Step families or blended families are the product of you and/or your partner having children from previous relationships, and becoming united through the bond of marriage. Although this will automatically give you the label of being a step parent, your rights as a step parent may not be the same as a birth parent. This is why many blended families look into step parent adoption, in order to legally define what your rights are.
The process of adopting step children may seem difficult, however it is easier than normal adoption. First, you would want to assess the reasons that you are considering to adopt step children to begin with. You do have to remember that becoming a step parent through marriage is a commitment, however adopting the step children is legally a lifelong commitment. Some reasons that step parents decide to look into adoption are: establish rights as a parent, establish rights to make decisions regarding medical or educational needs, add to medical coverage, or even to insure that the children will be able to receive an inheritance if something were to happen to you.
A step parent adoption begins with knowing all you need to know about adoption in your state. This process can be done on your own or through the hiring of a lawyer. When deciding which route you will take, you must weigh the pros and cons of each path. If you hire a lawyer, the expense of finalizing an adoption can be costly. However, you can do this on your own, including filling out the forms and filing the forms at the proper courthouse. This information can be found online, along with access to step by step information on what you need in order to complete the adoption process. Here is the link to a great website called My Adoption Forms. They provide a Free PDF Checklist for step families considering step parent adoption.
In order to adopt your spouse’s children, you have to have consent of the other birth parent or the other birth parent’s rights would have to have been terminated. If you are unable to obtain consent of the other parent, then you would need to prove to the courts that the other birth parent has either abandoned the children or is an unfit parent. Keep in mind that when terminating the rights of the other parent, you are possibly severing ties with the relatives of that parent. With that being said, you must also consider the obstacles that may stand in the way of a successful adoption, and have alternative solutions in case you are faced with any barriers.
In the event that this happens, having a power of attorney will assist you with being able to legally have rights regarding your step children and your spouse will have the security of knowing that if something were to happen, you will be there for the kids.
All in all, the creation of a blended family through adoption sends the message to the children involved that you are forming a unit and you want them to be a part of this unit. The children will see this as the final piece to the puzzle of creating a dream family.