Adopt a Child

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At times, children who have been abused or neglected must be removed from their homes for their safety. Adoption is the permanent, legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from birth parents to adoptive parents when the birth parents’ legal rights have been terminated. Adoptive parents make a commitment to become a child’s legal family and to nurture, care for and support them throughout their lives.   

Who are the Children Waiting to be Adopted?

Children available for adoption are currently receiving foster care services. Most of the children waiting to be adopted are school-age children, teenagers, groups of siblings who want to stay together, children with special needs and African American children. 

More information about why older youth need families 

More information about the benefits of adopting siblings 


Who Can Adopt?

Families wanting to adopt can be older or younger, wealthy or of modest income, two-parent or single parent, home-owners or renters. The primary requirement is that you can provide a healthy, loving and nurturing home with adequate space for yourself and your child. 
For more information about the adoption process, contact the Adoption Resource Team at

Becoming an Adoptive Parent

Wake County works in partnership with a number of agencies to find families for our children in foster care. Families who are primarily interested in adoption will need to complete an adoption home study prior to being considered. Once you have received approval to become an adoptive home, your family can begin to look into the children available for adoption and work with the agency to find a good match for your family. Wake County and your agency will then partner with you to transition the child into your home. 

Because all children in foster care have experienced some form of trauma, parents who adopt from foster care are encouraged to undergo specific training to understand the effects of trauma and help children heal.  

Visit NC Department of Health & Human Services for a list of private adoption agencies. 


Children Available for Adoption

Wake County’s waiting children are listed on the NC Kids website, which helps to identify possible family and child matches for consideration. 

More information about N.C. Kids Adoption and Foster Care Network 


Adoption & Post Adoption Support

Many of the children available for adoption through the North Carolina child welfare system are eligible for monthly payments, medical benefits and other services. The monthly adoption assistance payment in North Carolina is based on the age of the child and the child’s specific special needs. 

Wake County provides post-adoption support services including guidance and support with adoption-related issues, information and referrals. North Carolina also contracts with private agencies to provide regional post-adoption support services. 

More information about Adoption & Post Adoption Support, contact

Openness in Adoption from Foster Care

Children who are adopted from foster care often have significant relationships with their birth family and benefit from some level of openness in adoption. When possible, Wake County encourages and supports adoptive and birth families to maintain a relationship after the adoption has finalized. The term open adoption refers to a number of practices ranging from the exchange of letters and pictures to phone calls and visits.

Adoption Assistance (Confidential Intermediary)

North Carolina is a “closed adoption” state, which means that adoption records are sealed once adoptions are final. When family connections are lost, adult adoptees and birth parents can seek to find information or locate each other through Confidential Intermediary (CI) services. Confidential Intermediary services (CI) are for an adult adoptee who is 18 years or older, a birth parent, an adult sibling of an adult adoptee, an adult biological half sibling of an adult adoptee, or an adult family member of a deceased adult adoptee.   

Contact Wake County Health & Human Services for more information about Adoption Assistance Contact  

Call: (919) 212-7447

See the NC DHHS Confidential Intermediary Information Guide for additional information about Adoption Assistance 

Step-Parent and Relative Adoptions

Do you live in Wake County and interested in adopting your stepchild?  Do you have a relative child in your custody whom you would like to adopt?  If so, you will need to file an adoption petition with the Wake County Clerk of Court, Special Proceedings. You can complete and file this document on your own or with the assistance of an attorney of your choice. After the adoption petition has been filed, the Clerk of Court will send a copy of the petition and the Order for Report on Proposed Adoption to Wake County Health & Human Services (WCHHS).  After WCHHS receives the documents, WCHHS will mail the family an introductory letter with instructions of who to contact to initiate the process with WCHHS.  WCHHS will complete an adoption study and a report to the court.   

For questions about filing documents at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office,  

Call: (919) 792-4600 (follow the prompts for ‘Special Proceedings’).