The days of being married and it lasting 50 years are becoming more and more rare. In 2011, there were 877,000 divorces granted within a population pool of 246,273,366. Since humans generally prefer the company of others, second marriages and blended families are more common than ever before. If the new parent wishes to legally complete the family circle by adopting their step-children, there are steps that can be taken to do this; however, there are legal and emotional ramifications in doing so.
Step One - Obtaining Consent
The process of adopting a step-child is easier when there is only one birth parent involved and they are the one you have married. In order to adopt your step-child you need the consent of both natural parents, and the estranged ex may not be willing to give theirs. Under that specific circumstance you will only be able to proceed by terminating the other birth parent's rights. There are limited reasons that can be used to achieve this, and they include proving that the child has been abandoned, mistreated, or left unsupported.
Step Two - Completing the Adoption
The legal process of completing the adoption is much the same as adopting a non-related child; however, a step-parent adoption may be subject to the waiving of many standard adoption processes. These include the waiting period and the at-home study. The state that is overseeing the adoption will provide you with their set of regulations that need to be adhered to during the process. Once the adoption process has been completed, your step-child will be able to legally carry your surname and be recognized in the same way as a naturally born child is.
Step Three - Consideration of the Emotional Impact
Unless the adopted child has had very limited exposure to the absentee biological parent, there are going to be emotional issues related to a step-parent adoption. The child may feel torn in loyalty between their natural parent and the adopting one. This can cause anxiety to occur if they feel that they are being made to choose. It is important that they understand what is going on and why. This should be done in a language that is age-appropriate to them. This is not a time to make the departing birth parent out to be a villain, but instead the opportunity should be used to expound on the positivity of the adoption.
Commencing on the road of step-child adoption is an exciting step. It is one which sends the statement that you want to make your blended family legally complete. You are telling your step-child that you choose to be completely bound to them, and this is one of the loudest declarations of love that you can make to the world around you.
For more on step parent adoptions in Orlando, FL, check out Patricia L. Strowbridge, P.A.Share