Who Can Foster and/or Adopt

In North Carolina a single person or married couple can be an adoptive family. You must be 18-years-old to adopt and 21-years-old to foster. You do not have to own a home or have a certain amount of income to be a foster or adoptive parent. You should consider what it will mean to have a child join your family and how this will affect your family's life and the child’s life. With a full commitment and realistic expectations, foster or adoptive parents must be ready to give a child or children opportunities to develop to their full potential physically, academically, socially and emotionally.

Myths About Who Can Adopt

Myth Reality
You have to be a saint to be a foster or adoptive parent. You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.
You have to own a home to be a foster or adoptive parent. You can own or rent a home, trailer or apartment.
You have to be married to be a foster or adoptive parent. You can be single, partnered, married, divorced or widowed.
It is expensive to foster or adopt a child with special needs. The cost of foster care and adoption from the child welfare system is minimal. 

Qualities and Characteristics Agencies look for in a Foster or Adoptive Family

Each child is different. Some children need to be with a single parent, some need a two-parent family; some need other children in their family while some need to be the only child in their home. Many different types of families are needed to parent these special children. All children need stability and a family they can count on through good times and challenging times. Children need to stay in touch with people they love such as former foster parents, birth parents, siblings and teachers. It is extremely important that foster and adoptive families consider their openness to maintaining these important connections for children involved in the foster care system. It is important to remember that the process is child-driven and that the child’s agency is seeking the best possible family to meet that individual child’s specific needs. However, they are not looking for perfection. Keep in mind “you don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent!”

Am I Ready to Foster or Adopt?

If you’re considering fostering or adopting a child stop for a moment and ask yourself these important questions:

  • Do I have time to care for a child and provide physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs?
  • Do I have support from my family, community, church and friends who will be there for me through challenging times?
  • Am I willing to advocate for my child? The child I foster or adopt will have special needs and possible unforeseen educational or mental health challenges.
  • Am I ready to commit to a child short or long term, even if times get tough? I know a child deserves stability and continuity and will be counting on me.
  • Am I able to support and encourage continued contact with important people in a child’s life including the birth family?

If you want to discuss your ability to foster and or adopt please call our hotline at 888-625-4375 or email us at nc.kids@dhhs.nc.gov.