If you are ready to take the steps required to adopt a child in West Virginia, then it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the process. Adoption does not happen overnight.
The state is about to entrust you with the well-being of a child, so it wants to be sure you are ready and able to offer proper care. This means you must go through some steps before you bring your new child home as part of your family.
Step 1: Choosing the method of adoption
In West Virginia, you have the option of pursuing a domestic or international adoption through a privately licensed adoption professional or through a foster program with West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR).
Private adoptions are allowed. Private adoptions may be arranged through an adoption agency, adoption attorney, adoption facilitators and adoption consultants, but an adoption advocate is not required. No money may change hands except in limited circumstances.
The cost of adoption and the length of time to complete an adoption will vary depending on the type of adoption and the individual circumstances.
Step 2: Qualifying for adoption
If you are adoption through the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, you must first meet age requirements and prove that you are financially, physically and mentally able to care for the child.
A family assessment called a home study must be completed. Your family needs to be stable, and you must have the ability to commit to bringing a new child into your life. Your home must also pass a safety inspection. You need to show you have a safe home in which the child can live. Private and international adoptions can arrange to have home studies completed through their respective agencies. Adoptions through foster care can have their home studies completed with their county WVDHHR.
In addition, your family must go through checks, including criminal background checks, to ensure you are in good health and can provide a safe environment for the child.
You will also need to complete training courses to educate yourself about the process of adopting and being an adoptive parent.
The process of qualifying through a private adoption is different. There are different rules. Individuals considering private adoption may want to talk with a family law attorney for greater details about the process.
Step 3: Getting matched
Depending on whether you are adopting an older child or adopting and an infant, you will either be able to view a list of waiting children or your profile will be made available for selection by a birth mother.
Step 4: Child placement
Bringing home your child is an exciting time, but there are more steps that need to be taken. There are special rules and requirements for families who adopt from out of state.
Once your child has come home with you, you can officially petition to adopt the child. The adoption is not yet finalized during this time. During the post-placement time, a post adoption assessment will need to be conducted and a post adoption supervisory report must be prepared. This assessment includes at least six visits. The first one must be completed within the first week of the child being placed.
Step 5: Finalizing the adoption
Once the post adoption supervisory report has been completed and the petition has been approved, a hearing is set up to finalize the adoption process.