Private vs. Agency Adoption: Understanding the Legal Side

Posted by Regina Taylor | Dec 21, 2020 | 1 Comment

On the emotional level, adoption occurs when you open your household to a child born to another family and love them as your own. Legally, it is the process of transferring parental rights from one parent or set of parents to another. 

In North Carolina, there are different types of adoptions, but the best-known options are private and agency. In this blog, we'll go over how each one works and the legal requirements involved. 

Private Adoptions

Private adoptions, otherwise known as direct placements, often occur when you and the biological parent(s) find each other independently and agree to the adoption process. Although this approach is relatively straightforward and less expensive unless one or more of the parties changes their mind at the last minute, you should definitely hire a North Carolina adoption attorney to complete the legal forms and guide you through any court-ordered requirements.

Direct placements may also be done using an adoption agency. These agencies try to match families seeking adoption with available children. Attorney services are not included in the adoption rate, so you will want to hire your own lawyer to protect your interests and advise you on the steps you need to take to comply with the agency's process.

Public Adoptions

Otherwise known as agency adoptions, public adoptions take place when you work with a state welfare agency or become a licensed foster family or parent. Unlike private adoptions, you don't select the child you will be adopting: when a child becomes available, you must be ready to accept them. 

It is important to understand that fostering a child can be as emotional as it is rewarding. In many cases, you are providing love and care while the birth parent(s) is or are making necessary changes to allow them to reunite with the child. If this happens, you will not have the chance to adopt that child.

What You Should Know About Adoptions

When you adopt directly, the court will order the Department of Social Services or another licensed agency to carry out a pre and/or post-placement assessment. The agency then submits a report, which is shared with the biological parent(s).

In all cases, the request to adopt must be approved by the court, which will issue a Decree of Adoption. Once that happens, the adoption file goes to the North Carolina Attorney General's Office, Adoption Division for final approval before a new birth certificate is regenerated. The original birth certificate is then sealed and no longer public record.

Sometimes there are challenges during the process, which is why it's important to work with a North Carolina attorney who dedicates much of their practice to adoptions. For example:

  • One of the biological parents cannot be found or refuses to consent to the adoption
  • You may have to seek a Termination of Parental Rights in order to clear the child for adoption

In addition, children aged 12 and over must consent to the adoption in writing.

Are You Ready to Grow Your Family Through Adoption?

Regardless of whether you are seeking a private or public adoption, you want to work with a North Carolina attorney who is passionate about uniting children who need homes with loving parents. At the Law Offices of Attorney Regina M. Taylor, we will help you navigate all legal channels and processes so that you can open your home as well as your heart to a child who needs both. To schedule a consultation, please contact us today.

About the Author

Regina Taylor

I decided become a lawyer when I was in the fourth grade when I saw a lawyer on television.


Elle Jones Reply

Posted Jul 25, 2023 at 11:49:23

My brother’s wife and he are considering adoption. I appreciate that you described another way to do Direct placements—using an adoption agency. These organizations make an effort to match adoptive families with kids who are up for adoption. You will want to employ your attorney to represent your interests and provide you advice on the measures you need to do to comply with the agency’s procedure as attorney services are not covered by the adoption rate. I don’t think about this very frequently, but I believe it is crucial to keep it in mind while considering adoption, so I’ll tell them about it. Thanks!

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