North Carolina Adoption Laws and Policies

You have many adoption options, and this is the perfect place to begin exploring them. Below, you’ll find North Carolina adoption laws and policies and find adoption agencies and attorneys who work with families in North Carolina.

North Carolina Adoption Laws

Each state maintains its own adoption policies, so the process can vary considerably for families in different states. As a North Carolina resident, you’ll want to work with an adoption agency or adoption attorney who is very familiar with North Carolina adoption laws and policies. Below, you’ll find adoption agencies and adoption lawyers offering services to North Carolina families. Scroll past the listings to learn all about the legal guidelines for families adopting in North Carolina whether you’re adopting a newborn through domestic adoption, an infant or older child from U.S. foster care adoption, or a child through international adoption.



Who Can Adopt in North Carolina?

Any adult, except a married couple can’t adopt his/her spouse.

Can LGBT families adopt? Same-sex couples can petition for joint adoption; however, they may face legal restrictions in some parts of the state.

Domestic Adoption Laws in North Carolina

Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? Yes.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Only a parent, guardian or agency may place a minor for adoption, but the facilitator can’t charge for services.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Medical (including travel), legal, counseling when directly related to adoption, living. Court approval of expenses required. No reimbursement unless fraud by birthparent is proved. Up to 6 weeks postpartum.

Is there a putative father registry? Yes.

When can consent to adoption be granted? Birthmothers: any time after birth. If child is at least 12 years old, then his consent is required and may be signed at any time; Birthfathers: any time.

 When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? 7 days after signing. If last day falls on a weekend or holiday, revocation period extends to next business day. After that, consent only revocable if obtained by fraud or duress. Return is automatic.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? No.

International Adoption Laws in North Carolina

Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Not addressed in state statutes.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Yes, but there is no mention of whether or not it’s mandatory.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The State Registrar will issue a certificate of identification for a child residing in North Carolina at the time of application upon receipt of a copy of the original birth certificate and adoption decree. The State Registrar will issue a certificate of identification for a child readopted in North Carolina upon receipt of an adoption report from the Division of Social Services.

Adoption From Foster Care in North Carolina

Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, adoption subsidies are available for a special needs child as defined by one of the following: 6 years or older, 2 years or older if member of a minority or ethnic group, member of a sibling group of 3 of more children being placed together with at least one sibling qualifying as a special needs child, has a medically diagnosed and ongoing disability or is at risk of developing a disability, a psychiatric condition, an emotional or behavioral disorder, or is mentally ill. In addition, an authorized North Carolina agency must be in charge of the child’s placement and prove that efforts were made to place the child without subsidies. The adopting parents must prove that they could not adopt the child without subsidies. Starts a month after adoption finalization.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in North Carolina?

North Carolina Licensing Office Contact

Dora Ann Carter, MSW
Social Services Program Consultant II
NC Division of Social Services, Child Welfare Section, DHHS
(919) 496-0310
[email protected]

North Carolina Adoption Unit

Program Manager: Jamie Bazemore

820 South Boylan Avenue
Mail Service Center 2411
Raleigh, North Carolina 27699
Phone: (919) 527-6371
Fax: (919) 334-1191
[email protected]


DISCLAIMER: The state laws and policies outlined above are offered to readers only for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the state laws were accurate at the time of compilation, but Adoptive Families cannot guarantee that there have been no subsequent changes or revisions to the laws. Please do not rely on the information above without first consulting an adoption attorney licensed in your state. Updated in November 2014.

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