An adoption of a child not only severs the parent-child relationship between the child and his or her biological parents, but it also then establishes a parent-child relationship between the adopted child and the adoptive parent. Once adopted, that child has the same legal status as would a biological child of the parents.

There are several kinds of adoptions and they are as follows:

Step-Parent Adoptions

  • The biological parent of the child remarries and the new spouse, the stepparent to the child, seeks to adopt the child
  • Biological parent of the child must have legal and physical custody of the child
  • The child has resided primarily with the biological parent and the stepparent seeking to adopt the child for at least 6 months immediately preceding the filing of the petition for adoption
  • Home study is required
  • Available to both same-sex and heterosexual couples

Same-Sex Adoptions

  • Married same-sex couples can adopt a child jointly
  • Same-sex spouse can adopt the biological child of his or her husband or wife
  • Same-sex spouse can adopt the adopted child of his or her husband or wife
  • The above is just the tip of the iceberg as to what is required for the various kinds of adoptions. For more information on the adoption process, consider reviewing Chapter 48 of the North Carolina General Statutes or make an appointment today for a consultation with our adoption attorney, Doughton Horton.

International Adoptions

  • Adoptive parents must go through the adoption process of the home country of the adopted child
  • Adoptive parents must go through an accredited adoption agency
  • Hague Convention may apply if you are adopting from a country who is a signatory of the Hague Convention
  • Must determine if the child is eligible to be adopted
  • Once adopted abroad, adoptive parents must apply on the child’s behalf to immigrate to the United States
  • Child should be “readopted” pursuant to the laws of North Carolina

Relative Adoptions

  • Biological parents decide to relinquish their parental rights directly to a relative such as an aunt, uncle, or grandparent
  • The process can begin before or after the child is born
  • Home study required

Agency Adoptions

  • Biological parents relinquish their rights directly to a licensed adoption agency who in turn facilitate the adoption of the child
  • Home study required



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