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Adopting your Grandchildren

In 2010, more than 7 million children were living with a grandparent, which represents 10 percent of all children in the United States. For a variety of reasons, grandparents might choose to adopt or care for their grandchildren. If you are a grandparent considering adoption, you might have questions about your options.

Why adopt my grandchildren?

When parents are otherwise unable to do so, raising your grandchildren can provide a home-like experience for them and avoid placement in a foster home. Adopting your grandchildren can end family crises (such as physical, mental, or sexual abuse) and reduce neglect of children. Raising your grandchildren can help them shape their own personal and cultural identity.


What are the rewards of raising my grandchildren?

Many grandparents who adopt their grandchildren cite preservation of family history, traditions, culture, and values as a main reward. Adopting your grandchildren can help resolve conflicts between parents and their children and maintain contact throughout the family. Similar to raising their own children, grandparents experience satisfaction and accomplishment when their grandchildren succeed in school, sports, and work.


What’s the difference between adoption and custody?

Adoption is permanent and results in the loss of legal ties to biological relatives and parents. Biological parents have the right to choose the adoptive parents, according to the juvenile and domestic relations district court. Custody, on the other hand, is not permanent. The legal ties to biological parents and relatives persist.


What challenges will I face?

Some challenges that grandparents face when adopting their grandchildren are health issues, social isolation, and financial issues. Some grandparents will experience health problems due to the demands of care giving, including depression, insomnia, and hypertension. Social isolation can also occur because grandparents-turned-parents find they have little time for themselves and have less time for community events. Finally, increased food, clothing, and medical expenses lead to financial pressure.

If you are a grandparent seeking to adopt your grandchildren, get in touch with an experienced Virginia family law attorney. Your attorney can help you understand your unique situation, the laws, and what options you have – in order to provide the best life and future for your grandchild.

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