There are six types of adoption in North Carolina. Below are basic definitions. Over the coming months this blog will go into more detail about each type of adoption as well as specific topics and circumstances surrounding adoptions in NC including pre and post adoption resources. For additional information about adoption and specific resource updates, bookmark this page and visit our site regularly to learn more.

Agency Adoption

Agency adoption is the adoption of a child in the custody of either a public or private agency. All adoptions through NC’s child welfare system (foster care system) are agency adoptions. Agency adoptions supersede all other types. Therefore, if a child is in the custody of an agency and being adopted by a relative, the adoption will be an agency adoption, not a relative adoption.

Stepparent Adoption

Stepparent adoption is the adoption of a child by the spouse of their biological parent.

Relative Adoption

Relative adoption is the adoption of a child by their relative as defined by NC law. Relatives are defined as a grandparent, full or half sibling, first cousin, aunt, uncle, great-aunt, great-uncle, or great-grandparent of the minor.

Adult Adoption

Adult adoption is the adoption of an adult by another adult. An adult is an individual who has achieved their 18th birthday. The only adults who cannot adopt each other are married couples.

Foreign adoption

Foreign adoption is the adoption of a child from another country of birth. Foreign adoptions include two different types. The first are adoptions of children born in another country where the country of origin has given the adopting parents guardianship upon leaving the country with the intent of an adoption in the United States. The second are re-adoptions where the adoption was finalized in a foreign country and the family is re-adopting in the United States.

Independent Adoption

Independent adoption is the adoption of a child placed directly for the purposes of adoption with the adoptive family by their parent or guardian. The adoptive parents are not relatives to the child as defined by NC law. An agency may be involved but does not have custody of the child.

At Stephenson & Fleming, LLP, we have a vast knowledge of all types of adoption, but specifically focus on public agency adoptions of children involved in the NC child welfare system, stepparent, relative, independent, and foreign re-adoptions. Our commitment is to serving children and families involved in the adoption process in an efficient, effective, and engaging manner. Visit our blog on a regular basis for more information on adoption as well as other child and family law topics.

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