North Carolina Adoption Process – All You Need To Know

North Carolina Adoption Process – All You Need To Know

What is Adoption 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

Oftentimes, when people picture adoption, they think of a couple adopting a child domestically or internationally through an adoption agency. This is a common form of adoption, but it is not the only type. The practice of adoption has evolved to include stepparent adoptions, relative adoptions, adult adoptions and independent adoptions. It is important to the legal process of an adoption, no matter the type, as they are one of the most complicated.

In North Carolina, there are several types of adoptions.

  • Agency adoption: 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.
  • Independent adoption: In an independent adoption, the child’s biological parent directly places the child for adoption with the petitioner.
  • Family Adoption: In family adoptions, a child can either be adopted by a step-parent or another relative like a grandparent, aunt, uncle or adult sibling.
  • Foreign Adoption: There are also foreign adoptions where an adoptive parent adopts a child from another country, stepparent adoption and adult adoption where one adult petitions to adopt another adult.

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

Filing Process in North Carolina

An adoption case begins when the adoptive parent files a petition in the county where he or she lives or where the child lives. If it is an agency adoption, the petition can be filed in the county where the agency has an office.

In some adoptions, the adoptive parents must demonstrate to the court they have completed a preplacement assessment, also called a home study. The home study evaluates the suitability of the adoptive parents.

The court will review the petition and enter a final adoption decree. An experienced Monroe, NC family law attorney can help adoptive parents navigate the process and answer their questions.

Not all adoptions look alike

At Lehnhardt Price Family Law, our attorneys understand that the adoption process can look differently from client to client. This is not only dependent on the type of adoption but also the age, relation and location of the child. We also note that adoptions are a very exciting time, despite the stress of the process that can be lengthy. Whether you are adding a member to your family or seeking to gain legal rights to a child you already have a relationship with, our law firm will be there every step of the way.

When the biological parent is involved

We understand that not all adoptions involve biological parents that are willing to put their child up for adoption. Some cases involve one or both parents that are contesting the adoption of their child. In these matters, we are well equipped to collect the evidence necessary to build a successful case. Our goal is to help you illustrate that your adoption is in the best interests of the child.

The adoption process can be long, emotional, taxing and challenging; however, it can also be very rewarding. Our North Carolina family law firm understands how to move the process forward and demonstrate that an adoption is in the best interest of the child. Additionally, we take the time to collect the evidence necessary to illustrate that you are equipped to care for and raise the child. Contact today to schedule a consultation.

North Carolina Adoption Resources: