A Guide to North Carolina Adoption Laws

At its core, adoption is the often complex legal process of transferring parental rights from one set of parents to another. There are many North Carolina adoption laws in place to help protect children, expectant parents and adoptive families throughout this process.

Because A Child’s Hope is directed by an experienced North Carolina adoption attorney, we are committed to helping you understand the North Carolina adoption laws and ensuring your adoption is completed safely and legally.

If you are considering adoption in N.C., either as hopeful adoptive parents or a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, please read the following to learn more about North Carolina adoption laws.

North Carolina Adoption Laws for Adoptive Parents

Adoption laws regulate nearly every aspect of the adoption process for hopeful parents, from eligibility requirements to home study procedures to finalization. If you plan on adopting a child in N.C., the following information will help you better understand the legal adoption process.

Who is eligible to adopt a child in North Carolina?

Any adult may be eligible to adopt in North Carolina as long as they are approved in a homestudy.

What birth parent expenses can an adoptive family pay in North Carolina?

North Carolina families may pay reasonable fees and expenses for:

  • A prospective birth mother’s medical, hospital and travel expenses incurred in connection with the pregnancy
  • Birth parent counseling services provided by a licensed professional
  • Living expenses during the pregnancy and up to six weeks after the baby is born
  • Legal services connected with the adoption
  • Agency services, including legal services and court costs, travel and administrative expenses, and preparation of the home study

The adoptive parents must file an accounting of all payments made in connection with the adoption, known as the affidavit of fees and expenses.

What is included in the North Carolina home study?

The North Carolina home study process includes at least one personal interview with each adoptive parent, fingerprint-based background checks for all adults in the home, and more. The home study report includes the following:

  • Basic demographic and social information, including age, race, nationality, ethnicity and religion
  • Marital and family history
  • Physical and mental health
  • Education and employment history
  • Financial information
  • Motivation to adopt
  • Previous proceedings concerning domestic violence, alleged child abuse, neglect or abandonment
  • Convictions of any crimes other than minor traffic violations
  • The home environment and functioning of any other children in the home

When should we complete the home study?

The North Carolina home study is current for 18 months. The home study needs to be completed or updated within the 18 months prior to an adoptive or foster placement.

Why would our home study not be approved in North Carolina?

The home study may not be approved if any person residing in your home has been convicted of:

  • Spousal abuse
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • A crime against a child, including child pornography
  • A crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault or homicide
  • A felony for physical assault, battery or a drug-related offense within the past five years

Refusal to consent to a criminal history check may result in an unfavorable assessment by the county department of social services. The department will issue an unfavorable assessment if, based on prior criminal convictions, it determines that the prospective adoptive parent is unfit to have responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of a child.

What are the legal requirements to finalize the adoption?

After an adoption petition is filed in North Carolina, the court will order a post-placement study to determine whether the placement is in the child’s best interests.

The post-placement study includes interviews with each adoptive parent in their home, as well as an additional interview with the adoptive parents and the adopted child to observe their relationship.

The post-placement report will include a recommendation concerning the granting of the adoption petition. If the post-placement study is favorable, the adoption can be finalized in court.

Who can complete our North Carolina home study?

The North Carolina home study must be completed by a licensed child-placing agency. A Child’s Hope offers home study services for our adoptive families as well as families adopting through other agencies. We can complete pre- and post-placement home studies and updates for independent adoptions, stepparent adoptions and some relative adoptions as well. Please read the following or contact us to learn more about our North Carolina home study services.

North Carolina Adoption Laws for Prospective Birth Parents

If you are making an adoption plan for your baby, you likely have questions about your legal rights, responsibilities and other N.C. adoption laws. North Carolina has several laws in place to help protect you and your baby throughout this process. Here, learn more about birth parent rights and consent procedures in North Carolina.

Whose consent is required to place a baby for adoption in North Carolina?

To place a baby for adoption in North Carolina, consent is required from:

  • The mother
  • Any man who:
    • Is or was married to the mother
    • Attempted to marry the mother before the child’s birth
    • Has legitimated the child under the law of any state
    • Has formally acknowledged his paternity of the child
    • Has openly claimed the child as his biological child
    • Is the child’s adoptive father and
    • Has provided support for the birth mother during the pregnancy
  • A guardian of the child

In an agency placement, consent must be given by the child-placing agency. If the child being adopted is age 12 or older, his or her consent is also required unless the court finds that it is not in the best interests of the child to require their consent.

When can birth parents consent to the adoption?

A birth parent can consent to the adoption any time after the child’s birth. A man who is required to consent may do so before or after birth.

How is consent executed in North Carolina?

Consent must be signed and acknowledged under oath. Consent must be given voluntarily and include a statement that the consenting person understands their consent is final and irrevocable.

Can a birth parent change their mind after placing their baby for adoption?

Under North Carolina law a Consent may be revoked within 7 days of signing. Consent is void if it is obtained by fraud or duress or if the petition to adopt is voluntarily dismissed. Your adoption counselor will explain consent, relinquishment and revocation prior to document signing at the hospital. The adoption counselors who work for A Child’s Hope are independent contractors and help protect the agency and the adoptive parents from claims of fraud duress or coercion.

Does the birth father have to be notified of the pregnancy?

Yes, under North Carolina law a biological father should be notified that a woman is expecting a child and has named him as the biological father. The adoption counselor can assist you in talking to the birth father and assist you in locating him.  If you are concerned about your personal safety because there is a history of abuse, the agency can help you obtain protection.

It is important to give your adoption counselor as much information as possible about the birth father so your adoption can be completed safely and legally.

More North Carolina Adoption Law Questions?

Your adoption counselor will work closely with you throughout the adoption process to help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities and ensure your adoption is completed safely and legally.

If you have questions about North Carolina adoption laws, requirements and qualifications, contact A Child’s Hope today.

Birthmother Hotline: (877) 890-4673

Envia Un Texto: (919) 218-6270

Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396