Stepparent Adoption . . . Blending Your Family

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This week’s topic, stepparent adoptions, is particularly special to us.  Bob and Syd Leonard personally experience the joys (and challenges) of blended families.  We have chosen stepparent adoption for two of our children and one of our daughters chose stepparent adoption for her son.  November is both National Adoption Month and Thanksgiving.  Our family will be giving thanks next week for our children and grandchildren.  We are incredibly blessed!

Why Choose Stepparent Adoption?

Many stepparents choose to adopt the children of their spouse.  It may be necessary for health insurance, it may be to provide that the children inherit the estate from the stepparent or it may be to create a deeper sense of family.  We often see stepparent adoptions when the biological parent is absent or deceased.  We also see stepparent adoptions when the biological parent has chosen to be uninvolved.

What is the Process for Stepparent Adoption?

Whatever the reason, the stepparent adoption process is very similar to that of any other adoption.  For a stepparent to legal adopt, you must first terminate the rights of the biological parent.  The initial petition for stepparent adoption may include the termination as part of the petition and transfer the legal parental rights from the biological parent to the stepparent.

If there is a chance the biological parent may not agree, your attorney may choose to do the stepparent adoption and the termination in two separate phases.  Always provide your attorney with all of the facts so that your attorney can make the appropriate recommendations to you.

If the biological parent agrees to the termination, the stepparent adoption process is significantly less lengthy, less complex, and less costly.  If the biological parent does not agree, you will have to petition the court to terminate his/her rights before the adoption can move forward.

Once your attorney files the petition, the court will order a social study, or home study, to assess the relationship between the child, the parent, and the stepparent.  As long as your home is safe and stable, and your relationships are strong, the social study will be fine.  The court may also appoint an ad litem, or amicus,  attorney to represent the best interests of the child.  Typically, the ad litem uses the results of the social study to help determine the child’s best interest. 

What Should We Do First for Stepparent Adoption?

Each family is unique and there are things you should consider before taking the step of stepparent adoption.  Remember, adoption in Texas changes the child’s actual lineage; you are the parent in every sense of the word.  It is a permanent decision and a permanent responsibility.  It is also a permanent joy!

Resources for Stepparent Adoption

Of course you want your new blended family to be permanent and successful  Sometimes it can be a bit of a bumpy ride.  Gloria Lintermans has written a guide for success, which you can review at http://www.glorialintermans.com/stepfamilies.htm.  You can also find many works on Amazon.  Some of them are available to read on the Kindle at no cost.  Very best wishes to you!

REMEMBER:  November is National Adoption Month.  If you are planning a stepparent adoption, the Bob Leonard Law Group, PLLC is pleased to offer a reduced rate on our legal fees for cases begun in November.  We want to work with you to complete your family through stepparent adoption.

For More Information Call Today to Speak to a Fort Worth Adoption Attorney 817-336-8500! Contact Us online! By Email info@bobleonardlawgroup.com!

 

Other Adoption Articles:
Adoption Guide for Parents
Foster Adoption for Forever Families
Grandparents Make “Grand Parents”

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