My search for form VS-21

Posted: March 7, 2011 in readoption, Virginia

The VS-21 form is a document needed to complete our son’s readoption. It is the “Report of Adoption” required for our son’s Virginia birth certificate. It is submitted to the court, certified by the clerk then forwarded to the Department of Vital Records along with our application for our son’s new birth certificate. I thought it would be pretty easy to find this form. I was wrong.

  • First, I searched the Internet. Adoption agencies and Virginia law guides list the form as a document needed for readoption, but no links are provided to the document.
  • I checked with the court clerk’s office and she suggested social services or our adoption agency. Our social worker did not know anything about the document. And my search of the state’s social services website and calling them turned up nothing.
  • The clerk’s office in another Virginia county lists on its website the document is available in its office. I called them, hoping they would fax it to me – no such luck.
  • I called the Department of Vital Records only to be told a “processor” would send it to me after the court submits the final order of adoption and they determine the form is needed. I asked to speak to a “processor” and had to leave a message on someone’s voicemail. Still waiting for a return call. (Addendum: the “processor” called me back this afternoon and is mailing me the form.)

I finally decided to go to the courthouse and turn in our other paperwork. I asked again about the form and they said the Department of Vital Records should be able to send me one. I explained my earlier conversation with that department. The assistant in the clerk’s office asked me if I had talked to our county social services office. No, actually, that was one office I had not contacted. The office was just around the corner so instead of calling, I trekked into the office with all my kids in tow. We waited in the lobby while the office tried to track down the person who handles adoption paperwork – we also said a prayer that we would find the form. The woman finally returned to the front window with the form! She said they had to search for it and it was the last copy in their office. Thank you! Meanwhile, I received a more recent version of the form in my email through another friend who is a social worker.

To save other Virginia adoptive families much time and searching, here is the document: Download VS-21 Report of Adoption

  1. Nadine says:

    Congratulations on finally getting that important and elusive form! I really empathize (and join) with your paper chase. Also loved your Taroko Gorge pictures:)

  2. McLane says:

    Thank you for posting this. I just spent about an hour searching for this document and also could not find it online anywhere! Although it is referenced everywhere and required to get a Virginia Certificate of Foreign Birth! Thank you for chasing this down and sparing me the trouble!

  3. Sherry says:

    THANK YOU for posting the form!!!!!!! My city has been less than helpful in this readoption process.

  4. Clay says:

    Thanks for posting this. It is insane that it isn’t online anywhere else.

  5. Ruthie Gilmore says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. It has been impossible to find this form you are a lifesaver. Ruthie Gilmore

  6. Erin says:

    OMG!!! Thank you so much for posting this! I have been researching this all day and finally stumbled on your blog. Thank you again for your help! This is not only saving us time but a lot of money that we do not have right now! You rock!!! Congratulations on the finalization of your little Virginian! All the best to you and your family.

  7. Kelly says:

    Wow – thank you. This is such a confusing process and the agency isn’t too clear on the instructions. Did you go this alone or use an adoption lawyer?

  8. Cindy says:

    Hi Kelly – We completed our son’s re-adoption on our own – I priced a few attorneys in our area and figure we saved about $1000 in legal fees by doing it on our own. I learned from a friend who is also a social worker the reason our agency couldn’t be of more help in the process is the perception of providing legal advice. There is a yahoo forum for international adoptive families in Virginia – – where you can find more help from adoptive families on readoption. If you are not already a member of that forum, I would encourage you to join and review the files and search the archived messages for help with readoption. That was an invaluable resource during our readoption. Best wishes!


  9. Michelle says:

    thanks so much for both links. just starting this final leg of paperwork and your help is so appreciated!!

  10. Karen Emmerson says:

    Thank you so much for putting the elusive Report of Adoption form on your site. I am very grateful! My adopted daughter is 14 and starting high school!

  11. Peter says:

    Thanks for posting the VS-21 link. It is odd that the existence (and need to use) this form is so well-documented online, but that the form itself is so elusive. Now I am one step closer to completing my kids’ readoption–thanks!

  12. Olga says:

    WOW… thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!

  13. James says:

    Thank you for sharing this information, I have been unable to find it either, so this is a big help. I’m having trouble finding an order of reference sample. Have you come across any?


  14. Cindy says:

    Hi James,
    There is a yahoo forum for international adoptive families in Virginia – – where you can find more help from adoptive families on readoption. On that forum, you will find a files tab, where there are templates/samples of the documents that need to be filed in a readoption. If you are not already a member of that forum, I would encourage you to join and review the files and search the archived messages for help with readoption. That was an invaluable resource during our readoption. Best wishes!


  15. James Krause says:

    Thank you, I will join the group. Thank you for the invitation!

  16. Erin Mable says:

    YOU ARE AMAZING!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this! This form along with the other information has been invaluable! You have truly helped us along and have been the only “true” resource for us in VA!
    There is an attorney in WestVA who has lobbied their State Legislators to streamline the process of re-adoption. IT WORKED! Perhaps a few of us out there living in the “little town that time forgot” could do the same. I swear, anyone who thinks WVA is backwards must be living in 1860 b/c everything I have found both fertility and adoption related information is more current than VA. Who knew?
    Anyway, thank you again! This is great and we are sooo grateful! All the best and many blessings for you and your beautiful family!

  17. Denise says:

    Thank you for providing this form. I adopted my daughter 8 years ago as a single parent. I recently got my married and my husband would like to adopt her. I submitted all the paperwork to the courts and just received a letter today in the mail advising I needed to supply them with the VS-21 form. Rather then panic, I immediately googled the form and ran across your blog. Thank you once again.

  18. Debbie says:

    Thank you so much for posting this form. I am just beginning the process of readopting and feeling a little overwhelmed. My daughter just turned 17 since we adopted her at 16 so I really need to get moving. I joined the group you recommended also. I hope I can get it all done soon.

  19. Kathy says:

    Thank you so much for posting this form. I have spent days looking all over and even the court house would not provide it. You are a lifesaver.

  20. Shauna says:

    Thanks for posting this form. Have been searching for it to complete our re-adoption!!

  21. Pam says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! My Circuit Court Clerk’s Office told me this form was on line but it’s NOT. You are a lifesaver!

  22. Cindy says:

    Glad you can use the form! Good luck with your re-adoption!

  23. Steven says:

    My wife and I are in the process of adopting two children from Uganda. We hope to travel in the next month to pick them up so I am researching re-adoption once we get them home to Virginia. You mention in a blog post that you have a list of steps to re-adopt in Virginia. If you have time would you be willing to e-mail that to me. My e-mail is Thank you in advance for your help!

  24. Hilary says:

    Thank you so much. Having the ability to download it here saved me many steps.

  25. Charlotte L. says:

    Thank you so much for putting this up!!! I am doing a step parent adoption right now. My husband is adopting my daughter. It has been difficult finding everything. I am doing it through Henrico County. I am hoping everything went well with your case and here is praying everything goes well with ours.

  26. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Very thoughtful of you and caring.

  27. AMINA says:


  28. Cindy says:

    You’re welcome!

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