Stepparent adoption is one of the most common types of adoption here in Kentucky. There are many excellent reasons stepparents wish to adopt a stepchild. These include strengthening family ties, creating a more stable family unit or formalizing an existing arrangement. Still, that does not mean that it is always quick and easy.
Children should and do have a say
The Uniform Adoption Act of 1994 requires consent from children ages 12 to 18. Still, it is generally best for families not to coerce or force a child of any age into an adoption they do not want. The harm can be long-term, and ignoring or dismissing their wishes can cause alienation. Before moving forward, parents should work with family therapists and other professionals to address the reasons for the child’s resistance.
Ultimately, however, the courts will look at the case and determine if it is in the child’s best interests. The judge may decide, over the child’s objection, that adoption is in the child’s best interests. Although not ideal, it can even be done over the objection of a birthparent who does not have parental rights.
Many choose to get help
There are also such administrative hurdles as adoption forms, available at the local courthouse or online, and other details that may need to be worked out with the other parent. Still, since a spouse is the child’s legal parent, there is not the usual process of home visits and pairing the child with the adoptive parents.
Whatever the circumstances, it is often best to work with someone who can guide parents through the process, helping them resolve any issues that may arise.