In my research I discovered that in Fairfax County Virginia, “the Probate Court operates independently and handles the following: wills for safekeeping, probates wills, grants administration for decedent’s estates (testate and intestate) and testamentary trusts, and qualifies guardians and/or conservators over incapacitated adults and guardians over the person and property of minors. Appointments to probate an estate or qualify as a fiduciary are required.” (Government, 2020). However, the Domestic and Juvenile Courts are linked together and handled by the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, Virginia and concerned with all aspects of adoption. The following services are described by John Frey, “The primary sections of The Code of Virginia are found at §63.2-1200 –63.2-1253, but please note there are other requirements throughout the Virginia Code that may apply. The Adoption chapter of the Virginia Code is set forth with an article providing general provisions applicable in all types of adoption and the specific provisions applicable to specific types of placements.” (Frey, 2019).
To understand the difference between independent and an agency adoption it is important to define both and their similarities and differences. Independent or (private) adoption is defined in our text as, “The biological parents transfer custody of the child directly to the adoptive parent or parents. It is handled by a third party person who could be a clergy, physician or an attorney rather than a licensed state agency.” (Wilson, 2016, p. 272). This process seems more personal as the biological parent or parents have a say and can choose who they want their child to be and live with. In an interesting article written by: American Adoptions gives the following reasons for this being a positive experience. Here are some points on this subject:
- “In an independent adoption, you get to know your child’s adoptive parents. This means that you’ll trade identifying information, such as last names, email addresses, and possibly phone numbers.
- Independent adoptions in Virginia allow you to develop a relationship with these people to ensure that you’ve chosen the perfect fit for your baby in private adoption, and adopted children get to know their birth parents. Depending on the methods of contact agreed upon between the birth parents and the adoptive parents, adopted kids get to communicate with their birth parents and ask any questions they may have. They’ll never wonder why you chose adoption, nor will they feel as if you “gave them up,” because you’ll have the opportunity to explain otherwise. Not only will this be extremely important to them as they form their self-identities, but they’ll have the chance to interact with two sets of parents who love them.” (Adoptions, 2020). Our text defines agency adoptions as, “an adoption facilitated by an agency and licensed by the state.” (Wilson, 2016, p. 270). In Virginia, “the state code § 63.2-1221- Placement of children for adoption by agency or local board.” (Law, § 63.2-1221. State of Virginia, 2020). For agency adoption as written, “All adoption agencies in Virginia are licensed centers that facilitate placements between hopeful parents and women considering this unplanned pregnancy option. They offer important legal services that make the entire process — including home studies and connection to legal representation — a success. No matter what Virginia adoption agency you choose, you should always work with one that prioritizes your needs and offers quality services, too.” (Agencies, 2020). An explanation in our text states the following, “Children come into the custody of agency through two primary routes: the parent(s) surrender custody of the the child through a written relinquishing of their parental rights to the agency or a court terminates the parental rights for cause, based on clear and convincing evidence that they are unfit parent(s).” (Wilson, 2016, p. 270).
As for agency there are three types as follows:
- First, private adoption agencies: the biological mother or father places their child with a perspective family that wants to adopt. In my state of Virginia there are several organizations that handle private adoption.
- Second, would be foster care adoption: where children who are in our foster programs and have the chance to be able to have a forever home by being adopted by a loving individual or couple. In my state of Virginia, the state code for this is, “Code of Virginia-§ 63.2-1229. Foster parent adoption.” (Law, 2020). Third is international adoption agency: a child in one country is adopted by a resident in another country. In my state of Virginia this is the information of the state code, “§ 63.2-1200.1. Recognition of foreign adoption; issuance of birth certificates. Any adoption of a child who was born in a foreign country and who was not a citizen of the United States at the time of birth shall, subject to the provisions of subsection D of § 63.2-1201.1, be recognized by the Commonwealth and the rights and obligations of the parties shall be determined as though the order of adoption was entered by a court of the Commonwealth if the adoption was finalized pursuant to the laws of the country from which the child was adopted, and the child was admitted to the United States with an IR-3 or IH-3 visa issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.” (Law, Code § 63.2-1200.1. State of Virginai, 2020). ” The major difference between closed and open adoptions is that a closed adoption is where the parent (s) adopting will have no information about the child’s biological parents. An f open adoption provides both the biological and adoptive parent(s) to get to know each other. It seems to me that an open adoption would be in the best interest of the child and everyone else involved. On a personal note regarding a closed adoption my mother who was adopted from in orphanage in the state of Virginia. My mother spent her whole life wondering and trying to find out who her biological mother was. She has since passed and never got to know the women that gave birth to her.
