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Raising a child who is or was in foster care is different from "regular" parenting. It can be more challenging; kids in care have experienced many hardships. It can be more complex, but foster and adoptive parents are supported as a part of a team; they receive special training, help to meet children's individual needs, access to medical care for the child and reimbursement for certain expenses.
Good foster and adoptive parents know that, above all, this is about selecting families for children who need them, not just about putting children into families who want them. It takes a village to raise a child—our village, more than ever, needs families to help do this.
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Adopting a child always requires a waiting period of some duration. When home studies are presented, the custodial agency for the child must assess the strengths of all the interested families and decide which family can best meet the needs of a specific child.
The time frame is not predictable and it can be frustrating for families who are ready and prepared to adopt. A prospective parent who has abilities/strengths to meet the needs of a waiting child with special needs may wait nine months or more.
There is no charge when you adopt a special needs child in the custody of a local department of social services.
Most are special needs children. This means they are: six years old and older, have brothers or sisters they need to be placed with, have a black, biracial or other minority heritage, or have physical, mental or emotional needs.
Adoption assistance, also called subsidized adoption, is a means of providing a money payment and/or services to adoptive parent(s) on behalf of a child with special needs. Eligibility for subsidy is based on the needs of the child.
Most children who have special needs are eligible for adoption assistance. When you select a child you are interested in, ask the social worker about the child's eligibility for this assistance to meet his/her special needs.
A permanent legal process involving the court that allows a child not yours by birth to legally become your child.
Yes, if you are interested in becoming an approved adoptive family, contact the Child Welfare unit at (434) 799-6540 and speak with an adoption social worker. You do not have to be rich, married, under 40, highly educated, or own your own home to adopt.
If you have patience, perseverance, a good sense of humor, a talent for keeping life's stresses and challenges in perspective, and the ability to love unconditionally, then you are a great candidate to be an adoptive parent.
Read more information about VA DSS: Steps to Adoption.