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Adoption

Adoption is a legal process that legally severs the relationship between a parent and child, and creates a new parent-child relationship between the child and the adoptive parents. After a decree of adoption is entered, a new birth certificate is issued, reflecting the names of the adoptive parents and the child.

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There are several routes to child adoption in North Carolina. Adoptions may be initiated by the State when children are placed in foster care or other care of the State.  Various licensed adoption agencies also place children for adoption. Adoption may also be arranged by individual adults (i.e., private adoptions) when the parties all agree, so long as the adoptive parents meet certain standards required by the State. There are also step-parent adoptions. The NC Department of Social Services is responsible for oversight of the adoption process as it relates to determining the fitness of adoptive parent(s). The Department will meet the adoptive parent(s), file a report with the court, and perform a home study, paid by the prospective adoptive parents. See “resources” below.

Private adoptions are those not initiated by an agency of the State through the Department of Social Services. Instead, in a private adoption, the adoptive parent(s) file a petition for an adoption. Private adoptions are often arranged by a biological parent and an adoptive parent.  When the parties agree that a child should be adopted, they may do so in an “uncontested” manner, signing various legal documents that allow the adoption process to begin and move forward (subject to various conditions about the fitness of the adopting parents). When the parties dispute whether or not an adoption should take place, it becomes “contested” and a specific type of lawsuit must be filed before the adoption process may move forward.  In NC, an adult may adopt another adult, so long as those adults are not married to each other.

My firm represents both natural parents (biological parents), as well as potential adoptive parents seeking to adopt. We are prepared to advise clients on the various options available to families, including whether it is determining paternity of a child before or after birth, adoption, custody, visitation or, in some cases, guardianship.

Adoption Resources:

♦  All About Adoption in North Carolina 

♦  Three’s a Crowd: The Invisible Adoption Rights of Some Fathers in North Carolina

♦  Foster child adoption program.

♦ NC adoption records are sealed (i.e., not public record). However, various types of information is available to interested parties (the child, biological parents, adoptive parents, etc.) under certain circumstances. To find out more, see NC Gen. Stat. 48 (article 9).

♦ What will the Department of Social Services discuss with adoptive parents?

Marital status

Criminal history

General personal history (such as education and employment)

CPS (Child Protective Services) history

Family situation (other children, housing, extended family)

Health (ability to care for a child)

Income (ability to care for a child)

Potential adoptive parents must provide finger prints to the Department.

In the military?  Get a DD form 2675 (Reimbursement Request for Adoption Expenses)

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