Steps to Adoption in North Carolina

1. Choose one adoption agency. You can choose your local county department of social services or a private agency. Call NC Kids or go to for information on all of your options.

2. Submit an application. To begin the process, you will first complete an application for adoption at the agency you select. The agency will ask about your family and the children you are interested in parenting.

3. Complete the Pre-Placement Assessment or PPA (adoption home study). You will participate in preparatory and consultation sessions to help you understand the adoption process and your responsibilities as an adoptive parent. The Pre-Placement Assessment is different from a home study for foster parenting.

4. Work with your social worker to find the right child. Once your Pre-Placement Assessment is complete, your social worker will work with you to locate a child whose needs can be met in your family.

5. Visit with your child. Once a child has been identified for you, a visiting plan is set up so that the child and your family can get to know each other before a placement is made.

6. Bring your child home. All children, even very young children, will go through a period of adjustment when they join a new family. A child moving into a new home needs patience, tolerance, and love. Your social worker should be there to support you.

7. Supervisory period. North Carolina law requires your child to be in your home at least three months before the adoption process can be legally completed. In some instances the time needed for adjustment will be longer. During this time your social worker will visit with you in your home to provide support and assistance.

8. Legalize the adoption in court. While some adoptive parents choose to file their own legal documents, it is recommended that you use an attorney for filing the legal proceedings. If the child is a special needs child who is in the custody of an agency, funds are available to assist with legal fees.

For more on how to become an adoptive parent, answers to common questions, and information about children who need adoptive homes, and resources for adoptive families, read North Carolina’s brochure “You Don’t Have to be Perfect to be a Perfect Parent” online at: