Adoptive Families’ Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can the birth parents change their mind and take the child back?
The Society does everything possible to insure legally secure adoptions. We follow West Virginia adoption laws carefully and consult closely with our agency attorney. According to state law, once a birth parent completes a legal relinquishment of his or her parental rights, they cannot simply “change their mind.” Believing it to be in the best interest of the birth parents and child, the Society and West Virginia law require that an infant must be at least 72 hours old prior to the birth parents signing relinquishments. Once the birth parents sign relinquishments, their parental rights are terminated. Relinquishments are signed and notarizes before a notary public. When birth parents are under the age of eighteen (18) years of age relinquishments are signed before a Circuit Judge. The Society becomes the legal guardian after the birth parents relinquish their rights to the Society and until the adoption is legally finalized.
Our social workers carefully counsel birth parents on their rights and if they are not prepared to place the child for adoption, the relinquishment and placement will not occur. In cases in which the birth father is unknown, you will be fully informed of the circumstances so you can make an informed decision about whether to accept a specific child for placement. In cases of children in the custody of the State of West Virginia, parental rights are typically terminated in a court of law prior to adoptive placement. You will be provided with these details specific to the child prior to adoptive placement.
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2. Does the birth father have any rights to his child?
Yes. A birth father, even when not married, has as many rights as a birth mother. His involvement in making an adoption plan for a child is legally required.
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3. Who can adopt through your agency?
You may be single or married. You will be at least 21 years of age before beginning the home study. You will have a criminal background check free of arrests or convictions for any felony or crimes against persons. You will have a WVDHHR background free of substantiated adult or child abuse or neglect. You are a resident of West Virginia. You will participate in training and have an approved home study as an adoptive family.
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