You’ve made the decision to adopt. You’re matched with a baby, and you navigated your home study. It’s the big day, and you’re ready to bring your baby home. Are you prepared? There are important things to remember as you take your new baby home. Here are tips for bringing home your adopted baby from our North Carolina adoption attorney:
Car seat laws in North Carolina
The first step to bringing your baby home is understanding North Carolina’s car seat laws. Your child must ride in the back seat in a car seat until they’re five years old and weigh more than 40 pounds. Beyond the law, it’s best to keep a child in the back seat until they’re 12 or 13. Even when a child grows, they must use a booster seat until they’re a certain age and weight.
A baby can be seriously injured if they’re in an accident while riding in the front seat. You should never place a baby in the front seat because they can be seriously hurt or killed by a deployed airbag if there’s a crash. Follow North Carolina’s car seat laws when you bring your baby home.
You and your baby need time to adjust
When you bring your baby home for adoption, be patient with yourself. You and your baby are making a big adjustment. You can’t spend too much time with your baby. It’s important to bond, but it’s also important to take time for self-care. There are going to be highs and lows. Managing your expectations can help you keep things in check as you and your baby adjust to your new life at home.
Gathering the required consents
In North Carolina, a father can sign a consent for adoption at any time before or after the child’s birth. The mother can sign after the baby is born. If you haven’t already, it’s time to have the mother prepare a consent to adoption. The mother reviews the consent form with her attorney in order to finalize it for signature and submission to the court.
The adoption isn’t final when you bring your baby home
Bringing the baby home from the hospital doesn’t finalize the adoption. In fact, the adoption hasn’t even formally begun. Your adoption isn’t final until it’s approved by the court.
Once your baby is born, you can file a petition for adoption and begin the process towards finalizing your adoption. If all of your paperwork is in order, the legal process can be quite smooth. Bobby Mills can help you prepare the paperwork so that you can avoid errors that can stall or unravel the adoption.
If you’re adopting internationally, your child may not automatically be an American citizen. There might be paperwork that you need to file federally in order for your child to gain citizenship. Your attorney can help you finalize your adoption in North Carolina and take the necessary steps to ensure that your child becomes an American citizen.
When the adoption is final, it’s final
Once your adoption is final, it’s final. You become the legal parent or parents of the baby. You can rest assured that there’s very little chance that there could be a problem with the adoption in the future. Of course, it’s very important to ensure that you complete the adoption thoroughly and in accordance with North Carolina law. Once your adoption is final, it’s difficult for anyone to succeed in asking a court to undo it or create other orders that might impact your full legal rights to parent your baby as you see it.
Remember adoption subsidies and tax credits
There may be significant financial help available to you as you begin your life with your new baby. You may qualify for federal tax credits. You may qualify to receive North Carolina adoption subsidies that provide payments until your child reaches adulthood.
Taking advantage of the financial assistance that may be available to you is an important way to begin life with your baby on the right foot. These assistance programs are not automatic. You have to claim them in the right way. We can help you examine the laws in order to determine what you qualify to claim. If you qualify for financial help, we can help you understand what you need to do in order to take advantage of what’s available.
There may be follow-up visits and appointments
Depending on what kind of adoption you have, you may need to have follow up visits from social workers or other supervisors. These visits help ensure that the adoption is going well. Follow-up visits are unusual. In most adoptions, they don’t happen, but they’re a possibility.
International adoptions may require follow-up visits because of the adoption laws in your child’s home country. If you have follow-up visits, they occur in the weeks and months after you bring your baby home. Typically, these visits are a formality and even an opportunity for you to learn about resources that may help you after you bring your baby home.
You may decide how much contact to have with the biological parents
Once your adoption is final, you have full legal and physical custody rights to your child. It’s up to you to determine how much contact you and your child have with the child’s biological parents. Over time, your opinions may change. Ultimately, it’s up to you.
If you have an open adoption, you should have conversations about post-adoption contact ahead of time. Even so, you can make changes if you think it’s best for the child. It’s up to you to establish expectations and a routine for contact with your baby’s biological parents after the adoption.
Continue medical care and special needs care for your child
Your child needs routine medical care. They also need the medical care that meets their special needs. You may know about your child’s special needs, but you might have a lot more to learn as your child grows. Be sure to attend to your child’s medical needs as your baby comes home and continues to grow.
There’s help if you need it
Remember, you’re not alone. There are post-adoption services and supports that can help you manage the transition when you bring your baby home. You also need and deserve respite care. Finding the right supports in your family and beyond can help you and your baby adjust as you settle into your new life. We’re here to help. If you have an adoption question, contact us today for an understanding and confidential discussion of your case.