When some people think “safe haven baby adoption,” they visualize a young mother abandoning her newborn baby on the doorstep of a hospital or fire station with hardly a look back. But that’s not always the case.
In response to tragedies stemming from child abandonment by distraught, overwhelmed young mothers, North Carolina established safe haven adoption laws that protect the life of the newborn child and the anonymity of the baby’s mother. While most states have a form of safe haven adoption, laws differ from state to state.
But, how exactly does a safe haven baby adoption work in North Carolina? There are some stipulations you have to meet to avoid facing legal charges for child abandonment and to ensure the health of your newborn baby:
- Safe haven adoptions in North Carolina only apply to infants less than 7 days old.
- You must leave your child with an employee on duty at a hospital or medical center, police or fire station or social services department. You may also relinquish your child to any responsible adult. (You cannot leave your child on a doorstep or “baby drop off box” at these locations.)
When you choose to complete a safe haven baby adoption in North Carolina, you do not have to give identifying information about yourself or medical information about your child. However, you might consider handing over your child’s medical records for their safety and to simplify the adoption process.
After you leave your child with a responsible adult, that person will notify an adoption agency, social services or a law enforcement agency to start the adoption process for your child.
While placing your baby for a safe haven adoption may seem like the best solution for your situation, it’s not always the best choice for your newborn baby. Because utilizing safe haven laws simply act as the middle step before your baby is adopted, it’s better for you to directly contact an adoption agency like A Child’s Hope, which can place your child for adoption right away and involve you in every step of the process.
Safe Haven Baby Adoption vs. Adoption with an Agency
While choosing a safe haven baby adoption in North Carolina does provide new mothers with a safe way to relinquish their baby, creating an adoption plan with an adoption agency is a much more beneficial process for both you and your newborn baby. With A Child’s Hope, you can remain as anonymous as you’d like but still have the opportunity to:
- Place your child for adoption at any time — While N.C. safe haven laws require that your baby be less than seven days old when you relinquish him or her, it is never too late to choose adoption for your baby, whether it’s during your pregnancy, right after you’ve given birth or months after your baby has been born
- Choose and meet your baby’s adoptive family, making sure they’re exactly what you want for your baby
- See your baby grow up healthy and happy with their adoptive family through open adoption contact — Because of the anonymity involved in safe haven adoptions, this is not an option for women who choose safe haven; you likely will not have any information about your child’s whereabouts after leaving him or her at the save haven location.
- Receive free counseling and adoption assistance at 877-890-4673, by texting PREGNANT to 919-971-4396 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org — or from an adoption counselor in person — before, during and after your adoption is complete.
- Be protected from any legal repercussions of child abandonment
- Ensure your baby is placed directly with an adoptive family, rather than entering the foster care system and awaiting placement
While choosing to place your child for adoption is a hard enough decision to make, we encourage you to choose an adoption agency over a safe haven baby adoption in North Carolina. In the long run, an open adoption with A Child’s Hope will be the most beneficial for your newborn child, and you’ll be reassured by knowing they’ve been adopted into a loving, supportive family — eliminating the aspect of the unknown that comes with a safe haven baby adoption.
We recognize that every pregnant woman’s situation is different, but there is never any shame in thinking that adoption might be the right choice for your baby. Adoption with A Child’s Hope is completely free, and our counselors can help you get started at any time if you call 877-890-4673, text PREGNANT to 919-971-4396 or contact us online here. Even if you just have questions or concerns, contacting us in no way obligates you to choose adoption; we just want to help you make the best decision for you and your newborn baby, whatever it ends up being.
Click a star near where you live on the NC map to see what counselor would be assigned to you
Adoption Counselor/Homestudy Supervisor - Triangle
As an adoptive parent I truly have a passion for adoption. There is no greater joy than helping to create a family! I love this job and I love working with adoptive parents as well as the birth parents. When it all comes together it is an awesome experience! Kelly is a graduate of NC State University where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She also received her Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Kelly has been working with children, families, in the home and in communities for 18 years. Kelly has been working with birth mothers and adoptive parents for the last 5 years. Besides working, she has a great husband and three fabulous children, Landon, Parker and Ansley. Kelly and her husband adopted their daughter with the help of ACH and feels as though her personal experience helps her relate to other adoptive families.
Sloane completed her undergraduate degree in Human Services Counseling at Old Dominion University and holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Sloane has been working with children, birth mothers and adopting families for more than 10 years. She loves advocating for children and helping women during pregnancy.
Lakisha completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a concentration in Social Welfare at Winston-Salem State University. She received her Master of Social Work from Syracuse University. Lakisha has worked with children, individuals and families for more than 12 years. Her experience includes working with at-risk youth, homeless children and families, child mental health, as well as school social work and case management. She is also a long-time basketball fan, a former player and coach. She played at Winston-Salem State University and coached women’s basketball at Elon University and Syracuse University. Lakisha and her husband reside in Alamance County, with their young son.
Jess completed her undergraduate degree in Communication at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and earned her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Messiah College. Her professional experience includes case management, education, women’s behavioral health including a focus on pregnant mothers, and working with kinship and domestic adoptive families who have experienced trauma. Jess is a native of central Pennsylvania though loves living in Asheville with her significant other. When she is not working, she is likely caring for her puppy and dog, painting, practicing yoga, camping or planning her next road trip to see family and friends or have an adventure in some new place!
Sylvia is a graduate of Western Carolina University, where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She also received her Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina. Sylvia has been working with children and families for more than 19 years. She enjoys gardening, reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and three boys. She also loves animals, especially her dog Jazzy.
Nicole completed her undergraduate studies at Chowan University in Psychology with a concentration in Alcohol & Drug Studies and a minor in Criminal Justice. Nicole has provided services to adolescents, teens, college students, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Parole and Probation, the NC Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Transportation, and the Department of Defense. She is a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor and has been working in the mental health field for 15 years.
Suzanne was the primary pregnancy care manager stationed at Duke high-risk perinatal clinic for 20 years. She has a BS in Social Work at UNC Pembroke and is a licensed School Social Worker. She recently worked as a case manager in a substance abuse disorder residential program for women with young children. Suzanne is a “Durhamite” but has resided in Wake County since graduating. Her biggest accomplishment has been happily raising her 14 yo daughter and 3 poodle mixed pups.