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How to Finalize Your Adoption in North Carolina

After you finally receive an adoption placement, it can seem that all of your hard work has paid off. After all, your parenthood dreams will have finally come true and you’ll have the new member of your family you’ve always wanted.

However, your adoption process doesn’t end with an adoption placement. Before your adoption is legally complete, you must go through an adoption finalization process to ensure that your child is permanently and legally yours.

All adoptive families will need to work with an experienced adoption attorney to obtain an appropriate final decree of adoption in North Carolina. If you are in need of a North Carolina adoption lawyer to guide you through this legal process, the Parker Herring Law Group PLLC can help. Our attorneys will ensure every adoption finalization requirement is met to complete your North Carolina adoption. Contact our attorneys at 919-821-1860 or online to get started today.

Keep reading below to learn more about the North Carolina adoption finalization process.

What is Required to Obtain a Final Decree of Adoption?

A final decree of adoption can only be issued after all of the necessary North Carolina adoption laws have been addressed and appropriately followed in an adoption journey. Your local court will review all of your adoption documentation (provided to them by your adoption attorney) to ensure that your adoption was legally and ethically completed.

Some of the requirements that must be met include:

  • Termination of Birth Parent Rights When a child is adopted by new parents, the rights of that child’s legal or biological parents must first be terminated.  Only then can new adoptive parents establish their own parental rights. In most adoptions, birth parents will voluntarily give their consent to the adoption and relinquish their rights, but there can also be situations where this termination is a bit more complicated. A judge will review the paperwork involved with the termination of parental rights to ensure it was done legally and birth parents were accordingly informed of their rights./li>
  • Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)If a child being adopted has Native American heritage and eligibility as a member of a tribe, the regulations of the Indian Child Welfare Act must be followed. ICWA helps preserve Native American tribes by involving them in the placement of any Native American children. An adoption attorney will guide families through this legal process if it is required for their adoption finalization.
  • Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)If an adoptive family is completing an interstate adoption, certain legal processes must be followed before the family can leave their child’s birth state and before an adoption finalization can occur. This is another crucial adoption requirement in which an attorney’s assistance is needed; if completed incorrectly, ICPC requirements can jeopardize your adoption.
  • Post-Placement AssessmentsAfter you receive an adoption placement but before you receive a final decree of adoption, you must complete two postplacement visits with a social worker. During these visits, a social worker will come to your home and observe your family and your new child to ensure all are adjusting well and the adoption is really in the best interest of the adoptee. After these visits, your social worker will write a report to present to the court with your other adoption paperwork.

How Does the Adoption Finalization Process Work?

Once all of the above adoption requirements have been met (as well as any others that your adoption attorney deems necessary), it will be time for your adoption finalization procedure. Every North Carolina adoption finalization process will be slightly different based on individual circumstances, but there are a few basic steps that each legal process will follow.

  • After the birth parents have signed their adoption consent, you and your baby will attend a placement day with your adoption professional, during which all necessary legal documents will be executed. This will include the adoption petition, placement agreement and communication agreement. You will also receive copies of your baby’s medical records at this time.
  • After this, your in-home, post-placement assessments will be completed by a trained social worker.
  • Most attorneys file all of the necessary documents, starting with the adoption petition and a copy of your home study as well as ICWA affidavits, affidavits regarding military service, health history forms, relinquishments and more with the clerk of court. This opens your adoption file at the court house and the clerk will send an order to report to the adoption agency.
  • Your agency will perform the two requirement postplacement assessments. The court will review this paperwork and issue the final decree of adoption. You will usually not be required to attend a court hearing like you would in other states, but your adoption attorney will ensure you are prepared for one, if necessary. After your adoption finalization process is complete, you will be able to apply for a new birth certificate and social security card for your child. Your adoption attorney will be able to guide you through this process, just as they will have assisted you throughout your adoption finalization

With proper professional guidance, your North Carolina adoption finalization can be completed easily and efficiently — establishing you as the legal parents of your adopted child and finally making your family dreams come true. The adoption attorneys at the Parker Herring Law Group PLLC  can provide all the legal expertise you need to complete your adoption in North Carolina, and you can get started today by contacting our law firm at 919-821-1860.