How to Adopt in the Virgin Islands
From Saint Thomas to Saint Croix, Charlotte Amalie to Saint John and everywhere in between, hundreds of families have been completed through adoption in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Whether you are looking to adopt a child or considering adoption for your baby, this guide outlines the rules and qualifications for adopting a child in the Virgin Islands, as well as other helpful state adoption information.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in U.S. Virgin IslandsThe Virgin Islands have established laws regarding who can adopt and how they can adopt. If you are interested in adopting a child from the Virgin Islands, the following information will help you better understand the adoption process, laws and qualifications in your state.
What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in the U.S. Virgin Islands?Any inhabitant of the Virgin Islands may adopt; married couples must adopt jointly.
What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in the Virgin Islands?These issues are not addressed in Virgin Islands statutes.
What are the laws to become a foster parent in the U.S. Virgin Islands?To become foster parents in the Virgin Islands, a family must:
- Have sufficient resources to care for a child
- Submit identifying documents, including a birth certificate, Social Security card, immigration documents, and more
- Complete a doctor’s physical exam
- Submit reference letters and a police record check
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in the Virgin IslandsAs a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, you likely have many questions about the rules and regulations of placing a baby for adoption in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The following information will help answer some of your questions about adoption laws.
When can birth parents consent to the adoption?The time of consent is not addressed in Virgin Island statutes. Consent must be given in writing.
Who must consent to the adoption?In the U.S. Virgin Islands, consent to adoption is required from:
- The living parents of the child
- The guardian of the child if neither parent is living
- If there is no guardian, the next of kin in the Virgin Islands
- If there is no next of kin, a guardian ad litem appointed by the court
- The child, if he or she is age 14 or older
When is consent not needed?Parental consent is not required if:
- The parent is insane or imprisoned for a sentence of at least two years
- The parent has willfully deserted and neglected to care for the child for at least one year prior to filing the adoption petition
- The parent is unfit to have the care and custody of the child
When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable?Revocation is not addressed in Virgin Island statutes; an adoption professional can provide additional information about consent and revocation laws.
What rights does the father of the baby have in Virgin Island adoptions?An unmarried putative father may establish his paternity through a voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, a DNA test or court proceedings.
Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in U.S. Virgin IslandsPrior to fostering or adopting a child in the Virgin Islands, you must complete a home study. The home study is an evaluation process that assesses your ability to provide a stable, nurturing home to a child. Below, find information about what to expect during the Virgin Islands home study process.
Who is included in the home study process?In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the adoption petitioner must be studied before he or she will be approved to adopt.
Who will conduct the home study?The Commissioner of Public Welfare will complete the adoption home study.
On what grounds will the home study not be approved in the U.S. Virgin Islands?This issue is not addressed in Virgin Island statutes. Contact your local Department of Human Services to learn more. In the Virgin Islands, you are required to obtain a home study prior to an adoption or foster placement. Contact the Children, Youth and Families Unit to get started.
Virgin Islands Adoption Agencies and Adoption ProfessionalsWhen you are ready to begin the adoption process, your adoption professional can work with you to answer your questions and arrange necessary adoption services. These adoption professionals are experienced in completing adoptions in the U.S. Virgin Islands and can help guide you through your adoption journey:
- Lydia Logie Moolenaar, Attorney & Counselor at Law
- The Law Offices of Darren John-Baptiste, Esq.
- Department of Human Services
Things to do in the Virgin IslandsWhether you visit the U.S. Virgin Islands to meet prospective birth parents or wait for ICPC approval, there is plenty to keep you busy. Here are a few fun things you can enjoy during your stay:
- Maho Beach (Cruz Bay)
- Trunk Bay (Virgin Islands National Park)
- Magens Bay (Magens Bay)
- Honeymoon Beach (Caneel Bay)
- Buck Island Reef National Monument (St. Croix)
- Lindquist Beach (St. Thomas)