There are several types of adoptions, each with potentially different steps and requirements. However, many of the core elements are the same. In the case of an adoption of a child in foster care, the adoption is managed by state requirements that may include fees, mandatory parenting classes, and assessments.
Prospective parents have the liberty of choosing which agency to work with to satisfy the requirements needed to be approved by the state as a fit parent eligible to adopt. Acceptable licensed foster care agencies and adoption agencies listed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/agency-listings).
After selecting an agency, a series of steps must be completed before approval to adopt is granted.
1. Attend an orientation with your chosen agency
2. Complete the TIPS-MAPP course (this may be optional for some agencies.)
3. Completion of Pre-Placement Assessment (PPA)
4. Register with AdoptUSKids to make inquiries regarding children available for adoption.
5. Once you have obtained an approved PPA, you may also register with the NC Kids office. (Note: This is optional.)
6. Submit your PPA for children in need of an adoptive home or be matched for adoption with a child you are already fostering.
7. Engage in a meeting and transition plan to move the child to your home.
8. Complete the legal adoption process, culminating in a final decree of adoption.
The final legal process includes another set of steps.
1. A petition for adoption is filed as a “special proceeding” with the Clerk of Superior Court in the county of the parent or the adoptee.
2. A PPA must be filed with the court.
3. A filing fee for the petition must be paid.
4. At the discretion of the court, a hearing may or may not be required.
5. If the child is over the age of 13, they must consent to the adoption.
6. After the adoption is granted, the court will mail instructions on how to legally change the child’s birth certificate.
The desire to adopt a child from foster care is both noble and life changing. However, the legal process to complete an adoption can be confusing and includes a great number of steps. While sites such as nccourts.gov and ncdhhs.gov can provide more in-depth instructions for free, prospective parents may still have a lot of questions. A family law attorney can help make the process painless and guarantee that it is properly completed the first time.
At King Law, we focus on Family Law and have significant background in handling adoption cases similar to yours. Give us a call at (888)748-KING (5464) or complete a consultation request form on our website. For more information, visit our child custody blog section or family law page.