Foster to Adopt: A Fulfilling Path to Adoption in Virginia

Foster parents walking in street with a young foster child

Thousands of prospective parents are waiting to adopt. If you are one of them, have you considered foster to adopt in Virginia?

Fostering before adoption can prepare your family for the challenges of bringing a new child into the home. Learn more about the process and if it's right for you in this post.

Introduction to Foster to Adopt in Virginia

About a third of the children in foster care are currently awaiting adoption in Virginia. You can become the parent of one of these children by going through the foster care to adoption program.

Overview of the Foster-to-Adopt Process

The foster-to-adopt process begins with determining your eligibility. If you are eligible to foster, you'll apply and undergo the home study process.

After successfully completing these steps, you'll obtain your license and bring your foster child home. The child must live with you for at least six months before you can start the adoption process.

Benefits of Foster to Adopt

One of the greatest benefits of fostering before adoption is that your family can find the right fit. Determining compatibility before adopting can save a lot of heartache on your family's and the child's behalf.

Additional advantages of becoming a foster parent prior to adopting a child include:

  • New foster parents who don't have kids can gain valuable parenting experience
  • Foster parents with kids can gain valuable experience in parenting a child who has experienced trauma
  • Foster parents can start bonding with the child or teen immediately
  • The adoption process is shorter for parents who are already licensed to foster
  • Agencies will value the parenting skills and resources you gain through fostering

Before taking advantage of these benefits, you must be eligible to foster or adopt in Virginia.

Eligibility and Requirements for Foster to Adopt

In 2022, 162 foster children and youths were forced to live in hotels, ERs, or social services offices because there was nowhere else for them to go.

Virginia is in great need of foster homes. But you must be eligible before you can meet that demand.

Criteria for Foster Parents

You must be 18 or older and a Virginia resident to become a foster parent. Foster parents can be single, married, or divorced.

The most important criteria for foster parents is having the finances, time, energy, desire, and ability to care for a child or teen in the foster program.

Legal and Procedural Requirements

Whether they wish to adopt or not, prospective foster parents must also meet the following criteria:

  • Be able to pass criminal record, child abuse and neglect history, and DMV checks
  • Be able to provide at least three references
  • Be able to pass a physical and mental medical exam
  • Not be convicted of a barrier crime

If parents meet these criteria, they must attend orientation, complete pre-service training, and go through the home study.

The Process of Foster to Adopt in Virginia

In Virginia, more than 75% of foster parents adopt the child or teen under their care. Here's how to become one of them.

Steps from Fostering to Adoption

Foster parents must live with the child or teen for at least six months before they can begin the adoption process. During the first 90 days, a case worker will visit your home three or more times to ensure the child is adjusting.

When six months have passed, parents can begin the legal process of adopting their foster child(ren).

The Role of Agencies and the Legal System

Adoption is a legal process. Parents must file a petition for adoption with a family court. The court will request a report from the agency, detailing the foster family's readiness for adoption.

A judge will issue the final adoption order. Having an experienced adoption attorney on your side can help these proceedings go smoothly.

Financial and Emotional Considerations

30% to 50% of foster parents decide to stop taking in children and teens. Considering the potential financial and emotional strain can help you avoid contributing to this turnover rate.

Costs Involved in Foster to Adopt

The foster-to-adopt cost is very low.

Becoming a foster parent in Virginia is free. In fact, foster parents get paid to care for children and teens.

There is also no cost to adopt a child through the foster system. Parents must pay a $20 adoption petition filing fee plus an additional $50 for closed adoptions.

If you choose to hire an adoption attorney, you will also have to pay for their services.

Emotional Support and Resources

Going through the foster-to-adopt program can be emotionally taxing. Local and virtual peer support groups allow fellow foster parents to lean on and learn from each other to become better caregivers.

You can also find resources and support through your local social services department or visit and to find additional advice for being the best foster parent you can.

Success Stories and Advice from Virginia Families

Going through the foster-to-adopt program is challenging, but it's also incredibly rewarding. When you're feeling down about the process, get inspired by the many successful stories of foster families like yours.

Real Life Experiences

Our Voices of Foster Youth videos offer real-life stories from parents who have gone through the foster-to-adopt program.

You'll hear from parents like Josh and Diana, who started fostering four years ago and have since adopted four children. You can also learn about foster-to-adopt from the perspective of foster youths themselves.

Tips and Advice for Prospective Parents

If you're nervous about fostering, you aren't alone. Here are some of our best tips to make the foster-to-adopt process go more smoothly:

  • Develop a strong support network of friends, families, and fellow foster-to-adopt parents
  • Educate yourself about the foster system and trauma's effects on children
  • Make time to take care of yourself

Remember: agencies are not looking for perfection. They are looking for caring people with the skills and desire to care for traumatized children.

Learn More About Foster/Adoption in Virginia

Foster to adopt in Virginia streamlines the process for prospective adoptive parents. It is also the most affordable and flexible way to find the child or teen who fits in best with your family.

Do you want more advice on how to adopt from foster care in Virginia? FosterVA is here for you, whether you're ready to begin the fostering process or want to learn more. Start working with us today!

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