Couples seeking adoption in North Carolina have that opportunity to create or grow their family through a variety of adoption choices.
Adopting a child is a serious commitment and should never be taken lightly. Adoption of a child is a lifelong commitment. You are committing to love, support and nurture a child for life, but in return also receiving lifelong love from them.
Adoption is not just for couples who are unable to conceive. In fact, there are several types of adoptions. North Carolina allows the adoption of children by a relative or guardian following the death or loss of parental rights through court proceeding. Foster parents also may file for adoption of a foster child through a public agency. North Carolina even supports the adoption of an adult by an adult in applicable circumstances.
Adopting Children in North Carolina
Adoption through public agencies in North Carolina has grown exponentially in the last five to ten years. Why? There are over 3 million children in the state of North Carolina. Close to a half million of those children are living below the poverty line and more than 100,000 children living below the poverty line are under the age of five.
North Carolina Adoption Laws
Chapter 48 of the North Carolina General Statutes establishes North Carolina’s laws on adoption and was written to provide a “clear judicial process for adoption, to promote the integrity and finality of adoptions, to encourage prompt, conclusive disposition of adoption proceedings” In North Carolina, any adult may adopt another individual, except that spouses may not adopt each other. Also, any individual may be adopted in North Carolina. When someone is adopted (the adoptee), their biological family is completely substituted by their new family. The moment the adoption is completed, the adoptee may inherit from their new parents exactly as if, and to the same degree as, a naturally born child of the parent. For all purposes the adopted individual is the offspring of the parent. The biological parents of an adoptee are released from any and all obligations with respect to their child after the adoption; with few exceptions, past due child support is still owed by the natural parent and any property owned by the adoptee before the adoption remains the property of the adoptee.
If you are seeking adoption, where do you start?
Adoption procedures can be daunting. In North Carolina, the Clerk of the Court acts as the judge. Either, the adoptee or the adoptive parents must have lived in the state of North Carolina for at least six month prior to the filing of a petition to adopt by the adoptive parents. If the adoption is an agency adoption, the agency must have legal custody of the adoptee if either of the prior two requirements are not applicable.
Filing of a petition of adoption is proper in the county where a petitioner lives, the adoptee lives, or where an agency office is located. If an adoptee is involved in an action under Chapter 7B of the North Carolina General Statutes, such as when a child’s parents are the subject of a petition to terminate their parental rights—then the district court dealing with that issue will keep jurisdiction until the adoption is entered.
If you are adopting through a public agency such as the Department of Social Services, they will be able to offer help, guidance and advice.
If you are seeking to adopt a stepchild or a child who is the subject of a petition to terminate parental rights, you should consult Jamie Vavonese to either handle the adoption or to advise you as to the consequences of the adoption. There are a multitude of consequences related to adoption with respect to your estate assets and your other children. Therefore it is recommended that you first contact an attorney before proceeding with any type of adoption.