If you meet and fall in love with someone who already has children, you may eventually find yourself playing a parental role in your stepchild’s life. Once the family all lives together, you will naturally start to bond with and feel a responsibility toward your stepchild.
Eventually, you may want to alter your relationship so that you will have parenting rights if you ever divorce or so that you can continue living with and supporting your stepchild if anything ever happens to your spouse. A stepparent adoption lets you finally become the parent of the child that you love, complete with all the rights and responsibilities that role entails.
Whose approval do you need to pursue a stepparent adoption?
The approval of both parents
Obviously, your spouse will need to agree with you if you are to move forward with the adoption process. Occasionally, stepparents will learn that there is a reason why the adoption might not be the best idea. However, many times, spouses will be happy to accept a suggestion of adopting their child.
It is often the other parent who poses more of a challenge. They may worry that your relationship with the child will threaten their own. They may also simply resent you and your spouse and want to oppose you just because they can. However, it may be possible to work with them. Explaining how adoption would eliminate their need to pay child support or promising to still allow visitation and communication might be enough to get approval from the other parent.
Approval from the courts and state authorities
Typically, your home will require a visit by a state worker who will evaluate the environment to make sure that the adoption would be good for the child. If you pass that home visit process, then you need to take your case to a judge. When the child is age fourteen or older, they typically also need to approve the adoption in writing.
Provided that you have all the right paperwork and the judge agrees that the adoption would be best for the child, their approval after a court hearing will be the final stage in the stepparent adoption process. When you follow the steps appropriately, you can become the legal parent of a child that you already love.
Stepparent adoptions can help stabilize a new family unit and give a child a sense of security. Talking about adopting your stepchild with your spouse might set your family on a path toward a beautiful and different future.