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North Carolina adoption process

North Carolina adoption process

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2021 | Child Custody |

Many people choose adoption to build their family. Adoption is the legal process to create a parent and child relationship between an adoptee and the person petitioning to adopt. There is helpful information available about the requirements and process to adopt in North Carolina.

A married couple or an individual may file a petition to adopt. Before the child can be adopted, the court must terminate the biological parents’ rights. Sometimes this is a voluntary process and sometimes the court terminates the parents’ rights involuntarily, due to abuse or neglect, for example.

Types of adoption

The most common types are agency, independent, step-parent and relative adoptions. With an agency adoption, either a county department of social services or a licensed child placing agency places the child with the petitioner and consents to the adoption.

With an independent and relative adoptions, the biological parent places the child directly with the petitioner and consents to the adoption. Relative adoptions can involve grandparents, siblings, cousins, an aunt or uncle or a great-grandparent. A step-parent adoption occurs when a step-parent petitions the court to adopt his or her step-child.

Each of these may require a home study, which is an assessment completed to determine the petitioner’s fitness as a parent and the environment the child will live in. It can also help the court to decide whether the adoption is in the child’s best interest.

In North Carolina, a child who is age 12 or older must also consent to the adoption.

Final adoption order

The court will hold a hearing and enter a final adoption order. Once the adoption is finalized, the adoptive parent has all of the same rights and responsibilities of a biological parent and is awarded permanent legal custody of the child.

If adoptive parents would like help, there is assistance available.