Adoption, like all parenting, comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. People arrive at the decision to adopt by many different roads, such as infertility or simply wanting to provide love to a child who needs it.
The road to finalizing an adoption can be curvy, with more than a few obstacles. The process may be costly, time-consuming, and feel intrusive. Without a clear roadmap, many prospective parents feel like they’re forced to jump through hoops to be paired with a child or to legalize the situation they’re already in, such as if they care for a young family member. However, it isn’t always this way and in most cases, there’s no need for complexities or a drawn-out process.
By building the right adoption team, which may include a licensed adoption agency, your county’s Department of Social Services, and a North Carolina adoption lawyer, you’re more likely to start off on the right foot and stay on the best track. There are dozens of licensed adoption agencies in North Carolina, but the true first step to getting through the process as smoothly as possible is working with an experienced family lawyer in your area.
Jonathan Breeden is a North Carolina adoption attorney with more than 15 years of experience representing parents in Johnston, Wake, and Harnett Counties, including Angier, Garner, Raleigh, and Smithfield. Adoption can be equally scary as it is exciting, and Jonathan does his best to put your fears to rest while you build your family.
Call Breeden Law Office today at (919) 661-4970 to find out how we can help you.
Your adoption process will vary depending on whether you go through an agency or want an independent adoption, whether you’re related to the child, and where the child is from.
Adoptions may be “open” or “closed,” or some variation in between. Both biological and adoptive parents have options in determining exactly how much contact they want to have with one another.
Adoptions may take place through public or private agencies, or they may be independent of any agency. Determining whether to use an agency may depend on your finances and the adoption process you hope to use.
Related reading: Preplacement Assessment Process
There are various costs associated with adoption. These costs vary between states. Depending on the type of adoption, these costs will also vary. An experienced family law attorney can help finalize any required court filings or immigration applications.
For more information, this Bankrate.com article has outlined the costs associated with the four primary methods of adoption.
There are also avenues for adoption financial aid.
In North Carolina, any person over the age of 18 can file a petition to adopt a minor child or an adult. You do not have to be married to seek an adoption; single people may file a petition as well. If a single person is in a long-term relationship, their partners may not be included as a petitioner. Married persons must both be included as petitioners. Spouses are not allowed to adopt each other.
Prior to adopting a child, you should familiarize yourself with the North Carolina adoption process so that you know what to expect and can properly prepare yourself for what’s to come. Here is a brief overview of the main steps in the process:
The adoption process in North Carolina begins with collecting the materials that are required to adopt a child. After you take a pre-placement assessment, you will need to obtain a Consent to Adoption from the child’s biological parents as well as an affidavit from the biological mother. The affidavit should contain the biological parents’ names, addresses, and marital statuses.
Next, you will need a Certified Copy of Background Information on the child from the child’s biological parents or an adoption agency. Once you have the Certified Copy of Background Information, you must make sure that all pleadings or court orders that are related to the child are resolved. Lastly, you will need to file a financial affidavit that shows you have paid all of the adoption costs and disclose any individual who was unable to give you consent.
After you have collected and prepared all of your materials, you can file a Petition for Adoption. When you do so, anyone whom you were unable to obtain consent from must be notified.
The last step in the North Carolina adoption process is the adoption hearing. Within 90 days of the day you file a Petition for Adoption, the court will set a hearing date. The actual hearing is required to occur within six months of when you filed. If there are no oppositions or concerns, a formal hearing may not be necessary for your adoption to be approved.
In the event that a formal hearing does take place, the court must determine whether you are suitable for adopting a child, the adoption is in the best interests of the child, and you have met all of the statutory procedural requirements for adoption in North Carolina.
It’s common for adoptive parents to experience anxiety throughout the adoption process. With a North Carolina adoption lawyer by your side to anticipate and prevent potential complications, you can count on a smoother, faster adoption process.
An adoption lawyer can serve as an invaluable resource because he or she understands the complex laws associated with adoption and how they apply to your specific case. He or she can develop a plan that is legally secure and right for your particular needs. In the event that any issues arise during the adoption process, a North Carolina adoption lawyer can negotiate with the birth parent’s attorney.
Seeking legal support with the adoption process is a worthwhile investment if you’d like a thorough explanation of the adoption laws in North Carolina, assistance in preparing all required documentation, and representation at adoption hearings.
When you hire a North Carolina adoption attorney, you can expect him or her to collaborate with the child’s birth parents and their attorney to plan and execute the adoption. Here are just several of the many reasons hiring an experienced attorney to assist you through every step of the adoption process is a smart choice:
One of the most significant advantages of an adoption attorney-assisted or independent adoption is the flexibility it offers. While adoption agencies give preference to certain types of couples or individuals, independent adoptions give adoptive parents and birth parents the opportunity to create the type of adoption and relationship they desire. They do not have to take the opinions of a third party into consideration.
Adoptive parents and birth parents will get the chance to share partial or full identities so that they can become acquainted prior to the birth of the child. Since independent adoptions allow for adoptive parents and birth parents to form a relationship, birth mothers can develop confidence and trust in the adoptive parents.
If you opt for an adoption agency rather than an independent adoption, your child may be placed in a foster home immediately after he or she is born. With an independent adoption, you can expect to receive custody of the child right after he or she is discharged from the hospital.
Adopting a child independently can make it easier for you as an adoptive parent to play an active role in the entire adoption process. You will be able to review the birth parent’s pre-natal records and background information and select a birth mother on your own instead of depending on an agency to do it for you.
If you’re genuinely interested in adoption, it’s important to learn about North Carolina law, including:
Related reading: Adoption FAQ