If you’re thinking about adoption in North Carolina, you may be considering a private or independent adoption. A private adoption can be the right path for an adoptive family, and many individuals and couples choose to add to their families each year with an independent adoption.
Should you decide to pursue a private adoption, there are some things to watch out for. With a little bit of planning, you can avoid the pitfalls and problems that often arise in independent adoptions. Here are potential pitfalls and things to watch out for in a private adoption in North Carolina:
Failing to understand what makes an adoption a private adoption
Many adoptive couples and biological parents enter into a private or independent adoption without fully understanding what it means. A private adoption is an adoption that occurs without the help of a third-party agency. The biological and adoptive parents work directly to complete the paperwork and finalize the adoption. It’s up to the parties to directly work out how the adoption is going to work and what the expectations are going forward.
One of the pitfalls of a private adoption is failing to understand what it means to have a private adoption. All of the parties involved need to understand what a private adoption means. A private or independent adoption may occur with or without the assistance of an attorney, but the procedures and requirements for private adoptions and agency-assisted adoptions are different. An important pitfall to avoid in a private adoption is failing to understand and appreciate what a private adoption means and what the parties must do in order to complete the process.
Having unrealistic expectations
An important thing to watch out for in an independent adoption is unrealistic expectations of the parties. Without an agency to help you know what to consider and discuss, there can be confusion among the parents about what an adoption means and how the adoption is going to work. Parents need to make sure that they’re on the same page about what’s going to happen before, during and after the adoption.
For example, the parties should clarify what kind of contact the birth parents will be allowed to have with the child after the adoption is complete. They should clarify what it means to place a child for adoption and what rights the birth parents are giving up by placing the child for an independent adoption. Failing to clarify expectations can lead to hurt feelings. In a private adoption, it can be too easy to avoid important conversations about what each person wants and expects to happen in the adoption process. Not knowing what to talk about or failing to talk about how things are going to work can cause hurt feelings and even derail a private adoption.
Not having an agreement regarding expenses
Adoptive parents can pay a birth mother’s living expenses during her pregnancy and for six weeks after the birth. They can also pay for the mother’s legal fees and pay for counseling services. In addition, the adoptive parents can also pay for medical expenses for the birth of the child.
The parties should clarify what kinds of expenses the adoptive parents will cover for the birth mother both during and after the child’s birth. Adoptive parents aren’t required to pay these expenses, though, so it’s important to make sure everyone’s on the same page when it comes to expenses involved in the private adoption process. Discussing what the adoptive parents plan to pay can avoid hurt feelings and prevent financial problems for any of the parties involved.
Not getting the consent of all of the parties
An adoption can’t proceed without the consent of both biological parents. It’s not enough to take the birth mother’s word for it that the father consents to the adoption. Rather, the adoptive parents must notify the biological father and serve him with a copy of the paperwork, or they must take reasonable steps to notify the father of the proceedings.
Failing to notify a father about the adoption petition can create problems for an adoptive family. Even though it may seem easier not to involve a biological father, the law requires adoptive families to notify the biological father of their intent to adopt the child. There’s no shortcut or way to avoid this requirement. Trying to skirt the law in this respect can create uncertainty in the finalization of the adoption. A North Carolina adoption attorney can help you understand what to do in order to comply with notice requirements in a North Carolina private adoption.
Failing to get a home study and consider its results
An adoptive family in North Carolina must be qualified to adopt. In a private adoption, it’s up to the adoptive parents to complete and submit a home study that affirms their qualifications and suitability to adopt the child. In an independent adoption, parents can run into trouble when they fail to complete a home study or fail to complete the home study properly. The court is going to check to make sure there’s a complete home study before the court approves the adoption.
In addition to needing to get a home study, a prospective adoptive family in an independent adoption should be careful to consider the results of their home study. For example, a court isn’t likely to approve an adoption if there’s domestic violence in the home or a significant criminal history with one of the parents. In addition, if anyone in the home or the prospective adoptive child has special needs, there may be additional considerations when determining whether to approve the adoption and what supports the adoptive family should have in order to succeed. Adoptive parents should enter into the home study process with an open mind, and they should be willing to consider the results of the study.
Failing to put a pre-birth order into place
A pre-birth order can give adoptive parents some rights to the child immediately after the child’s birth. They can take the child home from the hospital. If there are complications at the child’s birth, the adoptive parents can immediately make decisions for the child. Many parents who try to go it alone with an independent adoption fail to put a pre-adoptive order into place. Missing this step can make the adoption more complicated or ultimately cause the adoption to fail.
How can I make my private or independent adoption successful?
A private or independent adoption can be a great way to add to your family if you avoid the mistakes and errors that can complicate the process. If you’re considering a private or independent adoption, a North Carolina adoption attorney can help you ensure that you watch out for potential problems and pitfalls. If you’re considering a private or independent adoption, we can help. We have decades of experience in the adoption process, and we can help you make sure that you take the right steps to ensure that the process meets your expectations and goes as smoothly as possible. Contact us today for a confidential discussion of your case.