Deciding to adopt your step-children is a big step in creating a family. Making the choice to make your children legally your own is exciting and worthwhile. However, the process can be a little complicated. It may be important for you to educate yourself about the procedure of step-parent adoption so you know how to prepare.
General outline of the process
Though each case of adoption is different there is still a general process that most cases follow. These are a few of the steps that you will most likely have to go through during your adoption case.
- Discuss with your family – having a formal discussion with your family about adopting your step-children is a good way to start the process, this way your whole family is on the same page and will know what is happening.
- Gather documents – there are a variety of documents you will need to have on hand for the adoption process. You will need to have the children’s birth certificates, marriage certificates and divorce documents.
- Contact an attorney – having a professional to guide you through the adoption procedure is important. Though legal representation is not required, it will help you figure out the best way to proceed.
- Complete the paperwork – you will need to file an official adoption petition with a court in order to legalize the adoption. This means filling out various paperwork and paying the fees.
- Seek permission – if your children’s other parent is still alive, you will need to seek official permission from them to adopt their children. This may require a little strategy and persuasion, if they are not open to this decision.
- Finalize – the final steps in the process include appearing in court, completing a home study and changing your step-child’s birth certificate. However, these steps can vary more, depending on your situation. Sometimes a judge will waive a home study. Sometimes you need to appear in court more than once.
Adopting your step-children can be a great idea, though the process is somewhat involved. Knowing what is to come can help you navigate the situation more successfully.