Gay & LGBT Adoption

As a same sex married couple can we adopt a child?

If we are married, how do I establish my parental rights to my spouse’s child?

As a single gay person can I adopt a child?

Can I adopt my partner’s child when we are not married?

Married Couples Can Adopt Jointly

In North Carolina, same-sex couples in North Carolina can adopt children through the same processes, with the same requirements, as heterosexual couples.

Why should I adopt when my name is on the child’s birth certificate?

As an example, take the case of a same-sex female couple. Often the child is genetically related to one spouse and not to the other spouse. One spouse gives birth and the other spouse contributed the eggs used to conceive the child.

The North Carolina’s Vital Records office will list two married women on a birth certificate as parents. The birth certificate will provide sufficient authority for each spouse for routine parenting activities like interacting with school officials and health care providers.

The birth certificate alone will not provide sufficient protection for the child or the nongenetic parent. A birth certificate only creates a presumption of parentage. The presumption of parentage can be rebutted by evidence that only one spouse is genetically related to the child. Without more, the law only protects the parent with the genetic connection to the child.

Despite being identified as a parent on the child’s birth certificate, there is no legal protection for the relationship between the nongenetic parent and child. The child may not be able to inherit or receive social security benefits from the nongenetic parent. The child’s relationship with the nongenetic parent might not be protected if the spouses separate or divorce.

Adoption as a stepparent by the nongenetic parent is the best way to create enforceable legal rights as a parent. Creating a legal relationship establishes enforceable parental rights for the nongenetic parent. It also protects the child’s right to a relationship with the nongenetic parent in the event of a divorce or the death of the biological parent.

The Process.

Marriage & Cohabitation – North Carolina law requires that a couple be married and the nongenetic parent must live with the child for at least six months before filing a petition for adoption. If you lived together before getting married, that time will not count towards this requirement. There are exceptions to this rule.

Petition & Consents – The nongenetic parent files a petition to adopt. The genetic parent signs a consent and if the child is over the age of 12, the child must consent to the adoption.

Parental Rights of the Other Genetic Parent – We are required to address the parental rights of the other genetic parent. There are three ways to proceed. 1) Obtain the parent’s consent or an affidavit from a clinic attesting that a donor’s rights have been waived; 2) Serve the other parent with notice of the adoption. If the parent fails to object, proceed without him or her; or 3) File a petition for termination of parental rights if grounds exist.

Postplacement Reports – The court will require two visits by a social worker and a report to the court. Someone will come to your home and meet with you and then file a report.

Waiver of Postplacement Reports – When you have been married at least two years, the court has the discretion to waive the requirement for postplacement reports. This is accomplished by making an application by motion to the Clerk. It is entirely discretionary with the Clerk. Results will vary from county to county and case to case. To waive postplacement reports, the court requires FBI, SBI and local county criminal records checks for the petitioning parent.

The adoption process is complex and can vary depending on your situation. It’s critical to have an experienced adoption attorney on your side to help you navigate the process.

Second Parent Adoption by Unmarried Individuals

A true second-parent adoption is not available in North Carolina. A single person cannot adopt another person’s child without terminating that person’s parental rights. Two single individuals cannot adopt a child together in North Carolina.

Adoption by Single Individuals

Single individuals are permitted to adopt in North Carolina. Single individuals are subject to the same requirements as married couples.

North Carolina Same-sex Adoption Help

Bobby Mills has over 30 years’ experience in adoptions in North Carolina and can help you with your adoption. adoption. If you are a member of a non-traditional family and wish to adopt your partner’s child or have your partner adopt your child, please call us today at 919-533-4025 to set up a consultation.

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Why Choose Mills Adoption Law?

  • Experience–Attorney Bobby Mills has over 35 years of experience representing birth parents, adoptive parents, and foster parents through all aspects of adoption and parental rights.
  • Adoption Specialist–Other firms include adoption and parental rights as part of their larger family law practice areas. At Mills Adoption Law, we focus exclusively on adoption, parental rights, and foster parent rights.
  • Board-Certified–Attorney Bobby Mills is a Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproductive Attorneys, certified by the board as a specialist in family law, and the former director of a child placement agency.
  • Agency Attorney–At Mills Adoption Law, we also represent child placement agencies and their clients.

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Why Should You Choose An Adoption Attorney?

Adoption is a wonderful option for expanding your family, but the laws governing the process are quite complex. Working with an attorney with significant experience in adoption law will help ensure that the adoption process goes smoothly.

An adoption attorney will:


We will provide an unbiased explanation of adoption procedures and develop a legally secure plan tailored to your needs.


We will assess the risks involved, including determining what payments are permissible and ensuring that birth parents are treated fairly and their rights are legally terminated before placement is finalized.


We will clarify your options, if any, for post-placement arrangements with birth parents, making sure your interests and those of the child are served.

Adopting Attorney | Adoption Law in North Carolina | 919-306-2899


We will explain your rights and adoption laws in your state or refer you to attorneys who practice in other states or internationally.


We will review and negotiate the adoption agency contract to protect your interests.

You Should...


You should contact an attorney as early as possible in the decision-making process.


Learn about the specific types of adoption services the attorney provides. Ask what percentage of the practice is dedicated to adoption and how many adoption proceedings the attorney has handled.


Choose an attorney who is experienced in the type of adoption you are considering.

Adopting A Child | Adoption Law in North Carolina | 919-306-2899


Know what the attorney charges, how fees are structured and that you can afford the services.


Ask questions, request references, share your concerns and provide the attorney with all relevant documents. Ask for a written retainer agreement that outlines what the attorney charges, how fees are structured and other details regarding fees and fee payment.

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