Want to adopt your stepchildren? Here’s what you need to know.

Blended families can be amazing blessings. It is a special moment when a stepparent decides that they want to legally adopt their stepchild and care for them as their own child. If this is your situation, you may be wondering how to begin the process, and what it will entail.

Stepparent adoptions are easier than other types of adoption

Adoptions in general take a lot of time and energy, and there is a considerable amount of paperwork to file. The good news is that, since you are married to one of the child’s parents, the process will be much easier for you.

For example, there are certain legal requirements, such as a home-study and a report of intention adopt, that you do not need to file if you are a stepparent looking to adopt. This shaves quite a bit of time and effort off of the process.

The process

If you and your spouse are in agreement that you desire to adopt your stepchild, the first step will be obtaining the consent of the child’s other biological parent. You must track them down and persuade them to sign a document granting their consent to the adoption, which would sever any parental rights they currently have.

The consent of the other parent is not always required, however. There are certain circumstances under which a court can approve a stepparent adoption even if the other parent cannot be found, or tries to withhold their consent.

After you obtain consent – if needed – you can begin the process. Your attorney can help you to prepare and submit a stepparent adoption petition with the appropriate court. You will then have to attend court hearings in which a judge will approve or deny the adoption request.

Stepparent adoptions, like any legal process, can be a lengthy and sometimes overwhelming procedure. But once the judge finalizes it, and your stepchild becomes yours forever, you will realize that it was worth every bit of effort.