How to Adopt in North Dakota

North Dakota isn't just home to hundreds and hundreds of sunflower fields; it's also home to many families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey. Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in North Dakota.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in North Dakota

To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked question about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in North Dakota.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in North Dakota?

The following individuals may be eligible to become Adoptive Parent in North Dakota:

  • A husband and wife together
  • An unmarried adult
  • The unmarried father or mother of the adoptee

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in North Dakota?

Expenses related to adoption in North Dakota range widely depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Are you looking to adopt internationally or domestically? Through a private agency or the foster care system? Depending on what you decide, Adoptive Parents may be asked to cover adoption-related expenses such as:

  • Medical expenses related to the prenatal care and pregnancy that are not already covered by the Birth Mom’s insurance
  • Living expenses for the Birth Mom during pregnancy, as needed
  • Transportation, meals, and housing related to the child’s placement
  • Counseling for the Birth Mother

Payments to Birth Mother for living expenses are not allowed after 6 weeks after the child’s birth unless the court finds that the Birth Mom is unable to work because of limitations from the pregnancy or child birth.

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in North Dakota?

To become a Foster Parent in North Dakota, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Own or rent a home and have homeowner or renter’s insurance
  • Be financially able to support the child
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Understand that foster care is intended to be temporary
  • Be able to accept the child’s parents
  • Have adequate space for the child
  • Provide references

A Foster Parent may be single or married, and may be with our without children of their own.

What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in North Dakota?

An adoption facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated.

In North Dakota, only a licensed person or agency may assist or facilitate an adoption.

Click here to read about the difference between adoption agencies, attorneys, and facilitators.

What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in North Dakota

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in North Dakota.

Who must consent to an adoption in North Dakota?

Consent to adoption in North Dakota must be given in writing by the following:

  • The Birth or Adoptive Mother of the child
  • The father of the minor if:
    • The minor is the father's child by adoption or the father has otherwise legitimated the minor according to the laws of the place in which the adoption proceeding is brought
    • The person is presumed to be the Biological Father of the minor, provided the nonexistence of the father-child relationship between them has not been judicially determined.
  • The child’s legal guardian
  • If married, the spouse of the minor being adopted
  • The court if the legal guardian of the child is not empowered to give consent
  • The adoptee if they are at least 10 years old

When is consent not necessary for adoption in North Dakota?

Consent to adoption in North Dakota is not required of:

  • A parent who has deserted a child or abandoned a child
  • A parent of a child in the custody of another if the parent has failed to communicate with the child or to provide for the care and support of the child for 1 year
  • A parent who has relinquished the right to consent
  • A parent whose parental rights have been terminated
  • A parent judicially declared incompetent or mentally defective
  • Any parent of the adopted person if the adopted person is an adult
  • Any legal guardian or lawful custodian of the child, other than a parent, who has failed to respond in writing to a request for consent for a period of 60 days or who is found by the court to be withholding consent unreasonably

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in North Dakota?

Consent may be given any time after the child’s birth and must be given in the following way:

  • If by the individual being adopted, in the presence of the court
  • If by an agency, by an authorized representative in the presence of an individual authorized to take acknowledgments
  • If by any other individual, in the presence of the court or an individual authorized to take acknowledgments
  • If by a court, by appropriate order or certificate

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in North Dakota?

Once consent to adoption in North Dakota has been given, it cannot be revoked unless the court finds revocation in the best interest of the child.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in North Dakota?

An ‘Adjudicated Father’ is a man who has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to be the father of a child.

An ‘Alleged Father’ is a man who alleges himself to be, or is alleged to be, the Biological Father or a possible Biological Father of a child, but whose paternity has not been determined.

A ‘Presumed Father’ is a man who is recognized as the Father of a child until that status is rebutted or confirmed in a judicial proceeding. A man is presumed to be the father of a child if:

  • He and the Birth Mother are married to each other when the child is born
  • He and the Birth Mother were married to each other and the child is born within 300 days after the marriage is terminated
  • After the birth of the child, he and the Birth Mother married each other, whether or not the marriage is or could be declared invalid, and he voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child, and:
    • The assertion is in a record filed with the State Department of Health
    • He agreed to be and is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate
    • He promised in a record to support the child as his own
  • For the first 2 years of the child’s life, he lived in the same household with the child and openly held out the child as his own.

