North Dakota Adoption Laws and Policies

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

Bison walking on a road thinking about 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 Dakota resident, you’ll want to work with an adoption agency or adoption attorney who is very familiar with North Dakota adoption laws and policies. Below, you’ll find adoption agencies and adoption lawyers offering services to North Dakota families. Scroll past the listings to learn all about the legal guidelines for families adopting in North Dakota 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 Dakota?

A single adult or a husband and wife jointly may adopt. A married individual may adopt singly if the adoptee is not the adopting parent’s spouse, if the adopting parent is a stepparent, if the adopting parent is legally separated from his/her spouse, or if the spouse is excused from petitioning to adopt by the court for reasonable cause.

Can LGBT families adopt? LGBT singles are permitted to adopt individually; however, state statutes do not address whether same-sex couples may jointly petition to adopt.

North Dakota Domestic Adoption Laws

Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? Yes.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Generally, no.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Yes, but adopting parents must use an adoption facilitator that is licensed by the Dept. of Human Service.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Medical. Counseling and living related to adoption and placement, for no longer than 6 weeks following delivery unless the court determines birth mother can’t be employed because of physical disabilities related to the birth. Living expenses do not include lost wages, gifts, educational expenses, vacations or other similar expenses.

Is there a putative father registry? No.

When can consent to adoption be granted? Agency adoption: any time after birth; private adoption: birth mother, 48 hours after birth; birth father, anytime.

When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? After termination of parental rights at a termination hearing in court and an order is issued. If a consent is part of an adoption (which is rare, but can happen in relative adoptions, etc.), a consent to adoption can be revoked any time before entry of a decree of adoption, but not after.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Not addressed in state statutes.

North Dakota International Adoption Laws

Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Yes, a decree of court by a court within or outside of the U.S. is recognized by North Dakota as long as the adoption decree is issued under due process of law.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Yes, adopting parents must readopt in North Dakota by providing the court with a petition to recognize the foreign adoption, proof of the child’s IR-3 Visa status, the child’s foreign birth certificate plus a translation, the foreign adoption decree plus a translation, and a signed affidavit from the agency that confirms the validity of the adoption.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? The State Registrar of Vital Statistics will issue a birth certificate upon receipt of a certified copy of the adoptee’s birth record, a copy of the adoption decree, and an affidavit from the adopting parents detailing the child’s date and place of birth, as well as the probable parentage of the child. This information must be presented to the State Registrar within 30 days after the adoption decree finalization.

Adoption from Foster Care in North Dakota

Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, subsidies are available for a special needs child, who is defined as having at least one of the following: 7 years or older, but under 18 years, of a minority race, member of a sibling group of 2 or more children being placed together, has or is at high risk of developing a physical, mental, or emotional condition. In addition, the child must be in the custody of a public, private, or tribal agency. Subsidies start at adoption placement.

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

North Dakota Adoption Unit

Program Manager: Julie Hoffman

North Dakota Department of Human Services (NDDHS)
State Capitol, Department 325
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
Phone: (701) 328-4805
Toll-Free: (800) 245-3736
Fax: (701) 328-3538
[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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