Adoption in NC
Adoption is the legal placement of a child with a nonbiological family. After the adoption process is complete, the adoptive parents have full, permanent custodial and legal rights over the child.
Any one is eligible to adopt in NC. Married couples must adopt together. Same sex couples may not adopt together; only one partner will be able to legally adopt the child.
People considering adopting may contact a private or public adoption service. Children’s Home Society is the leader in adoption services in NC. If parents have a child already in mind that they want to adopt, this is called an independent adoption, and they should contact a family law attorney to go through the legal processes of adoption.
Prospective parents who are considering adoption must first consent to an assessment by a licensed child placement agency. This assessment will determine whether the prospective adoptive parents are fit to adopt. It must be completed or updated within 18 months before the adoption occurs.
Although the time to complete an adoption varies according to circumstances, most adoptions are completed after about 18 months.
Adopting a child can be costly. The total cost depends upon a number of factors including your preferences, the type of adoption you choose, the geographic location of the child, the financial circumstances of the birth mother, and the legal circumstances of the birth father.
Adoptive parents and biological parents mutually consent to how “open” the adoption will be.
There are risks involved in adoption for adoptive parents. Biological parents have seven days to revoke their consent to adoption. If this happens, the adoptive parents will lose the child and may lose any money they have paid during the adoption process.
Parents Considering Placing Their Child With an Adoptive Family
Parents considering adoption for their biological children may contact private or public adoption services. For example, Children’s Home Society will meet a pregnant mother considering adoption anywhere in NC. Services usually work with the birth parents to help them make an informed decision and explore their options along with providing counseling.
Once parents have decided to place their children in adoptive services, the biological parents can choose the level of openness for the adoption. Some biological parents choose to have a very open adoption. They can help choose the adoptive parents, have a meeting with the adoptive family, and receive progress reports and pictures until the child reaches 18 years old.
If the birth parents are married and living together, they both must consent to the adoption.
For birth parents under the age of 18, they are treated as adult for the purpose of giving their child up for adoption, and are allowed to do so without their parents’ consent.
Birth and legal fathers have the right under the law to be involved in an adoption plan. However, a biological unwed father must do certain things to protect his legal rights to his child. He must acknowledge his paternity and take the appropriate legal steps to establish his right to custody and visitation. Basically, a father must show his commitment to his child and to parenting before his parental rights will be protected.
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