A good definition is by consideringadoption.com, “foster care adoption is the adoption of a child in foster care whose biological parents’ rights have been terminated by a court.” The child may be adopted by either his or her foster parents or another adoptive family. Families who want to pursue a straight adoption from foster care don’t always have to become foster parents first; however, there are some states that list becoming an approved foster parent first as one of their eligibility requirements. Families who become foster parents and then later end up adopting are also pursuing a form of foster parent adoption called foster-to-adopt.” (Adoption, 2020).
The rights of the biological parents as written in our text, fall into one of three primary categories, “The legal mother, married father and non-marital biological father. As for the legal mother her rights are established at the birth of her child. As such she has the right to choose to put the child up for adoption. The rights of the married father is when the the biological mother is married, under marital presumption her husband is commonly deemed to be the father of any child born during their marriage or within 300 days of its termination. The non-marital biological father is the father of an illegitimate child and are unable to establish their legal status as parents.” (Wilson, 2016, pp. 224,340). This was very interesting in regards to the tort of parental interference. In researching on line Gail Burns has written the following: “Although the General Assembly has abolished the cause of action for alienation of affections, Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-220, the Wyatt Court distinguished the two torts: 'Tortious interference with parental or custodial relationship' intimates that the complaining parent has been deprived of his/her parental or custodial rights; in other words, but for the tortious interference, the complaining parent would be able to exercise some measure of control over his/her child's care, rearing, safety, well being, etc. By contrast, 'alienation of affections' connotes only that the parent is not able to enjoy the company of his/her child; this cause of action does not suggest that the offending party has removed parental or custodial authority from the complaining parent. ___ Va. at ___, 725 S.E.2d at 562 (internal quotation marks omitted). The court concluded that a cause of action for tortious interference with parental rights is consistent with existing common law, and set forth its elements as follows: (1) the complaining parent has a right to establish or maintain a parental or custodial relationship with his/her minor child; (2) a party outside of the relationship between the complaining parent and his/her child intentionally interfered with the complaining parent's parental or custodial relationship with his/her child by removing or detaining the child from returning to the complaining parent, without that parent's consent, or by otherwise preventing the complaining parent from exercising his/her parental or custodial rights.” (Gale Burns on Wed, 2012).
In understanding the Putative Father Registry, it is important to first give a definition of what is a Putative Father. The answer given by our text is the following:” A man who may be the father of the child but at the time of birth of the child was not married to the mother. Their paternity has not yet been established through the legal process”. (Wilson, 2016, p. 224).
In the state of Virginia, the definition of Putative Father is: “the alleged father of a child”. (Virginia, 2014). “The State code in Virginia is 22VAC40-201-190 and definition for Putative Father Registry is a confidential database of registered putative fathers. In Virginia the purpose of Putative Father Registry” is to protect the rights of a putative father by allowing him to be notified of termination of his parental rights and/or adoption proceedings regarding a child that he may have fathered.8.2 Legal Citations The Code of Virginia, Chapter 12, Article 7, §§ 63.2-1249 through 63.2-1253 provides guidance on the Virginia Putative Father Registry.” (Virginia, 2014). “Any Putative Father is required to register if he would like to receive notice of an adoption proceeding or termination of parental rights for a child he may have fathered. To register, complete the registration form and mail to the following address: Virginia Department of Social Services 801 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23219.” (Virginia, 2014).
In closing, this assignment has really helped me understand a snippet of what is involved in adoption. I have learned that as our story example that was given at the start of this assignment there are so many pieces and aspects of adoption and it can be very complicated. It also involves a variety of professionals as well as parents. As for the biological parents this is a very hard decision and position, they are put in and requires them to get as much information as possible in the process of adoption.
- John T. Frey, Circuit Court in Fairfax County. (2020). Probate Forms. 4110 Chain Bridge Road Fairfax, VA 22030.
- American Adoptions. (2020). 5 Benefits of Open Adoption. ©2020 American Adoptions All Rights Reserved. National Office, 7500 W 110th St. Suite 500 Overland Park, KS 66210.
- Commonwealth of Virginia. (© Copyright, 2020). Code of Virginia, § 63.2-1229. Foster parent adoption. All rights reserved. Site developed by the Division of Legislative Automated Systems (DLAS).
- Considering Adoption. (2020). What Is Foster Care Adoption. American Adoptions. America’s Adoption Agency. https://consideringadoption.com/privacy-policy,
- Gail Burns. (July 2012). TORTS: Tortious Interference with Parental Rights. © 2016 National Legal Research Group, Inc.
- Virginia Putative Father Registry. (2014). About the P putative Father Registry.
- LIS Virginia Law. (2020). Code of Virginia§ 63.2-1221. Placement of children for adoption by agency or local board. © Copyright Commonwealth of Virginia, 2020. All rights reserved. Site developed by the Division of Legislative Automated Systems (DLAS).