North Carolina Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adoption in North Carolina!

Kenneth Knudson October 28, 2016

Welcome, Tar Heels! This guide was written to provide you with a single place to find information about adoption within your own state. It will walk you through everything from laws that will impact your adoption to reviews of adoption service providers in North Carolina.

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in North Carolina, then sections dedicated to North Carolina domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 6), foster adoption (Slide 19),  international adoption (Slide 29), and stepparent adoption (Slide 33). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful North Carolina adoption resources (Slide 36)

Please Note
1. Please Note

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the information provided in this slideshow guide, you should not rely on it to make decisions. Instead, you should rely on licensed professionals in making decisions relative to adoption. The information in this guide is subject to change without notice. Adoption.com is not responsible for the consequences of relying on this information. In no event shall Adoption.com be liable for any direct, indirect, special, or incidental damage resulting from, arising out of, or in connection with the use of this information.

IMAGE: Dave Allen Photography

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

-The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is the oldest university in the US.

-In 1903 the Wright brothers made the first successful power flight near Kitty Hawk

-The Outer Banks is home to some of the best beaches in the country

-North Carolina is the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the US

-Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. was founded in Winston-Salem

SOURCE: 50states.com

IMAGE: Andre Nantel

Adoption in North Carolina at a Glance
3. Adoption in North Carolina at a Glance

Kids in foster care available for adoption in 2015: 11,000

Foster adoptions completed in 2015: 2,416

International adoptions completed in 2015: 228

SOURCE:wral.com
acf.hhs.gov
travel.state.gov

Can I Adopt in North Carolina
4. Can I Adopt in North Carolina

Age: 21

Marital Status: Single or married

Work: Stable income to provide for a family, enough room to house a child

Personality: Warm, trustworthy, willing to adapt to new situations

Experience: None required

Other Requirements: In order to be a foster parent, the state requires hopeful adoptive parents to complete special training

DISQUALIFYING CRIMES: Spousal or child abuse/neglect, crimes against children, and violent crimes including homicide, sexual assault, or rape

Developing a Support System
5. Developing a Support System

It’s essential to have a good network of family, friends, and neighbors to support you through your adoption process.

It’s also important to connect with other adoptive parents. You can begin making these connections in our forums. You may also want to consider joining a support group for adoptive parents.

Domestic Infant Adoption in North Carolina
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in North Carolina

Before you get started, click here to learn more about the overall process of adopting an infant in the United States. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back to get the details about adoption in North Carolina.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help
7. Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help

In North Carolina, you are able to work with local and private agencies or attorneys to complete an adoption.

You can browse and read reviews about adoption service providers in North Carolina.

For more information about picking an adoption agency, learn about the Top Fifteen Things to Look for In An Adoption Agency.

Some people pursuing a private adoption find it beneficial to work with a professional adoption facilitator, an individual that matches birth parents with adoptive parents in exchange for a fee.

North Carolina law allows adoption facilitators as long as the facilitators are not compensated for their efforts. Advertising is permitted for hopeful adoptive parents with approved home studies.

SOURCE: § 48-10-101

Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study
9. Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study

Regardless of whether you choose to adopt through an agency or adoption attorney, hopeful adoptive parents need to complete a home study to qualify for adoption. This is different than a single home visit. The process includes completing paperwork, writing essays, obtaining letters of recommendation, completing a physical, and undergoing a criminal history background check.

In a home study, a caseworker may visit multiple times in order to write a report culminating in approval for adoption.

Your home study social worker will help educate you about adoption and ensure that you (and your adoptive partner, if applicable) meet the requirements outlined on Slide Four.

Click here to learn more about the Home Study process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word
10. Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word

One of the most important things you can do while waiting for an adoption match is to let everyone know about your hope to adopt. Many adoption connections are made through word-of-mouth referrals.

Another great way to spread the word is social media. Creating a profile on Adoption.com Parent Profiles allows you to easily share your story with those considering placing their child for adoption. Features like videos and photos, posts, Pinterest-like favorites, and recommendations and endorsements make it easy to create a profile as unique as you are, increasing the likelihood that you will stand out and connect with that right person. Rich communication options like video chat and instant messaging make connecting easy. A mobile-responsive design means that you will never be out of reach.

What’s more, Adoption.com receives over 650,000 monthly visits, which means your profile will receive unparalleled exposure. You can even view and monitor your progress through a detailed statistics page.

Ready to get started? Visit Parent Profiles.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment
11. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

Without relinquishment of parental rights or consent, no adoption in North Carolina is final. Consent for a direct placement adoption in North Carolina may be required by the following parties:

-Mother of a minor
-Any man who may or may not be the biological father of the minor but who:

-Is or was married to mother
-Attempted marriage before birth of the minor
-Has legitimated minor under law of any state
-Has acknowledged paternity of minor
-Has received minor into home and treated minor as own child
-Is the adoptive father

-A guardian
-The child age 12 or older unless court decides child’s consent is not needed

In an agency placement, consent must be given by the agency and any party involved who has not relinquished parental rights.

