North Dakota Adoption

by | Nov 20, 2020 | Family Law

By: Alexis Doree |

Steps for Adoption in North Dakota

Adoption is the legal process by which an individual takes on the relationship of a parent to a child of another person, particularly (but not necessarily) a minor. Adoptions are easily one of the happiest parts of family law and are one of our firm’s favorite cases to take on. While this is a very exciting process, it can also be complex which is why it is important to have an experienced adoption attorney at your side.

           There are various types of adoptions, including stepparent, agency, private placement, relative, embryo, and foster care adoptions. Regardless of which type you are considering, each process requires multiple steps that must be met.

           The first step is research. Understanding how the process works is imperative to determine if this is something you want to proceed with. Adoption is not for everyone and is something that needs to be fully thought through as an adopted child deserves your full love and commitment, just like a biological child would.

          The second step is deciding the type of adoption. Once you have decided that you are ready to pursue an adoption, it is time to choose which type of adoption is right for you. Do you want to adopt a baby in North Dakota? Or a newborn born in the United States? What about a toddler from a different country?

          Once you have decided which type of adoption is best suited for you, it is time to begin the adoption process.

         The third step is selecting an adoption agency. In North Dakota, all adoptions are facilitated through private adoption agencies. These agencies are privately financed and are required to be licensed or approved by the state in which it operates. Agencies in North Dakota facilitate all adoptions involving infants and foreign-born children. They also facilitate “public agency adoptions” which are children from the foster care system. North Dakota contracts with three private agencies to provide adoption services for children adopted from foster care, as well as the families that adopt them. This collaboration is called the Adults Adopting Special Kids (AASK) Program.

* When choosing an agency, make sure to learn about their fees. North Dakota adoptions are not free. Each private agency has their own fees, which can be between $5,000 to $11,000 for domestic and inter-country adoptions. It is important for prospective parents to look into the costs and payment schedules before choosing an agency.

           The fourth step is completing the application process. When prospective parents contact an agency, they may be asked to attend an orientation where they learn about the agency’s procedures, available children, and can obtain application forms. Agencies review these applications to determine whom it will accept as future adoptive parents. If you are accepted by a private agency, you may have to pay a registration fee.

           The fifth step is participating in the pre-placement inquiry. This is known as the “home study” or “adoption assessment.” This is a state-required evaluation of the physical and emotional environment of the home in which a child would be placed. It consists of interviews conducted by a social worker, with at least one taking place in the home. These interviews are very personal, and can include questions regarding income, assets, health, the stability of the marriage (if applicable), and/or family relationships. Physical exams may be conducted to ensure the prospective parents are in good health. Prospective adoptive parents are also required to undergo a fingerprint and background check. This process can take up to a few months, depending on the agency.

           Next, you wait. Depending on the type of adoption and the child you wish to adopt, this process can take a few years. The length of time depends on the availability and your position on the waitlist.

           The last step is completing the legal procedure. After the child has been placed, adoptive parents must fulfill the legal requirements of adoption. This is when you should hire an adoption attorney if you haven’t already. Normally, a child must live with the adoptive family for a minimum of six months before the adoption is legalized. Some inter-country adoptions are completed before the child even leaves his or her birth country, although the finalization depends on the child’s type of visa and laws in the family’s state.

            If you are considering adoption or are in the middle of one and need assistance, please contact Rosenquist Law Office at (701) 775-0654 or email us at

            The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only. This information is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as so. 

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