During the month of November, communities across America celebrate National Adoption Month. At AN|R Law: A Negotiated Resolution, we are proud to celebrate adoption every day of the year. As an award-winning family law attorney, I have extensive experience in legal matters that include adoption and name changes. Throughout my decade-long legal career, I’ve had the honor of working with dozens of families during their adoption journeys. AN|R Law is proud to serve families across North Carolina with law office locations Raleigh, Greenville, Beaufort, and Wilmington.
Every year, there are thousands of related and unrelated domestic adoptions in North Carolina. This type of data is collected by National Council for Adoption. Every five years, the nonprofit puts out a study called, Adoption: By the Numbers, which serves as the only comprehensive source of adoption statistics. The publication explores trends in domestic infant adoption, intercountry adoption, and adoption through foster care. The most recent edition was published in 2017 and includes data from 2014, which is considered the most recent available data on domestic adoption in the United States. According to this report, North Carolina reported a total of 2,639 related and unrelated domestic adoptions in 2014. These numbers come from 1,406 related domestic adoptions and 1,233 unrelated domestic adoptions. The unrelated domestic adoptions were facilitated through public agencies, private agencies, and private individuals. Also included in these unrelated cases were 839 adoptions of children with special needs and 358 adoptions of infants.
In North Carolina, family law attorneys provide an essential service during the related and unrelated domestic adoption process and subsequent name change request. These processes can be overwhelming for families who aren’t familiar with them. Here are a few of AN|R Law’s responsibilities and priorities when we work with you to support your family’s adoption journey:
1. Facilitating the overall process
Adoptions are some of the most rewarding types of services for our law firm. At AN|R Law, it is our goal to help you complete your family. Whether you’re having your first child or adding another member to your family, we are honored to be part of the process.
To be honest, adoption can be complicated and elaborate. This is especially true for those who are not familiar with the process, which is often the case for first-time adopters. However, when you choose to work with AN|R Law, we are committed to guiding you through the complex process of related or unrelated domestic adoptions. Related adoptions include stepparent, grandparent, or other family members. Unrelated adoptions include working with an agency or other independent adoption resource. AN|R Law is familiar with the progression of adoption cases and how they should be facilitated in the State of North Carolina to move as swiftly and precisely as possible.
2. Navigating complex cases
While we strive for adoption to be a smooth process, sometimes there are hurdles surrounded by conflict. This can happen when there is a contested adoption or other unexpected issues. The legal team at AN|R Law has extensive experience in conflict resolution. I have a certificate in Dispute Resolution from the Dispute Resolution Institute and I’m also a collaboratively trained family law attorney. My firm handles the majority of our family law cases through alternative dispute resolution, so we work with clients to come to a resolution outside of the courtroom. While this doesn’t happen frequently in adoption cases, complicated legal issues can arise, especially in a contested adoption. Having an attorney to navigate you through this process can be essential.
Adoptions can also be extremely complex when it comes to infants, children, and teenagers with special needs or particular circumstances. Some of the greatest privileges of my career have been helping families finalize their adoptions of children who have special needs.
3. Handling all paperwork and filing
During an adoption, there are many forms and documents that need to be gathered, signed, and filed. My firm works with adopters who are unfamiliar with the detailed paperwork and procedures that are part of adoption. Since each adoption case is unique, each will have different needs in terms of forms and documents. AN|R Law is committed to guiding you through this process with ease and understanding. We will prepare all forms, explain each in detail, and answer any questions prior to asking for your signature. We want you to be comfortable and confident during the adoption process, so we are dedicated to providing you all the information you need during the filing stage.
4. Requesting name changes
In the case of requesting a name change for a child, there are many steps and important filings that must be made as part of this process. AN|R Law has handled name changes for children and adults, so we can manage and facilitate it with ease. We will handle all document preparation, information requests, and filing processes. If you need to obtain an updated birth certificate for your new family member, we will guide you through this process after the adoption decree. A new birth certificate can be requested through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and Office of Vital Records. The legal team at AN|R Law is experienced in this state-regulated procedure and can reduce the stress of the request process.
If you haven’t started the adoption process yet or you are currently in the information gathering stage, there are many great online resources available in North Carolina. Click here to visit the NC Kids Adoption & Foster Care Network with hundreds of children who are currently looking for safe, loving homes. You can also learn more about adoption in North Carolina through the State Department of Health and Human Services by clicking here.
To learn more about working with AN|R Law for adoption and name change services, please reach out to our office. We have four North Carolina locations in Raleigh, Greenville, Beaufort, and Wilmington to serve you and your family. Our legal team would be honored to serve you and your family during your adoption journey. Call our office today to schedule a consultation: 252-702-4376