To obtain parental rights in North Dakota, a man must establish his paternity.

For a married couple, it is assumed that the husband is the Biological Father, so his paternity is automatically established.

For an unmarried Birth Father, paternity may be established by an Acknowledgment of Paternity that both parents must sign, or a paternity lawsuit.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in North Dakota

Prospective Adoptive Parents in North Dakota are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

The home study is a critical component to the adoption process. While it is to ensure your home will provide a child with stability, safety, and support, it is also a resource for Prospective Adoptive Parents to asks questions and prepare for the adoption. A home study is ultimately a recommendation as to the fitness of the applicants to become Adoptive Parents.

In North Dakota, a home study assessment will include:

  • Motivation for choosing to adopt
  • Strengths and challenges of each family member
  • The attitudes and feelings of family members regarding the adoption
  • Evidence of stability of the Adoptive Parents’ marital relationship
  • The applicant’s understanding of and plans for assisting a minority child to understand and value his or her racial and cultural background
  • Attitudes of the applicant toward the Birth Parents and their reasons for placement
  • The applicant’s plan for discussing adoption with the child
  • The applicant’s emotional stability and maturity, including
    • a history of treatment for substance abuse
    • mental health concerns
    • abuse or neglect issues
    • other issues impacting the applicant’s emotional stability and maturity
  • The applicant’s parenting skills and style
  • The attitude of the applicant’s children or previously adopted children about adoption, if applicable
  • Reports of the physical examination of the applicant or self-disclosure of medical concerns, current within the past 12 months
  • An interview with the family members
  • The applicant’s ability to provide financially for the adoptee
  • The applicant’s references, including at least 5 personal and community character references
  • The applicant’s religious preference, if any
  • A description of the applicant’s home and community
  • Plans for child care if the applicant works
  • Plans for care of the child in the event of the death of the applicant after the adoption
  • Results of fingerprint-based criminal background checks and child abuse and neglect index checks
  • Recommendations for adoption in regard to number, age, sex, characteristics, and special needs of children best served by the applicants

Who oversees a home study in North Dakota and who is included in it?

A licensed child-placing agency will conduct the home study assessment and will include the Prospective Adoptive Parents in their investigation.

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in North Dakota?

The court may waive the home study requirement for a stepparent adoption or for an adoption by a relative who the child has been living with for at least 9 months and who has had no allegations of child abuse.

What are the home study requirements for adopting a baby from another state?

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

Before the adoption has been finalized, a post placement assessment will take place to ensure the transition into adoption is going well and that the Adoptive Family's circumstances have not changed to no longer fit the child's best interest.

In North Dakota, the post placement assessment will include:

  • Interviews with the everyone living in the Adoptive Home
  • Face-to-face visits with the child every month during the provisionary period
  • Assistance for the Adoptive Family in completing the legal adoption of the child
  • Supportive services for the Adoptive Family in adjusting to the adoption

North Dakota Adoption Professionals

North Dakota is home to some amazing adoption professionals who are ready to get your journey started. Whether you are interested in adopting a child or seeking resources to place your child for adoption, these professionals will guide you through the legal pathways and offer you support throughout your journey:

All About U Adoptions

701-355-6430

Building Forever Families, Adoption and Family Services

701-214-4855

Christian Adoption Services

701-237-4473

Things to do in North Dakota

If your adoption journey brings you to Peace Garden state, visit some of its best and most popular attractions:

Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora

North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum in Bismarck

Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot

Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks

Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center in Fargo

A note from Adoption Network Law Center

No matter your decision, we appreciate the time you have taken to read about how to adopt in North Dakota. Adoption Network Law Center wishes you the best of luck and is available to answer any further questions you may have about the adoption process. Call 1-866-602-9541 to speak with one of our amazing team members or visit https://adoptionnetwork.com/ to read more about our services. Whether you’re a soon-to-be Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent, ANLC wishes you the best on your adoption journey.