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Adoption Services

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foster children

Adoption is a means of providing permanent placement for children who can never return to their family home. Adoptive homes are carefully assessed and, when approved, they must comply with state policy and legal procedures for adoption. Adoptive homes provide love, hope, and permanence to children who are legally freed for adoption.

About Foster Children and Adoption
Adoption can bring great joys and rewards, but it is also a long-term commitment that must not be entered into lightly. Each child deserves a "forever" family, one that is willing to be there for them every day, with equal measures of love and discipline. It may take time to win their trust. Many children require regular medical attention or counseling. Parenting one of these children can be hard work, but for the right family, who offers a great deal of love, the rewards can be tremendous.

Submit an Application
The Chatham County Adoption Social Worker will ask you to complete an application, which will include general information about your family's background and composition. You will also be asked for a description of the child you seek to adopt. You must complete an application for adoption to begin the process.

Complete the Home Study
You will participate in a series of family consultations with a social worker to help you understand both the adoption process and your responsibilities as an adoptive parent. This agency will require that you to take special preparation and selection classes to prepare you to become an adoptive parent. These classes are important. They will provide you with information and the necessary skills to prepare you for a child who has experienced losses. They will also help you assess your ability to provide a home for such a child.

Work with Your Social Worker to Find the Right Child
Once your preplacement assessment is completed, your social worker will work with you to locate a child whose needs can be met in your family.

Visits with the Child
Once a child has been identified, a visitation plan is established so that the child and your family can get to know each other before a placement is made.

Placement of Your Child and Supervisory Period
All children, even infants, will have some adjustment problems. A child requires much patience, tolerance and love. North Carolina law requires the child to be in your home at least three to six months before the adoption process can be completed. In some instances, the time needed for adjustment and support will be longer. During this time, your social worker will visit in your home to provide support and assistance.

Legalize the Adoption in Court
While some adoptive parents choose to file their own legal documents, it is recommended that an attorney be retained for filing the legal proceedings. The legal fees are arranged between the adoptive parents and the attorney. If the child is a special needs child and is in the custody of an agency, the legal fees can be reimbursed. The laws relating to adoption are found in Chapter 48 of the North Carolina General Statutes.

Legal Steps for Completing Adoptions:

Filing a petition for adoption

The first step is filing a petition signed by the adoptive parent, who must be a resident or living in the state for at least six consecutive months before filing the petition. The petition may be filed in the county where the adoptee lives, where the child placement agency is located or where the petitioner lives at the time of filing. The following documents must be filed with the petition:

  • Affidavit of parentage 
  • Legal clearance documents 
  • Pre-placement assessment (home study) 
  • Non-identifying background information and health history form 
  • Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children documents, if applicable 
  • Legal risk statement, if applicable 
  • Child support obligation, if applicable

Once a petition is filed with all of the proper documents, the Clerk of Court will order the agency to make a report on the proposed adoption, if required for that type of adoption.

Filing a Report on the Proposed Adoption
This report is filed in court by your assigned adoption social worker. This report includes a history and family background of the child, the birth parents and the adoptive parent(s), an assessment of the adjustment of the child and family, and a recommendation as to whether the adoption should be finalized.

Before the adoption is finalized, an itemized list of any out-of-pocket costs, such as filing fees or court costs, must be filed with the court.

Decree of Adoption
The Decree of Adoption makes the child legally one of the family.

Birth Certificate
The child is issued a new birth certificate after the adoption documents are sent to the N.C. Division of Social Services where they are indexed for permanent retention. The division notifies the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the state in which the child was born to issue a new birth certificate. The certificate shows the adoptive parent(s) as the child's parents and reflects the child's new name, if changed. This agency may release any non-identifying information after the adoption is finalized, but the law does not permit any identifying information to be released. 

(NOTE: Information above was obtained from NC Kids)

If interested in adoption, contact:
Chatham County Department of Social Services
Post Office Box 489
Pittsboro, NC 27312

Wilder Horner, Placement Supervisor

Patty Fox, Adoption Social Worker

Meagan Albert, Adoption Social Worker



Related Links: 
Resources on
North Carolina Division of Social Services