Many people adopt infants and small children. But adopting a teenager can be just as rewarding. By adopting a teenager, you can provide them with love, stability, and support as they approach their adult years.
Adopting a teenager comes with unique challenges. If you're considering adopting a teenager in North Carolina, you may have some questions about the process. Here's what you need to know.
What Are the Requirements?
You must be at least 18 years old to adopt a child in North Carolina. The state does not require you to meet income or homeowning requirements, although it's a good idea to weigh these factors towards your decision.
What Does the Process Look Like?
Adoptive parents must go through a criminal background check and meet training requirements through their adoption agency. You must also agree to a home study. Home studies include visits to your residence and interviews to determine if you're qualified to care for the child.
How Long Does Adoption Take?
Although there is no set timeframe for adoption, the process often takes over six months to complete. North Carolina also requires that children stay at your home residency for at least 90 days before finalizing the adoption.
How Does Adopting a Teenager Differ From Adopting a Young Child?
The main difference between adopting a teen and a young child is consent. Teenagers can decide whether or not they are adopted. North Carolina law states that children 12 years and older must agree to the adoption. Since teenage adoption rates are low, it may also take less time to find a match.
How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Teenager?
Adoption costs vary significantly from case to case. Since they handle a bulk of adoption services, adoption agencies typically charge a large fee. These fees cover items like adoption screening, matching services, counseling, and case management. The local adoption agency, A Child's Hope, estimates costs to be around $35,000.
Do I Qualify for Financial Assistance?
Families who adopt teenage children may qualify for financial support. North Carolina provides children adopted after age 12 with access to NC Reach. This program lets these children attend any North Carolina public university or community college at no cost. You can learn more at the NC Reach website. Many families are also eligible to receive monthly medical benefits and other payments.
How Can an Attorney Help?
An experienced family attorney can help you every step of the way during your adoption. They can help you navigate the legal and financial complexities of adopting a teenager and work to achieve successful adoption. Contact our attorneys at 704-470-2440 to get started.