Thursday, August 29, 2013

Step Parent Adoption Interview

Marie* talks about step parent adoption, revealing how her husband's adoption of her daughter made them feel more like a family:
1.      What made you want to adopt?
"We chose to do a step parent adoption as the final legal detail in an already established father/daughter relationship. My husband and I were married when my daughter was 2 and she has never known anyone else but him as her father and we felt it was important for all of us to be a cohesive family sharing one last name." 

2. What was your process like when going through the steps of adoption?

"A bit nerve racking, but we had faith and confidence that we were doing the right thing"


3.      How long had the child been a part of your family before making the adoption final?

"She is my birth daughter and my husband came into our lives right after her 2nd birthday".

4. How did you come to the decision to adopt? Did your daughter get a vote?

"Our daughter does not know she is adopted. Someday when she is old enough to understand, we will casually address it, but she is at a tender age and all she needs to know is that she has a mom, dad and three siblings that love her unconditionally and forever".


5. What does it mean to you now that your daughter has become a part of your family?

"To us it was simply the final step that confirmed we are all one family unit"


6. How has your life been different since the adoption has been finalized?

"Not different at all. We do all the same things together that we always have. She still has homework and a bedtime. :) "

 7. Any advice for people looking to step parent adopt in the future?" It's a wonderful thing to unite a family with unconditional love. It's kind of a second chance for the family and more importantly for the child to experience all that may have not been possible with their birth parent. Step parent adoption is not for everyone and it's a decision that should not be taken lightly. My husband and I are committed to the ups and downs not only of parenting, but also in our marriage, we want to ensure that we are Godly parents to our children and we are responsible for showing them a loving environment and Christian morals". 

8. Anything special you would like to share about what your experience has been like and how your family and life has changed or not changed?  
"I feel so very blessed to have such a wonderful family and a husband who unconditionally loves and supports us. There was a time in my life I did not make the best choices, but with God we have been given forgiveness and he has turned these trials into a beautiful and complete family. It takes anyone to be a biological donor, but it takes a lot of hard work and commitment to be a parent. Those who are willing to do the job should be able to become not only emotionally, physically and financially responsible, but also legally and we are thankful my husband is able to now share all of these with our daughter".

*This is a pseudonym for an actual client of Karen S. Law, Esquire. Interview conducted by Brittany Alness, July 2013.

Disclaimer

This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this web-site are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013

Step Parent Adoption


Step Parent Adoption: What are the steps? Are there specific rules to follow? There are really practical reasons to pursue a step parent adoption, such as everyone in the family having the same name.  Or allowing the new parent to authorize medical care, help a teen obtain a driver's license, or to interact with the child's school.  In some instances, the child's biological parent is not available and it just makes sense to have both parents in the home have legal recognition as the child's parent.

Step Parent Adoption is the most common form of adoption.  Often times when a parent remarries, the new spouse will become more of a parent to the child than the child’s birth parent.  If the child’s birth parent has had little to no contact with the child or is willing to sign a consent, then the process for the step parent adoption is relatively easy. Other scenarios which are fairly straightforward are when the identity of the biological parent is unknown or that parent is deceased.

However, not all step parent adoptions are uncomplicated.  The biological parent's rights must be taken into account. If a biological parent is involved in the child's life and refuses to consent to the adoption, the step parent adoption may be a highly litigated proceeding.  To avoid this outcome, the parties could agree to visitation by the biological parent and this agreement could be incorporated into the adoption decree. Often, an objecting biological parent is most concerned about maintaining contact with the child and the post adoption contact agreement satisfies the concern. 

The steps you will need to take when going through a step parent adoption:

1.       Consult an adoption attorney

2.       Consider whether the biological parent must consent to          adoption

3.       Attorney gathers and submits legal forms

4.       Attend the hearing--usually not required

5.       Obtain the final order of adoption--usually a month            after the case is filed
6.       Obtain a second birth certificate for the child with the       child's new name and the new parent listed as the parent


 Growing up, there was a family down the street from me that had recently lost the father of the house to a severe illness.  The kids at the time were so young, around the ages of 5 and 8.  It was a hard time for everyone, all the neighbors were really close and we were all there supporting each other.  After some time had passed, the mom fell in love and decided to get remarried.  She wasn’t getting remarried to just anyone, she was getting married to one of their close family friends that had been there for her through it all.  He was there helping with the kids while her husband was ill, and continued to take care of her and the two children after he had passed.  At the wedding, they announced that the step parent would be adopting her two children, but that they were still going to honor the kid’s birth father by not changing their last names.  A step parent adoption can provide legal recognition for the new family in a way that still honors the biological parent.





Drafted by Brittany Alness, staff member of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.

Disclaimer

This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this web-site are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2013.