American Adoptions is a private domestic adoption agency and, as such, does not work in the realm of foster care. However, it’s a system that’s very important to us, and there are plenty of foster children for adoption in North Carolina who need safe, loving and permanent homes. With this in mind, we’ve compiled the answers to frequently asked questions by those considering adopting a foster child in North Carolina.
A family might make the choice to adopt from foster care for many reasons, such as:
They were foster parenting a child whose biological parents’ rights were terminated during the child’s stay with them.
They don’t care about aspects such as race, age, gender or special needs; they’re just interested in adopting a child.
They want to give a home to someone who doesn’t have one.
They’re attracted to the fact that adopting from foster care costs less than other types of adoption, like international adoption.
To be eligible to adopt a foster child in North Carolina, you must:
Be at least 18
Complete criminal records checks and be finger printed
Complete training, depending on the foster care adoption agency you work with
If, instead of adopting from foster care in NC, you wish to foster parent, you must:
Be at least 21
Complete criminal records check and be finger printed
Complete 30 hours of “Trauma-Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence/Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting”
If you work with your county department of social services or a licensed private agency, you can adopt from foster care for free. If, however, you work with a private agency not under contract with North Carolina, you may be charged a fee.
On your North Carolina foster care adoption journey, you will:
Choose a NC foster care adoption professional in your area. As noted above, working with your county’s department of social services will allow you to adopt from foster care for free.
Complete the necessary parenting classes with your agency. Some agencies who also help families to become foster parents will require that you complete the same training they do, which is 30 hours of “Trauma-Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence/Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting.” These classes will help to prepare you to adopt a child that may have an attachment disorder or may have been neglected or abused.
Complete an application with your agency. Be prepared to provide information about yourselves, your homes, and your reasons for pursuing adoption. You’ll also let them know what you’re comfortable with in terms of an adoption situation, such as any preferences you have in terms of age, gender, cultural background or special needs.
Complete a home study. The adoption home study is the same whether you are pursuing a private domestic adoption or an adoption from foster care in North Carolina. It will include three phases: a documentation phase, a home inspection, and interviews with each family member in your home. This can feel intimidating, but don’t worry; your home study provider is there to help you on the road to growing your family!
Wait for placement. The amount of time this takes will most likely depend on how flexible you were on your application. For example, if you are only interested in adopting a girl under the age of three, it may take longer to match with a child who meets those requirements.
After your child is placed with you, you’ll be required to finalize his or her adoption. In North Carolina, this will include an adoption finalization process that meets the same requirements as a private domestic adoption.
After your child’s adoption is finalized, congratulations! You have successfully completed your North Carolina foster care adoption. Remember, however, that the adoption process is never really finished. As parents, it is your responsibility to make sure your child knows their adoption story and feels comfortable coming to you with questions and concerns. If your child was adopted at an older age or has an attachment disorder, you may also consider counseling to work through the emotions and fears that come with that scenario.
Thus far, this article has focused predominantly on adopting from foster care in North Carolina. However, there are actually three different ways to get involved with North Carolina’s foster care system. Obviously, there’s adopting from foster care. This is when you adopt a child whose parents have already had their rights terminated by a judge. These children are residing with foster parents while they wait to be matched with permanent families.
You can also foster to adopt in North Carolina. This is when a family fosters a child whose parents have not yet had their rights terminated and adopts the child if he or she does become available for adoption later on. Since the goal of foster care is always to reunite a child with his or her biological parents when possible, this can be an emotionally risky endeavor. If this is your goal, you have to be prepared for the possibility that your foster child will eventually leave your home to be reunited with the biological parents.
Other families choose to foster parent, which means providing a temporary home for children while their biological families are working through whatever obstacles caused the child to be put into foster care in the first place. The length of time a foster child may be placed in your home can vary in this situation.
North Carolina has many children in need of families willing to foster or adopt from foster care. Around half of North Carolina’s foster children are placed with relatives or group homes. Nearly one-third of all of North Carolina’s foster children will not return to their biological parents.
For more information about foster parenting or pursuing foster care adoption in North Carolina, contact social services in your county.
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