A man whose consent is required may give consent before or after birth. The mother may give consent anytime after birth. A guardian may consent at any time. An agency has 30 days after being served with notice for adoption proceedings to give consent.

Consent must be signed and acknowledged under oath. Consent may be revoked up to 7 days after the day it was executed.

The individual revoking consent gives written notice to the person specified when the consent was signed. A second consent to adoption by the same parents shall be irrevocable.

SOURCE: 48-3-609

Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights
12. Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights

North Carolina does not currently have a putative father registry.

Instead, the birth mother at any time after 6 months from the birth of the child may file for a special court hearing to determine if the biological father’s consent is necessary. The biological father is served with a notice from the court, and from this time has 15 days to respond.

If the father chooses not to respond within the 15 day time period, the court determines that his consent is not necessary for the adoption. A father who does not respond is not entitled to notice of adoption proceedings and his consent is not needed to finalize an adoption.

A putative father may file for a special court hearing to legitimize a child. The mother and the father will both be present in the hearing, and the court will decide whether or not the father's claim to paternity is legitimate.

SOURCE: 48-2-206

Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws About Birth Parent Expenses
13. Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws About Birth Parent Expenses

Hopeful adoptive parents and/or an adoption agency may provide certain expenses for expectant mothers. There are, however, laws governing such support.

Approved Expenses:
-Medical, hospital, nursing, pharmaceutical, travel to any of these services
-Counseling services directly related to adoption by a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, marriage therapist, social worker, or paid pastoral counselor
-Ordinary living expenses during pregnancy
-Legal services for the consenting parent in the adoption

Banned Expenses:
Living expenses beyond 6 weeks after the birth of the child

SOURCE: § 48-10-103(a); 48-10-103(a)(4)

Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
14. Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that determines the amount of contact birth and adoptive families have after the adoption becomes final.

If a person giving consent and a hopeful adoptive parent enter into an agreement that establishes visitation, communication, and support, said agreement will not be conditional to approved consent, and a broken agreement shall not invalidate consent already given.

Contact agreements in North Carolina are not legally enforceable under the statutes reviewed.

SOURCE: § 48-3-610

Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization
15. Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization

After hopeful adoptive parents file a petition for adoption and the child has been placed with the parents, the child must live in the home for at least 90 days before an adoption becomes final in North Carolina .

Typically adoptions take longer than the 90 day period to finalize. Courts may waive this waiting period if in the best interest of the child.

SOURCE: § 48-2-603

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting from Out-of-State
16. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting from Out-of-State

With private (usually domestic infant) adoptions, it is always possible to adopt a child within, even if you live in a different state. A non-resident is allowed to finalize an adoption in the state of North Carolina.

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC.

IMAGE: Gary C. Tognoni

Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to North Carolina from Out-of-State
17. Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to North Carolina from Out-of-State

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in North Carolina. Hotels average around $95 a night.

Places to visit in North Carolina:

-Carowinds amusement park [Charlotte]
-NASCAR Hall of Fame [Charlotte]
-PNC Arena [Raleigh]
-Marbles Kids Museum [Raleigh]
-Old Salem Museum and Gardens [Winston-Salem]
-Weatherspoon Art Museum [Greensboro]
-Guilford Courthouse National Military Park [Greensboro]

IMAGE: Steve Bower

Foster Adoption in North Carolina
18. Foster Adoption in North Carolina

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with the overall process of adopting children through foster care. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about foster adoption in North Carolina.

Foster Adoption: Children Avaialable for adoption in North Carolina
19. Foster Adoption: Children Avaialable for adoption in North Carolina

There are currently 2,416 children in the North Carolina foster care system waiting to be adopted.

Click here to view a current photolisting of children available in North Carolina.

Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help
20. Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help

In North Carolina, hopeful adoptive parents can complete a foster adoption through a licensed private agency or through the Department of Health and Human Services.

To find adoption agencies in NC and to read reviews check out Adoption.com’s North Carolina page.

Becoming Part of the Foster Car System
21. Becoming Part of the Foster Car System

In North Carolina, a child can be placed with you for adoption before his/her biological parent’s rights have been terminated.

This is called a "legal risk" placement, meaning that is is possible that the child may return to live his/her birth family. However, these placements are not made unless the agency responsible for the child is actively pursuing the termination of his/her birth parents’ rights.

During a placement like this, you will be considered a foster parent and will need to meet all the requirements for foster parents in the state of North Carolina.

Not all foster-adoption placements are “legal risk” placements, however. Some children’s parents’ rights have been terminated, leaving them free and clear for adoption.

Post Adoption Contact Agreements
22. Post Adoption Contact Agreements

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that determines the amount of contact birth and adoptive families have after the adoption becomes final.

