Adoption

There are several types of Adoptions and each type has different requirements. Whether you are a biological parent or an adoptive parent, if you have decided that adoption is right for your family, Bostrom Law Firm can help you through the process. Please call 919-341-9529 for a FREE consultation.

The following are types of adoptions within the State of North Carolina:

  1. Direct Placement Adoptions. Direct placement adoptions occur when the biological parents and the potential adoptive parents have already found each other and are ready to start the adoption process. Placement can occur through individuals or an adoption agency. (If an adoption agency is being used to locate and match an adoptable child with potential adoptive parents, this process can be quite costly with rates beginning around $15,000.00 and does not include any attorney services. It is recommended that adoptive parents hire an attorney before contracting with an agency.) In general, if both biological parents consent to the adoption then the process can be less complicated, less expensive, and take less time to complete. The adoptive parents will petition the Court to grant the adoption and should hire an attorney to complete the legal forms, protect their rights, and advise them through the adoption process. The biological parents may represent themselves, hire their own attorney, or ask the adoptive parents to pay for their attorney.
  2. Stepparent Adoptions. Stepparent adoptions occur when a biological parent has married another person who then petitions the Court to adopt the child. In general, if the other biological parent consents to the adoption then the process can be less complicated, less expensive, and take less time to complete. The stepparent should hire an attorney to complete the legal forms, protect their rights, and advise them through the adoption process.
  3. Relative Adoptions. Relative adoptions occur when a family member petitions the Court to adopt the child. In general, if the biological parents consent to the adoption then the process can be less complicated, less expensive, and take less time to complete. Only close kin blood relatives fall into this category. The relative should hire an attorney to complete the legal forms, protect their rights, and advise them through the adoption process.
  4. Adult Adoption. Adult adoption occurs when a person or married couple petitions the Court to adopt a person over the age of minority (18). The adoptee must consent to the adoption. The potential adoptive parents should hire an attorney to complete the legal forms, protect their rights, and advise them through the adoption process.

Interstate Adoptions. When a child born and/or domiciled in one state crosses over state lines to be placed with adoptive parents in another state, both states are involved in the adoption process. There are special requirements that must be met to have the adoption approved and failure to meet these requirements can result in the child being returned to the home state.

International Adoptions. When a child is adopted from another country, the adoptive parents complete the adoption in the child’s respective birth country under that country’s laws and then complete the adoption again in the home state of the adoptive parents under United States law. This process registers the foreign adoption to enable a birth certificate to be issued for the adoptive parents and the child in the home state of the adoptive parents. It can involve the Embassy from the sending county, interpreting foreign adoption forms to English and having them validly notarized, US Passports and green cards. Without this process the adoptive child may not be eligible to take advantage of United States citizenship status or it’s laws and benefits.

The Adoption Process:

Generally there is only one attorney involved in the adoption process although the biological parents may also secure their own attorneys. The adoptive parents’ attorney communicates with the biological parents to draft and execute the legal documents for the adoption. The attorney then prepares an adoption packet and files it with the Court. The attorney will work with a Clerk or Judge who ultimately issues a Decree of Adoption. All Adoptions must go through the Court for approval. After approval by the Court (Judge or Clerk), the adoption file is sent to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office Adoption Division for a final audit and approval before indexing in the Office of Vital Statistics and Records for the regeneration of a new birth certificate. The child’s original birth certificate is then sealed and removed from public records

If one, or both, biological parents do not consent to the adoption, cannot be found, or the biological father is “unknown”, an adoption can still be approved, however there are additional steps required. This process can be more complex and time consuming. Sometimes the non-consenting biological parent contests the Adoption and the case must then be heard by a Judge. Additionally, an adoption matter may proceed through Juvenile Court in an action for Termination of Parental Rights. A Judge will ultimately decide if the constitutional right to parent a child should be taken away from a biological parent so that the child may then be adopted.

Children age 12 and over must sign a consent to be adopted by the prospective adoptive parent.

All North Carolina adoptions are considered “closed” and the records sealed by the Court.

Direct Adoptions and Stepparent Adoptions necessitate Department of Social Services involvement (or another licensed agency) who will be ordered by the Court to perform a pre and/or post-placement assessment. The agency also provides a Report to the Court with background information among other things which must be shared with the biological parent. The adoptive parent is responsible for the fees associated with these assessments.

Whether you are a biological parent or an adoptive parent, if you have decided that adoption is right for your family, Bostrom Law Firm can help you through the process. Please call 919-341-9529 for a FREE consultation.