These days, families take many shapes and sizes, and often families may form in surprising ways. One form of family becoming increasingly common is adoption of a child by a stepparent. Regardless of what leads a stepparent to pursue legal adoption, the good news is that stepparent adoption is generally simpler and more straightforward than other types of adoption.
If you and your partner are discussing stepparent adoption, it is important to make sure that you fully understand the legal process and the potential setbacks you may face. Even in ideal scenarios, achieving a stepparent adoption requires unavoidable waiting periods during which regulatory figures assess the prospective home of the adoptive parents.
In virtually all instances, stepparent adoption requires the expressed permission of the child's other birth parent. This often proves to be the greatest hurdle to overcome in stepparent adoption. For many birth parents, the choice to allow stepparent is exceptionally difficult, because approving the adoption generally means forfeiting parental rights. It may take time and creative persuading to help the child's other birth parent understand that the adoption is truly in the child's best interests. Do not underestimate how important this aspect of the process is to your long-term family goals.
You certainly do not need to address these issues on your own. An experienced attorney can help you clear up any misconceptions you may still have about the adoption process and help you identify your priorities and opportunities. With professional guidance, you may focus on creating the best life you can for the child you love while an attorney protects your rights.
Source: FindLaw, "Stepparent Adoption FAQ's," accessed Dec. 08, 2017