Adoption is a wonderful option for both individuals and couples wanting to start or grow a family. There are several different types of adoptions: stepparent adoptions, international adoptions, agency adoptions, private adoptions, and so on. It is important for you to consider which of these options is right for you. This will shape the adoption process moving forward.
Adoption severs the parent-child relationship between the biological parents and the child, including all inheritance rights, and creates a new parent-child relationship between the adoptive parents and the adopted child. As such, there are several procedural safeguards to ensure that the biological parents are given an opportunity to fully consider the legal effects of adoption, and, even more so, to ensure that he/she has proper notice of any such proceeding. Generally speaking, prior to filing the action for adoption, both of the biological parents must sign a relinquishment or consent to the adoption, or, if they do not consent, the parental rights of the biological parents of the child must be terminated by court order. Once a consent or relinquishment is signed, the biological parents have seven days to revoke his/her consent or relinquishment.
In North Carolina, any individual may file a petition for adoption, but he/she must have “standing,” to do so. It is not required that the adoptive parents pay the birth mother’s medical or other expenses related to the adoption. However, pursuant to N.C.G.S. Section 48-10-103, adoptive parents may pay reasonable and actual fees and expenses related to certain expenses of the birth mother. A complete list of those allowed fees and expenses can be found here: http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/BySection/Chapter_48/GS_48-10-103.pdf.
The adoption process is complex and filled with potential pitfalls if you are not familiar with the process. If you are considering adoption, please call our office to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys to discuss all of your options and any potential pitfalls along the way.