We want to adopt. What are our options?
A. Independent Adoptions
For those prospective adoptive parents who have located a child that is available for adoption and who need legal services, our North Carolina adoption family law attorney can offer assistance with independent adoptions and adoption information. We also assist out-of-state attorneys and those who have adoption needs in North Carolina – obtaining consents for out-of-state placements and interstate compliance, as well as litigating and negotiating adoption issues. For biographical information on our North Carolina attorney click on our adoption attorneys and staff page in this website.
B. Agency Assisted Adoptions
A Child’s Hope offers complete domestic adoption services for prospective adoptive parents who desire help in locating infants available for adoption. Through comprehensive yellow pages advertising in North Carolina, extensive contacts in the medical, legal and counseling community, as well as extensive online advertising and social media outlets, we locate birth mothers who wish to entrust their children in our care for adoptive placement. To help reduce the costs of adoption, we focus on facilitating placements between North Carolina prospective adoptive parents and North Carolina birth mothers. We also assist prospective adoptive parents who wish to locate a child outside the state with advertising in other states.
Facilitators assist biological parents in locating and evaluating prospective adoptive parents, usually through advertising. They are not licensed to place children for adoption and are not regulated by a state agency. In North Carolina, facilitators are not permitted to charge for their services. In other states, they are permitted to do so.
How do we get started with the adoption process?
All adoptive parents need a home study or preplacement assessment. In North Carolina, it must be completed or updated within 18 months before the placement occurs. It must be prepared by any licensed child placement agency. Please refer to our Home study services page for more information and detail.
How long does it take to adopt a child?
How long it takes to adopt a child depends upon a number of factors, including your preferences for race as well as openness to other issues in adoption such as substance and alcohol abuse, limited or no prenatal care, birth father issues, genetic factors and the type of adoption you choose. Most prospective adoptive parents find that they are successful in receiving a child for placement within 18 months.
How much does is cost?
How much it costs to adopt a child also depends upon a number of factors, including your preferences, the type of adoption you choose, the geographic location of the child, the financial circumstances of the birth mother, and the legal circumstances of the birth father. We are very frank about adoption costs and will be glad to discuss your likely costs based upon your particular circumstances. Because our agency focuses on adopting within the state of North Carolina, most of our families are able to adopt for total adoption costs around $35K.
What are the risks?
While we work very hard to minimize the risks associated with adoption, certain legal and medical risks are inherent in the process. They include the risk that a birth parent will revoke their consent within the legal time period, (In North Carolina a birthmother can sign any time after birth and has seven days to revoke her consents), the risk of losing funds expended for expenses paid on to or on behalf of a birth mother and costs associated with adoption, and unknown health issues as the result of not having health history information from the father or complete health history from the birth mother. A Child’s Hope is able to reduce these risks since almost all of our adoptions are in state. Our counselors meet with the birthmother, attend a prenatal appointment with her and are able to counsel in person to more effectively screen.
What is an “open” adoption?
In the past, adoptions were always closed, meaning that birth parents and adoptive parents never met or had any information about each other. Now, you have a choice. Many people are choosing an “open” adoption arrangement. What it means is determined by the birth parents and adoptive parents by mutual agreement. For prospective adoptive parents, it means the opportunity to meet your child’s birth parents and to maintain contact afterward. While that prospect may be scary at first, many prospective adoptive parents experience a change of heart. The amount of contact and the frequency and duration of the contact is determined by mutual consent. The choice is yours. Some prospective adoptive parents and birth parents decide they wish to receive photographs and letters over time. Others choose to sever their ties after delivery.
What about the father?
When faced with an unplanned pregnancy, there are always questions about the father’s rights.
· Does a father have the right to parent his child?
By law only if he does certain things to protect his rights as a parent. In North Carolina, an unwed father must show his commitment to parenting by acknowledging openly the child is his and by providing financial support before his parental interests are entitled to protection.
· Does an unwed father have the right to custody of his child?
No. Not automatically. He must acknowledge his paternity and take the necessary legal steps to establish his right to custody or visitation.
· Does an unwed father have to give his consent before his child can be placed for adoption?
No. Not automatically. He must do certain things to protect his interests as a parent. But all biological fathers are entitled to notice of the adoption of a child and a legal father, although not the biological father, but one who is married to the birthmother must be given notice.