The adoption process in North Carolina

Adoption is one of the many paths to creating a family and for those who are interested in pursuing adoption in North Carolina, there is information available about the process that may be helpful.

Adoption is a permanent, legal relationship between an adoptive parent and child. It gives the adoptive parent the same rights and obligations as a biological parent.

However, an adoption cannot take place until the biological parents’ rights are terminated.

The biological parents’ rights can be terminated voluntarily or by court order.

After this occurs, a married couple or an individual may file a petition to adopt a child. The petition must be filed in the county where the petitioner or the adoptee lives. If the child is 12 years of age or older, he or she must consent to the adoption.

In some situations, a copy of a home study must be filed with the court before the adoption can take place. A home study is a report determining whether the petitioners are suitable adoptive parents. It is often completed by a social services or licensed child-placing agency.

Types of adoption

In North Carolina, there are several types of adoptions. In an agency adoption, a county social services department or a licensed child-placing agency places the child with the petitioner and consents to the adoption.

In an independent adoption, the child’s biological parent directly places the child for adoption with the petitioner.

In family adoptions, a child can either be adopted by a step-parent or another relative like a grandparent, aunt, uncle or adult sibling.

An attorney can help individuals or couples who are interested in pursuing adoption and answer their questions.