West Virginia Adoption Lawyers
Adopting a child can be an immensely gratifying experience. Providing a welcoming and loving home to a child in need brings joy to the entire family.
While adoption can be undoubtedly a rewarding experience, the legal process associated with it can be difficult to navigate for parents. At Pence Law Firm PLLC, we are committed to providing personalized legal services to parents who are looking to adopt a child.
Over the years, we have helped countless parents get through the process of adoption. If you are looking to adopt a child, we can provide you with the legal advice you need, be with you at every step of the adoption process, and help you bring a child into your home.
Call us today to talk to one of our experienced West Virginia adoption lawyers.
Types of Adoptions We Handle in West Virginia
Our West Virginia adoption attorneys provide strong legal representation to adoptive parents for all types of adoptions, including:
- Third-Party Adoptions
- Stepparent Adoptions
- Domestic Adoptions
- Foreign Adoptions
- In-family Adoptions
- Open Adoptions
- Closed Adoptions
- Adult Adoptions
How Does Adoption Work in West Virginia?
Under West Virginia law, there are many pathways available for you to adopt a child. These include:
Adopting an Infant
It involves adopting an infant through a licensed private adoption agency, a lawyer, or any other intermediary.
Adopting a Child in Foster Care
It involves adopting a foster child who is under the care of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
Foster to Adopt
It is slightly different from traditional adoption. Under the foster-to-adopt method, the court will place a foster child (who is under the care of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources) in your home. Once the child becomes eligible for adoption, you can choose to adopt them legally.
Apart from this, there are also options available for you to adopt a child from one of your family members. These include step-child adoption and grandchild adoption.
Adopting through State vs. Private Agency
It’s noteworthy that the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services mostly has special needs children under their care. These children typically tend to be older, belong to ethnic or racial minority groups, or have physical or mental problems.
Eligibility Criteria to Become an Adoptive Parent in West Virginia
- You must be a US citizen.
- You must be at least 21 years of age and must be at least 15 years older than the child you want to adopt.
- You must be in good health (physically as well as mentally) and must have the emotional maturity and capacity to care for a child.
- You must have a stable source of income and must be capable of caring for the child you want to adopt.
- You must not have any felony convictions on your record.
- If you and your spouse are both earning members of your family, you must be able to provide the necessary childcare arrangements.
- All members of your household (except children under the age of 12) must express their consent for the adoption.
- You must prove that you can provide a stable and nurturing home for the child.
- You must complete a home study.
Steps Involved in the West Virginia Adoption Process
To begin with, you should fill out the adoptive/foster parent inquiry form (which you can find here) and register as an adoptive or foster parent. The second step involves attending an adoption orientation session, which is meant to educate you on your rights and responsibilities as an adoptive or foster parent.
The third step involves a home study, which will be conducted by a social worker. The social worker will inspect your home, interview you and your family members, evaluate your family’s financial resources, check out a minimum of five references, and review your medical reports, criminal background check reports, and protective services reports. Based on the information, the social worker will decide whether your home is safe and comfortable for the child.
If your home is deemed to be fit for the child in question, you will receive a notification of approval, following which the child will be placed in your home. The law requires the child to be placed in your home for a minimum of six months consecutively before the adoption process can be finalized.
How Our West Virginia Adoption Attorneys Can Help You
- We can answer all your questions and address your concerns about the adoption process. We can tell you about the different pathways to adoptions in West Virginia, the advantages and disadvantages of each pathway, and help you make an informed decision.
- We can inform you about your rights as an adoptive or foster parent.
- We can take care of all the paperwork involved in the process.
- If the birth parents have any requirements or demands, we can negotiate the terms with them on your behalf.
- Depending on the circumstances, legal disputes might arise during or following the adoption process. If and when it happens, we can protect your rights as an adoptive parent and be prepared for any legal action that might occur.
Looking to Adopt a Child? Get Legal Counsel from Our Trusted West Virginia Adoption Lawyers
At Pence Law Firm PLLC, we have great respect for parents who want to make a difference in a child’s life by adopting it. Our lawyers have a thorough understanding of West Virginia adoption laws and have extensive experience in helping parents with different types of adoptions.
Whether you want to adopt a child through a private adoption agency, foster care, or from one of your family members, we can provide you with the legal advice you need, take care of all the paperwork involved, and put you on the path to successful adoption.
To learn more about how we can help you, call us today at 304-345-7250 or use our convenient online contact form to schedule a consultation.