, sooner if there is a need to "rush" the process because of the due date of a birth parent. Most of our Parental Placement families achieve placement within a year from the beginning of the process. It is rare that a family waits longer than 2 years.
What is the overall cost of adopting a child through a Parental Placement adoption?
The range of cost for this type of adoption is from $10,000 - $25,000 or more. The wide range is due to the varying costs that could be included in your adoption but are not always required, depending on the circumstances. For instance, you may find a connection with a potential placing parent who has living expenses that need to be paid. That would increase your costs. You may find a possible placement where the placing parents do not wish to have an attorney, which may decrease your costs. Medical fees can sometimes be paid for by Medicaid and in that circumstance, those fees would be reduced. What is most important to note about Parental Placement adoptions in regard to fees is that you may have more choices about what fees you can or will pay than you might have in an Agency Placement adoption.