Frequently Asked Questions
Who can qualify as an adoptive parent?
A. Any adult fit for parenting has a chance at qualifying. Unmarried individuals, however, are generally unable to join petitions with any other individual. If a married adult seeks to adopt, his or her spouse must join in the petition.
What sort of history and information about the child will the birth parent(s) provide?
A. All information regarding the non-identifying medical history of the child must be disclosed to adopting parents, if it is available.
How are adoptive parents deemed “fit” to adopt?
A. If parents are not closely related to the adoptee-child, a pre-placement assessment, which entails a home study, must be obtained from a licensed adoption agency.
Can an adoptive parent gain custody prior to the petition hearing or prevent the birth parent(s) from communicating with the adoptee-child?
A. Yes, in certain circumstances the Court may find these conditions appropriate.
Are adopting parents supervised once the adoption is finalized?
A. No, but a licensed agency will supervise until the adoption is finalized.
At what point can the child’s birth mother begin the adoption process?
A. A birth mother may begin searching for an adoption agency or adoptive parents during pregnancy, however, the Consent to Adoption or Relinquishment of Child cannot be completed until after birth.
Is the birth mother permitted to select adoptive parents?
What costs and expenses can the adoptive parents pay for the birth mother?
A. The adoptive parents, or a person acting on behalf of the adoptive parents, may pay the reasonable and actual medical expenses incurred by a mother or her child incident to the pregnancy and birth or any illness of the adoptee, counseling services incident to the adoption, ordinary living expenses for the birth mother for a six (6) week period after birth, administrative and legal fees incident to the adoption, and for the services of the adoption agency.
If the birth mother is a minor, can she still consent to the adoption? A.
Can the birth mother change her mind at any point?
A. A birth mother may change her mind at any point prior to signing the consent papers, and additionally within seven (7) days after signing the consent.
Is a birth mother allowed to communicate with the child and adopting parents after adoption?
A. This is permitted at the discretion of the adopting parents.
What happens if the biological father’s identity is unknown?
A. If the biological father is unknown or cannot be found, constructive notice may be given by publication.
Is the biological father notified of the child’s birth and adoption?
A. Prior to the adoption placement, parties to the adoption are not required to notify the biological father. However, if the biological father has not signed a consent, the potential adoptive parent(s) must make a diligent and good faith attempt to serve notice of the adoption to the biological father.
Can the biological father choose the adoptive parents?
A. While a biological father may participate in the selection process, he may not unilaterally select the adoptive parents unless he has sole custody of the child.
Can an unmarried biological father decide to care for the child himself?
A. Yes, provided that the father acknowledges paternity, communicates with the mother and child and provides support for the child. Otherwise, he may file a custody action or, alternatively, marry the birth mother.
What happens if the child is conceived by rape?
A. In North Carolina, the offender automatically loses all parental rights if convicted of 1st or 2nd degree rape.
· Is a baby ever placed for adoption without gaining the consent of the either birth parent?
A. Under certain circumstances, yes. This requires a Termination Order issued by the Court.
Who can help with the adoption process?
A. An attorney, a licensed child-placement agency, or a licensed or non-licensed facilitator. Non-licensed child-placing agencies are not permitted to participate in the adoption process.
What else do I need to know?
A. The information on this page is by no means everything you need to know. Given the complexities of the adoption process, it is highly recommend that you seek the advice from an experienced attorney. Call our office today for a consultation