The Steps to Adoption in North Dakota

Congratulations! You have decided to adopt a child. While this is no doubt an exciting time for you and your significant other, the adoption process can also be complex. In order to ensure that the process goes smoothly and all your questions are answered, it may be most beneficial to hire an adoption attorney. There are roughly seven steps to adoption in North Dakota. They are as follows:

  • Research the right fit of adoptionadoption
  • Choose an adoption agency
  • Understand the fees
  • The application
  • Pre-placement inquiry
  • Wait, wait, wait, and wait some more
  • The legal procedure

Adoption is complex and can take a significant amount of time. Once you and, if applicable, your significant other have decided to adopt, make sure to carefully go through the following steps.


Research is a vital start to the adoption process in North Dakota. You and your significant other need to look into the different types of placements available in North Dakota and determine which fits best for you. Also, if you are adopting a child from another state, you must research their adoption laws, as well. In order for the adoption process to work, you need to comply with both North Dakota laws and the laws for the state in which the child currently lives.

Choose the Adoption Agency

In North Dakota, all adoptions go through private adoption agencies. Since they are private, these agencies are funded privately. The agencies in North Dakota facilitate all adoptions that deal with infants, children born in different countries, and children from the foster care system. There are many different agencies in North Dakota, so it is important to look into all of them to see which one fits your needs best.


The adoption process in North Dakota is not free. The private agencies all charge different fees, and those can amount to upwards of $10,000. One of the first things that prospective parents should do before they choose an agency is find out what their fees are before proceeding. There are many different subsidies available, and in some cases you may only have to pay the legal fees.


Once an agency has been picked, the agency will normally guide the prospective parents through an orientation in which they learn about the adoption process and the prospective children. Agencies have different applications, so any questions should be guided to an adoption attorney. If your application has been accepted, another fee may be charged by the agency.

Pre-Placement Inquiry

This part is required by law, and is done in order to determine the fitness of the physical and emotional environment in which the child will live. This process is done through a series of interviews, and at least one home visit by a social worker. The questions are usually very personal, and sometimes a physical exam may be required to make sure the prospective parents are in good health. A background check is also necessary. This process could take up to a few months.

Waiting and the Legal Procedure

Depending on the child you wish to adopt, the process can take up to a few years. It all depends on availability and your position on the waiting list. After the waiting is over, it is best advised to hire an adoption attorney. Again, depending on the child and where he or she is from, the legal process varies and can become extremely complex.

The North Dakota family law attorneys of O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss will help guide you through your adoption process. Tracy Lyson is an experienced family law attorney. Call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 today!

Image courtesy of Nick Youngson

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