In 2020, couples have many options if they want to expand their family. However, older North Carolina couples or those involved in foster care may consider adoption to add a child into their family.

Adoption basics

Each state has different laws when it comes to adoption. In North Carolina, the adoption laws are as follows:

  • Any adult over the age of 18 can adopt someone. Often, spouses will jointly adopt a child, but that’s not necessary if both spouses consent. Unmarried adults also can adopt a child.
  • Any person, even those above 18, is eligible for adoption. Any adoptee age 12 or older must consent to an adoption.
  • Both partners in same-sex couples should consider adopting their children if the children are not their biological children. Even though the state now recognizes same-sex marriage, same-sex partners who want additional protections for their nonbiological children can adopt them.
  • Stepparents adopting their spouse’s children from a previous relationship is becoming more and more common. It offers many benefits, often takes less time than a traditional adoption and generally doesn’t require as many screening requirements of traditional adoption.
  • You must live in North Carolina for 90 days to file for an adoption.
  • Anyone challenging an adoption has six months to do so.

Adopting from foster care

Some couples who serve as foster care parents may be interested in adopting foster care children who, for various reasons, can’t be reunited with their birthparents or other family members. Generally, adoption costs are lower for foster children. In addition, couples may adopt children more quickly if they are willing to adopt a child who

  • Has special needs
  • Is a teenager
  • Has siblings who also need adoption
  • Is a minority, especially African American males

Welcoming a child to your family through adoption is a special process. Aside from working with an adoption agency or the foster care system, you should consult a family law attorney about what you’ll need to do to make the adoption process go smoothly.