Adoptive parents, children and their rights

Last week in the Legal Corner, there was a brief discussion on the effects adoption could have in cases of a child’s inheritance from a parent or stepparent. Let’s explore the adoption process in a little more detail. This week in the Legal Corner, we will explore some of the laws and regulations that have an effect on the adoption process.

The process of adoption involves the lawful creation of a parent and child relationship between two individuals. This means that through the adoption process, an individual or non-biological parent can become the legal parent of an individual or non- biological child. However, in order for this process to be completely legal and without violating the biological parent’s rights, certain laws and regulations have to be followed.

In North Carolina, when the adoption process is completed and the adoption has been finalized, the parent and child relationship between the biological parent or parents and the child is terminated. Once the biological parent’s legal rights have been terminated, he or she has no additional rights or obligations to the child. The biological parents will no longer have a right to visitation or custody of the adopted child.

Since the adoption process involves such a permanent effect on the biological parents of the adopted child, North Carolina enacted certain laws that will protect the rights of the biological parents that will protect the child or children from unnecessary separation from their biological parents and that will protect the right of the adopted parents throughout the process.

Keep in mind that the entire purpose of the adoption process is to ensure that children who are unable to be cared for and nurtured in his or her current family environment are eventually legally placed in nurturing and loving family homes.

Once the adoptive parent or parents have received the final adoption decree, he or she also receives the same rights and responsibilities as a biological parent. Additionally, the adopted child also receives the same rights as a biological child would receive — this would include any inheritance or personal property.

Next week in the Legal Corner, we will cover in detail a few methods of adoption and how each method is completed through North Carolina regulations.

As always, anything involving state law or regulation can be complex. If you or someone you know has a question concerning the adoption process or is interested in providing a home for a child in need, contact an attorney and find out your options or your local Department of Social Services. Be informed. Be prepared.