Adopting a family member is common when birth parents are not able to care for their children or when a step parent steps up to take on a legal parental role. In fact, the court will often seek out family members to serve as foster and adoptive parents as an alternative to putting children into the home of someone they do not know.
If you need legal advice regarding an adoption, you should work with an attorney who is familiar with the court process. Call Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today at (559) 222-4891.
Who May Adopt a Family Member?
Family member adoptions are often called “kinship adoption.” They occur when a child is adopted by someone with a biological relationship to them, such as grandparents, siblings, or aunts and uncles.
Step parents may also adopt children in certain situations where one or both biological parents are no longer able to care for the children.
Some jurisdictions also recognize “fictive kin” relationships for adoptive purposes. This includes family friends and other people with a close, non-biological relationship to the family.
Family Adoptions are Preferred
The state is often required to give family members preference over non-family members in adoption cases. In fact, when biological parents are no longer able to care for children, the state will look to families for caregivers first.
Kinship Adoption Process
The process of adopting a family member is similar to that of adopting a child who is not a family member. The state or adoption agency will do a home study, background checks on all household members, and other screening processes to ensure the child is going to a safe home.
Consent is often sought from biological parents for kinship adoption as well as step parent adoption, as their parental rights will be terminated if the adoption is completed.
Step Parent Adoption
The most common type of family member adoption is step parent adoption. This typically requires fewer screening processes and one of the biological parents is usually still in the picture.
In the case of step parent adoption, one parent may no longer be in the life of the child, leading to termination of their parental rights for abandonment. The step parent may step in and assume those parental rights.
Conditions for termination of parental rights are strict, and the child may be required to give consent if they are over a certain age.
Grandparent adoption is different from grandparent guardianship or custody. In guardianship and custody situations, the parents retain parental rights. However, with grandparent adoption, the parental rights are terminated and transferred to the grandparents.
Are Family Adoptions Open or Closed?
Most family adoptions are open because the parents are known within the family and still have some contact with the child. However, in some situations, family adoptions may be closed, especially if contact with the parents would be detrimental to the child.
Contact a Family Adoption Attorney Today
Adopting a family member can be a daunting process. You may have to deal with a plethora of paperwork and the legal process. Let us handle it for you. Call Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today at (559) 222-4891.