North Dakota Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adoption in North Dakota!

Kenneth Knudson August 31, 2016

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

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in North Dakota, then sections dedicated to 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 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

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

-North Dakota & South Dakota joined the Union at the same exact time

-Lewis & Clark spent the majority of their journey across the country in North Dakota

-North Dakota produces enough beef per year to create 2 billion hamburgers

-Jamestown, ND, is home to the National Buffalo Museum, which houses 3 albino buffalo

SOURCE: movoto.com

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

Kids in foster care available for adoption in 2014: 1,448

Foster adoptions completed in 2014: 97

International adoptions completed in 2015: 19

SOURCE: nd.gov
travel.state.gov

Can I Adopt in North Dakota
4. Can I Adopt in North Dakota

Age: 21 or older for foster care adoptions, no age requirement for other types

Marital Status: Single or married

Work: Stable income to provide for a family, enough room to house a child, do not need to own home

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

SOURCE: nd.gov

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 Dakota
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in North Dakota

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 Dakota.

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

In North Dakota 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 Dakota.

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.

Paid adoption facilitators are banned or restricted in many states. However, North Dakota statutes state that adoption facilitators are allowed as long as they are licensed with the Department of Human Services. Adoption advertising is not restricted in this state.

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. 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 Infatnt Adoption: Relinquishment
11. Domestic Infatnt Adoption: Relinquishment

Without relinquishment of parental rights or consent no adoption in North Dakota is final.

Consent/relinquishment can be given any time after the birth of the child in agency adoptions. In identified adoptions, parents must wait 48 hours to give consent.

If the consent is given by the individual to be adopted, consent must be given in court. In agency adoptions, the agency sends a representative to give consent to an individual authorized to take consent. Any other individual must appear in court.

A consent to adoption cannot be withdrawn after the entry of a decree of adoption. Consent can be withdrawn before a decree of adoption if the court finds that the revocation is in the child’s best interest.

SOURCE: § 14-15-07;14-15-08

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

In North Dakota, the law uses three terms to define different types of fathers: acknowledged, alleged, and presumed.

An acknowledged father is a man who has established a father child relationship. An alleged father is a man who claims to be genetic father, but the claim to paternity has yet to be verified. A presumed father is the man who is recognized to be the father until confirmed or rebutted in court.

North Dakota does not currently have a paternity registry. Instead, presumed fathers hoping to gain custody of their child and have a say in the adoption process take alternative steps to establish paternity:

-Mother and genetic father hoping to establish paternity sign acknowledgment of paternity stating intent to establish man’s paternity
-A man who responds to adjudicated father claim may admit to being father of child in court
-The court accepts an adjudicated father’s claim to paternity

A presumed/alleged father may rescind acknowledgement of paternity up to 60 days after the date of acknowledgement or the first court hearing, whichever comes earlier.

SOURCE: adoption.com

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 expenses related to prenatal care and birth of child not already covered by health care
-Expenses for transportation, meals, lodging in connection with pregnancy, birth, or placement in order to receive counseling, legal, or medical aide
-Living expenses needed to maintain adequate life style due to loss of income during pregnancy

Banned Expenses
Living expenses beyond 6 weeks after the birth of the child unless the court decides that the mother is still medically incapable of work and in need of further aide. Gifts, expenses to cover lost of wages, and vacations are also banned in this state.

SOURCE: §§ 14-15-10; 14-15.1-06

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.

Post-adoption contact agreements are not currently addressed in North Dakota law and are therefore not legally enforceable. Instead, post-adoption contact agreements are a moral agreement in North Dakota.

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

In North Dakota, the child must live with adoptive parents for 6 months before the adoption becomes final.

SOURCE: childadoptionlaws.com

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption in North Dakota from Out-of-State
16. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adoption in North Dakota 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 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.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to North Dakota from Out-of-State
17. Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to North Dakota 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 Dakota. Hotels in North Dakota average around $100 a night.

Places to visit in North Dakota

-Theodore Roosevelt National Park
-The Dakota Zoo
-Painted Canyon Overlook
-Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
-National Buffalo Museum

Foster Adoption in North Dakota
18. Foster Adoption in North Dakota

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 Dakota.

Foster Adoption: Children Available for Adoption in North Dakota
19. Foster Adoption: Children Available for Adoption in North Dakota

There are currently 1,448 children in the North Dakota foster care system waiting to be adopted.

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

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

In the state of North Dakota, you can complete a foster adoption either through a private agency that is licensed to provide foster care services or directly through the Department of Human Resources.

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

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

In North Dakota, 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 Dakota.

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.

At the time of this writing post-adoption contact agreements are not addressed in North Dakota law and are therefore not legally enforceable.

Finalization
23. Finalization

In North Dakota, the child must live with adoptive parents for 6 months before the adoption becomes final.

SOURCE: childadoptionlaws.com

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:

-Older than 7 but younger than 18
-Member of minority race
-Has physical, mental, or emotional disability
-Member of sibling group being placed together
-Is at high risk for physical, emotional, or mental disability

The maximum monthly amount available depends upon your child’s age and the severity of their disability. Monthly payments vary from basic rates starting at $752 for children age 0-4 to $945 for children 13+.

Specialized rates that increase the amount your child will receive per month are available on a case by case basis. For more information on adoption assistance please visit NACAC.ORG.

SOURCE: NACAC.ORG

Foster Adoption: Adopting From Out-of-State
25. Foster Adoption: Adopting 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 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.

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

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in Vermont. Hotels in North Dakota average around $100 a night.

Places to visit in North Dakota:

-Theodore Roosevelt National Park
-The Dakota Zoo
-Painted Canyon Overlook
-Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
-National Buffalo Museum

International Adoption in North Dakota
27. International Adoption in North Dakota

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 Dakota.

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 Dakota.

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. In order to validate a foreign adoption decree in North Dakota parents must present to the courts a petition to readopt, an admission stamp in the child’s passports that shows the child entered the United States with a valid IR-3 visa, the child’s foreign birth certificate and foreign adoption decree with English translations, and the child’s legal name and background information.

Within 30 days after a foreign adoption decree becomes final, clerks of the court prepare an application for a birth record with the new name of the adopted child. Consult your adoption attorney or adoption agency about other post-adoption requirements specific to international adoption.


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

SOURCE: § 14-15-17(2)

childwelfare.gov

Stepparent Adoption in North Dakota
31. Stepparent Adoption in North Dakota

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 Dakota.

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: Petitioning to Adopt
33. Stepparent Adoption: Petitioning 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.

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Kenneth Knudson


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