Adopting a Child Through DePaul Community Resources


Does DePaul Community Resources facilitate private adoptions?

 The short answer to this is no. DePaul’s primary focus is helping facilitate successful adoptions for children and youth who have experienced marked trauma and significant time in the state foster care system. These are youth who, despite state efforts at reunification with birth family members, have been unable to return home safely and have a goal of adoption. The parental rights of their birth families have been terminated due to extreme circumstances.

I want to adopt a child from the foster care system. Can DePaul help me?

DePaul requires a commitment from families or individuals to become trained and experienced foster parents first before taking any adoptive placements. Potential adoptive parents need to understand that it may take a long time before an appropriate adoptive match can be identified and placed in their homes.

What are the characteristics of children available for adoption in Virginia?

Children available for adoptive placement are primarily 10 years of age or older, though the Virginia Department of Social Services funds pre-adoptive program support for children 6 and older. The youth who typically transition to adoption services through foster care may have some special needs or have siblings who need to be placed with them in an adoptive family.

What are “special needs”?

Special needs can consist of many different things. Examples include behaviors resulting from sadness or anger, such as aggression, attention problems, bed-wetting, defiance, depression, impulsiveness, low self-esteem, or a lack of trust in others. Children who have been neglected or abused may have difficulty in school, or lack social and self-care skills.

How much does it cost to adopt from foster care?

There is no cost for adoption services at DePaul Community Resources because all the children DePaul works with are in the custody of a local Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) office.

How can DePaul offer adoption services for no cost?

DePaul’s adoption program is funded by grants from the VDSS and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. These grants are focused on placing children who are in the custody of the VDSS into adoptive homes and providing support services to adoptive families.

Do I have to be rich or have a large home?

No, however you must have enough income to meet your family’s needs and your home needs to have dedicated bedroom space for a child.

Beyond financial stability, what characteristics are you looking for in a foster and adoptive home?

The kids available for adoption through the VDSS need individuals or families who will love them, provide structure, and offer consistency. Foster and adoptive parents must be able to create a supportive environment for children who have experienced trauma. Potential foster and adoptive parents must have the ability to commit themselves to the specific needs of the child placed in their home, including the child’s goal to return home or to be adopted. Foster and adoptive parents should have patience and perseverance; a good sense of humor; a love of children; flexibility in dealing with change, stress, and challenges; tolerance and understanding; a willingness to learn; and resourcefulness.

Is there anything in my past that might prevent me from becoming an adoptive parent?

A felony conviction would be a barrier to adoption through foster care; however, there are some exceptions. Additionally, having an illness that would shorten your life or prevent you from parenting your child may also be a barrier to adoption. You would need to discuss your specific situation with one of our foster care or adoption specialists.

I’m afraid I couldn’t afford special therapies for a child with special needs. Can I get help paying for that?

Most children adopted through the foster care system qualify for adoption assistance—a monthly financial payment that helps adoptive parents pay for special services a child may need. Youth adopted through the state system typically also qualify for Medicaid coverage that follows them even after they become part of an adoptive family. You can ask an adoption specialist for more information on this topic.

What do I need in order to adopt a child?

You’ll need to be open to fostering, even children who may not have a goal of adoption. We make every effort to match the needs of the child to the resources of your home. In some cases, the child in your home will become available for adoption. In that case, our adoption specialists will work with you on the adoption.

What is involved in a home study for potential foster and adoptive parents?

There are several steps involved in becoming a licensed foster home in Virginia. The home study process is an ongoing mutual assessment to ensure fostering is right for you and your family. Before a foster child can be placed in your home, DePaul must conduct a home study which entails individual and joint meetings with your partner (in two parent homes), ensuring your home is a safe and supportive environment, completion of background checks, and reviews of driving records and health status. The home study process on average can be completed within four to six months, depending on how quickly meetings and pre-service trainings are completed. Once a home study is approved, a DePaul foster care specialist will work with you to determine next steps for placement of a child(ren) or teen in your home.

There is no cost for training or the home study process. We just ask that you commit your time to important trainings and meetings.

Do I have to be married?

DePaul works with a diverse range of foster parents, including single, married, and unmarried cohabitating couples with two years of demonstrated relationship stability. In the state of Virginia, single individuals and married couples, including LGBTQ+ couples, may adopt in the state. Unmarried couples are excluded from adopting in Virginia.

How long does it take to adopt?

The time it takes to adopt through the foster care system varies considerably. The initial home study process usually takes four to six months, depending on how quickly meetings and trainings are completed. After you have an approved foster and adoption home study, your foster care specialist will work to match you with a child or children. Some of these children may be waiting for a permanent home through adoption, but some may still have the goal of returning home to their birth family. The length of time this takes depends on many factors. Some birth families make successful progress toward their reunification goals; therefore, a child may never have a goal of adoption. It is critical that potential foster and adoptive parents are always partnering closely with all involved professionals to focus on the current goal and best interest of the child.

If I’m a foster parent and want to adopt a foster child who is currently in my home, how long does it take to finalize the adoption?

It depends on how long your foster child has been in your home. If your child has been in your home for at least six months and there is an established goal of adoption, then the adoption will be finalized in a shorter length of time than if your child is newly placed in your home.

Are there any services available after I adopt a child?

Yes, there are services available at DePaul and in the community. Through DePaul’s adoption grants, children and families have access to adoption-competent support services that can be provided until children reach adulthood. Ask one of our adoption specialists for more information or click here to visit our post-adoption support services webpage.

How do I get started?

Click here to connect with the regional recruiter in your area to learn more about becoming a foster parent at DePaul.