Post adoption contact agreements cannot be conditional upon approved consent to the adoption, and a broken agreement cannot nullify an adoption order.

Contact agreements in North Carolina are not legally enforceable under the statutes reviewed.

SOURCE: § 48-3-610

Finalization
23. Finalization

In North Carolina, after hopeful adoptive parents file a petition for adoption and the child has been placed with the parents, the child must live in the home for 6 months before an adoption becomes final.

SOURCE: § 7B-1111(a)(3)

Adoption Assistance
24. Adoption Assistance

Financial aid is available for hopeful adoptive parents wishing to adopt a child with special needs. The amount you receive varies greatly depending upon your child’s specific needs and circumstances. Your child must meet one of the following criteria to be eligible for financial aid:

-6 or older
-2 or older and part of a minority race or ethnic group
-Member of a sibling group with 3 or more children to be placed in the same home
-Medically diagnosed disability which severely limits one or more major life activity and requires special equipment, ongoing professional treatment, or assistance in health care
-The child is diagnosed to be mentally retarded by a licensed professional

The maximum monthly amount your child will receive depends upon many different factors. In general, the maximum amount is as follows:

Age 0-5: $475
Age 6-12: $581
13+: $634

It is always best to speak with a professional to determine what amount your child qualifies for. For more information about who to contact visit NACAC.org.

SOURCE: NACAC.org

Foster Adoption: Adopting in North Carolina from Out-of-State
25. Foster Adoption: Adopting in North Carolina from Out-of-State

In adopting a child from foster care, there are opportunities to adopt a child from a different state. If this is the case, you will need to comply with the requirements of The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children.

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed in foster care or for adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC.

IMAGE: Dave Allen Photography

Foster Adoption: Traveling to North Carolina from Out-of-State
26. Foster Adoption: Traveling to North Carolina from Out-of-State

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in North Carolina. Hotels average around $95 a night.

Places to visit in North Carolina:

-Carowinds amusement park [Charlotte]
-NASCAR Hall of Fame [Charlotte]
-PNC Arena [Raleigh]
-Marbles Kids Museum [Raleigh]
-Old Salem Museum and Gardens [Winston-Salem]
-Weatherspoon Art Museum [Greensboro]
-Guilford Courthouse National Military Park [Greensboro]

IMAGE: MarkVanDykePhotography

International Adoption in North Carolina
27. International Adoption in North Carolina

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with the overall process of international adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about international adoption in North Carolina.

International Adoption: Photolisting
28. International Adoption: Photolisting

There are millions of beautiful children across the world who are hoping to find a forever family.

Meet some of them through our Photolisting.

International Adoption: Get Professional Help
29. International Adoption: Get Professional Help

With international adoptions, your only choice is to complete your adoption through an agency. Because of the Universal Accreditation Act, all adoption agencies completing international adoptions are required to be credentialed according to federal standards. Make sure to check with any agency before working with them to ensure they have this accreditation in place!

In selecting an international adoption agency, there are Four Essential Criteria you should probably consider. Check out this directory to browse through reviews of adoption agencies in North Carolina.

In order to be approved to adopt internationally, you will need to complete an international adoption-specific home study.

International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements
30. International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements

In order for a child adopted from a different country to enter the United States, adoptive parents must meet all requirements set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the country in which the child resides, and occasionally the adoptive parents’ State of residence.

As part of this process you will need to request a U.S. visa and birth certificate.

Consult your adoption attorney or adoption agency about other post-adoption requirements specific to international adoption.

Read more about North Carolina’s post-adoption requirements specific to international adoption here.

Stepparent Adoption in North Carolina
31. Stepparent Adoption in North Carolina

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with the overall process of stepparent adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about stepparent adoption in North Carolina.

Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights
32. Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the corresponding biological parent’s rights will first need to be terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

You will need to consult with an adoption attorney about your desire to adopt. He/she can help you decide if it’s likely that the biological parent would be willing to relinquish rights or if it would be feasible to pursue involuntary termination of his/her parental rights.

Stepparent Adoption: Pettioning to Adopt
33. Stepparent Adoption: Pettioning to Adopt

Once parental rights have been terminated, you can file a petition to adopt with the courts. You and your spouse will both testify in court regarding the stability of your marital relationship, the bond you’ve developed with your stepchild, and your desire to become the legal parent of your stepchild.

You will generally not be required to complete a background check or home study as part of the stepparent adoption process.

Works Cited
35. Works Cited

http://www.wral.com/11-000-children-in-nc-living-in-foster-care/15185900/

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/children_waiting2014.pdf

https://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/about-us/statistics.html

§ 48-10-101

§ 48-3-608; 48-3-609

§ 48-10-103(a); 48-10-103(a)(4)

§ 48-3-610

§ 7B-1111(a)(3)

NACAC.org

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Kenneth Knudson


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