Comprehensive legal support for all types of adoptions throughout the state of North Carolina.

Tailoring Advice for Your Unique Journey

Pennington Brienzi Law, PLLC provides a range of adoption services, including Independent Adoptions, Step Parent Adoptions (including those involving Same-Sex Spouses), Relative Adoptions, and Adult Adoptions. We invite you to reach out to us for a consultation to discuss your unique requirements and explore how our team can assist you.

Helping ensure a smooth, legally compliant, and successful adoption process, giving you peace of mind throughout the journey.

Offering tailored advice to match the specific circumstances of your adoption, ensuring it meets your needs.

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Compassionate Approach

At our law firm, we empathize with the deeply personal and emotional nature of adoption. This is why we offer individualized care and a compassionate approach to guide you seamlessly through the adoption journey.


Find answers to frequently asked questions about adoption matters.

The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors.  There are many different types of adoptions including Stepparent Adoptions; Relative Adoptions; Independent Adoptions; Adult Adoptions; Agency Adoptions; International Adoptions; Second Parent Adoptions.  The timeline will depend upon the specific factors of your case including but not limited to whether or not home studies or reports are needed for your matter; if all parties consent or not; and whether or not your matter involves interstate issues.  Speaking with an attorney about your particular circumstances will give you the best idea as to how long your process will take.  Sometimes the speed of the process can be completely out of the attorney’s and the parties’ control, as the clerk of court in each county is responsible for adoption filings and depending upon which county you are filing in, the review process could take some time.

The cost of an adoption also depends upon your specific circumstances and what may be needed for your filing.  Speak with an attorney about the costs that may be associated with your particular situation. 

Be sure to save all receipts for all expenses so that you can speak with your attorney as well as your financial advisor about anything that may be able to be used on your taxes.

When an adoption is filed in North Carolina, an Affidavit of Fees and Expenses must be submitted to the court, indicating all the expenses that were paid by the Petitioner(s) during this adoption process.  North Carolina statute provides for what payments are legal during the process:

  • 48-10-103. Lawful payments related to adoption.
  • An adoptive parent, or another person acting on behalf of an adoptive parent, may pay the reasonable and actual fees and expenses for:
  • Services of an agency in connection with an adoption;
  • Medical, hospital, nursing, pharmaceutical, traveling, or other similar expenses incurred by a mother or her child incident to the pregnancy and birth or any illness of the adoptee;
  • Counseling services for a parent or the adoptee that are directly related to the adoption and are provided by a licensed psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed clinical mental health counselor, licensed or certified social worker, fee-based practicing pastoral counselor or other licensed clinical mental health counselor, or an employee of an agency;
  • Ordinary living expenses of a mother during the pregnancy and for no more than six weeks after the birth;
  • Expenses  incurred  in  ascertaining  the  information  required  under G.S. 48-3-205 about an adoptee and the adoptee’s biological family;
  • Legal services, court costs, and traveling or other administrative expenses connected with an adoption, including any legal service connected with the adoption performed for a parent who consents to the adoption of a minor or relinquishes the minor to an agency; and
  • Preparation of the preplacement assessment and report to the court.
  1.   A birth parent, or another person acting on the parent’s behalf, may receive or accept payments authorized in subsection (a) of this section; or a provider of a service listed in subsection (a) of this section may receive or accept payments for that service.
  • A payment authorized by subsection (a) of this section may not be made contingent on the placement of the minor for adoption, relinquishment of the minor, consent to the adoption, or cooperation in the completion of the adoption. Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, if the adoption is not completed, a person who has made payments authorized by subsection (a) of this section may not recover them; but neither is this person liable for any further payment unless the person has agreed in a signed writing with a provider of a service to make this payment regardless of the outcome of the proceeding for adoption.
  • A prospective adoptive parent may seek to recover a payment if the parent or other person receives or accepts it with the fraudulent intent to prevent the proposed adoption from being completed.
  • An agency may charge or accept a reasonable fee or other compensation from prospective adoptive parents. In assessing a fee or charge, the agency may take into account the income of adoptive parents and may use a sliding scale related to income in order to provide services to persons of all incomes. (1975, c. 335, s. 1; 1991, c. 335, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, ss. 412, 1264; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995, c. 457, s. 2; 2001-487, s. 40(c); 2019-240, s. 3(b).)


Agencies provide a number of services for those looking to adopt, such as preparing the home study, report to the court, advertising, matching  birth parents and adoptive parents, accepting legal custody of the child, making the placement, and providing postplacement services for the family.  An agency would be a good place to start if you want to adopt a child but do not yet have a child to adopt. 

The attorney will help you with the process of filing the adoption petition with the court and obtaining and completing all the necessary legal paperwork obtaining the adoption decree.

The Petitioner (or prospective parent(s)), when filing the Petition for Adoption can at that time ask that the court change the adoptee’s name on the birth certificate when the Decree is entered.  Once the adoption is granted, there is a report that is sent to Vital Records, asking that they amend the adoptee’s birth certificate to reflect the new name, as well as the new parent or parents.  When the adoption is granted, it severs the legal relationship between the adoptee and the adoptee’s birth parent or parents (depending upon the type of adoption). 

You must be at least 18 years old to file a petition for adoption.  While there is no age “limit” by NC statute, keep in mind that some agencies or adoption professionals may place an age limit on their applications, particularly when it involves adoption of infants. 

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