Q: How long does the process of adopting a child typically take?

A:  Parents hoping to adopt need to be prepared for a long and bumpy ride. Again, the length of time varies based on the type of adoption. Adopting a newborn from the United States can sometimes be extremely quick and/or could take years. The length of time to adopt internationally also varies based on the country and the referral process. Adopting a child internationally who has special medical needs can happen within 2 to 3 years. Adopting a child from foster care may not take quite as long, but it can be more complicated.

Q: There are so many adoption agencies out there, how do I know which I should use?

A: Selecting an adoption agency requires patience and perseverance. It's important that prospective parents do their homework. Parents should look for an experienced agency and make sure the agency's values align with their own. Agencies should be willing to share references. Talk to friends and colleagues about their experiences, as well.  Children's Services of Virginia, Inc has been serving Virginia families, including the communities of Harrisonburg, Fredericksburg, and Winchester since 1992 and has a fantastic reputation for foster care and adoption.

Q: Where can I learn more about the laws governing adoption?

A: Information about adoption laws can be found on the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which is a service of the Children's Bureau in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Q: What sort of preparation do I need as a prospective adopting parent?

A: As you consider the type of adoption you are going to pursue, you will need to get ready to be an adoptive parent. There is no "one size fits all" preparation that provides exactly what you need. Many agencies offer pre-adoptive training for prospective parents. For children who are adopted from foster care, there may be mandatory certification or training. Talk to families who've already adopted and gone through the process. Familiarize yourself with all the legal, financial, medical, developmental, and behavioral issues related to adoption.

Q: How will I talk about adoption with my friends and family?

A: If nobody in your family or circle of friends has adopted a child, it can be difficult to broach the subject. There are a lot of misconceptions about the adoption process and adopted children in general, and talking about it will invite people to voice what they know. HealthyChildren.org's article, Respectful Ways to Talk about Adoption: A List of Do's & Dont's, will help you learn the lingo, think about what you'd like to use, and educate your family and friends.

We at Children's Services of Virginia look forward to walking you through the process of adoption in Harrisonburg, Winchester and Fredericksburg.  Contact us today to learn more.