Adoption in North Carolina
Adoption in North Carolina is strictly governed by North Carolina General Statute § 48 1 100. The purpose of the statute is to establish a clear judicial process for adoptions, ensure the finality of adoptions, to provide necessary services for those involved in the adoption process, and ensure that the adoption serves the best interest of the adopted child. Only the following may place a minor child for adoption: (1) An agency; (2) A guardian; (3) Both parents acting jointly, if they are married to each other and living together, or one parent has legal custody of the child and the other has physical custody but neither has both. A parent, guardian, or agency that places a minor directly for adoption must sign a consent to the child’s adoption and a parent or guardian of a child who wants an agency to place the minor for adoption must execute a relinquishment to the agency before the agency can place the minor. An interstate placement of a child for adoption must comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
Except when a child is placed directly with a grandparent, sibling, first cousin, aunt, uncle, great aunt, great uncle, or great grandparent of the child placement requires a written pre-placement assessment be completed or updated within the 18 months immediately preceding the placement; and the assessment must contain a finding that the prospective adopting party or parties who are the subject of the assessment is or are suitable to be an adoptive parent, either in general or for a specific child.
Generally, a child older than 12 years must execute a consent to be adopted as must the parents of the child, if the parents are still living, unless, for example, a parent’s rights to the child have been terminated or the parent has earlier relinquished rights to the child. If the adoption is through an agency, the agency must give written consent to the adoption. Under certain circumstances a parent may revoke his or her consent to adoption if the revocation is made on a timely basis.
North Carolina law also provides for the adoption of a child by a stepparent and for adoption of an adult by another adult. North Carolina law precludes one spouse adopting another.
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