Bringing your baby home from the hospital will be one of the best days of your lives. You’ve waited for this moment for what seems like forever, and your family finally feels whole. It’s a beautiful moment and the beginning of a wonderful journey. However, it’s not the end of your adoption journey. The next step to making sure your child is legally yours forever is to obtain a final decree of adoption in North Carolina.
Your child’s adoption finalization process might seem like an event to be nervous about, but a good adoption agency will make sure you’re completely prepared for the day your adoption is finalized. If you work with American Adoptions, your adoption specialist will make sure you know exactly what to expect from the North Carolina adoption finalization process. If a court appearance is required, you can expect your adoption finalization process to go something like this:
Along with your child and your adoption attorney, you’ll gather at your local courthouse to complete the North Carolina adoption finalization process. At this point, the judge will have already reviewed your case, so the hearing itself should only take between 30 and 60 minutes.
You’ll briefly introduce yourselves to the judge, and your attorney will testify that adoption is in the best interests of your child. If your child is old enough, they may be asked if they think the adoption should proceed. This way, your judge will know that your child is indeed in favor of the adoption plan.
You will confirm to the judge that you will care for and love this child to the best of your abilities. You may be asked some simple questions at this point, but nothing too stressful. The judge may just want to make conversation to get to know you and your family better. If you brought a camera along to memorialize your NC adoption finalization day, this is the time for pictures!
If there are any adoption-related orders, such as expenses paid for birth parents or the termination of the birth father’s rights, the judge will review them at this time. He or she will make sure the birth parents had their rights terminated legally and ethically and that all North Carolina adoption laws were followed. As long as everything is in order, he or she will then sign the final decree of adoption!
In North Carolina, an adoption finalization hearing may not be required; in this case, you’ll simply need to work with your attorney to complete the legal paperwork that starts the finalization process.
After you receive your final decree of adoption in North Carolina, you’ll get a new birth certificate mailed to you that lists you as your child’s “natural parents.” If you adopt your baby from a birth mother who lives outside of North Carolina, North Carolina will communicate with that state to obtain a new birth certificate for your child. In this instance, it may take longer to receive the new certificate.
Of course, receiving the final decree of adoption in NC doesn’t mean that your child’s adoption is truly over. Adoption is a lifelong process, and it will now be up to you to keep the lines of communication open for your child to come to you with any questions or concerns.
For more information about obtaining a final decree of adoption in North Carolina or to begin the adoption process, call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time.
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