Adoption can be a wonderful experience that improves the lives of parents and children alike, but before you can get to the happy family part of it, you must go through a fair amount of work. Among other things, adoption is a legal matter, and it can be a long, time-consuming and frustrating process.
North Dakota recognizes six main types of adoption: infant adoption, identified adoption, adoption of children with special needs, inter-country adoption, relative and stepparent adoption. These last two types are usually the most straightforward, although they can require a fair amount of work. The other types all have some difficulties.
These types of adoptions are arranged through private adoption agencies. Many people who start thinking about adoption imagine that they will be able to pick a baby, and they are more likely to want a healthy baby that shares the same basic background they do. However, U.S. adoption agencies have very few healthy Caucasian babies. Caucasian people who are looking to adopt will have many more options if they are willing to consider adopting babies that don’t look like them, or who have special needs. Note that these types of adoption can come with legal issues of its own. For instance, the Indian Child Welfare Act strictly limits adoption of American Indian children by non-Indian parents.
In identified adoption, the birth parents and the adoptive parent or parents make an agreement about adoption. Under North Dakota state law, the parties must arrange this agreement and transfer of parental rights through an adoption agency.
Finally, inter-country, or international, adoption can provide many more options for adoptive parents. This type must also go through an adoption agency, and it can involve a very complicated process.
A lawyer with experience in family law issues such as adoption can help adoptive parents understand their options and guide them through what can be a painstaking process. Adoption can take time, money and a lot of work, but the end result can be a valuable, life-changing experience like no other.