Adoption is a beautiful way to grow an Illinois family, yet it can be a legally complicated and frustrating process. This is also true for stepparents who are looking to adopt the biological children of their partner. If you are a stepparent, you may want to explore the option of cementing the close and personal relationship you have with your stepchildren.
Stepparent adoption is possible in some circumstances. If you think that this is something your family wants to pursue, you may want to start by learning more about how this process works and what you can do to accomplish this goal. Like any other family law process, adoption is something you may find easier to navigate when you have the guidance of an experienced family law attorney.
What could stand in your way?
It is truly rewarding to have a strong relationship with your stepkids, and adoption may feel like a natural progression of that relationship. However, doing this is sometimes easier said than done. One of the main challenges in adopting your stepkids is the termination of parental rights. The other biological parent must relinquish his or her parental rights in order for you to move forward with this.
As you can imagine, this can sometimes be difficult. Perhaps the other parent does not want to relinquish rights or perhaps he or she is not present to speak on the subject at all. There are a few avenues by which you may still be able to secure the termination of parental rights and complete the adoption.
Asking the court
It may be necessary to ask the court to terminate the rights of the other parent. If that parent is absent, is unfit to parent, or struggles with drug or alcohol abuse, the court may approve the termination. Of course, a court will give preference to the needs and desires of the biological parents when possible. Without termination of rights, you cannot complete the adoption process.
Accomplish the goals of your family
If you want to adopt your spouse's biological kids, you could be facing a lengthy and potentially frustrating process. You will find it beneficial to speak with an experienced attorney about your legal options and how you can move forward with accomplishing the goals of your family. This can be a long but worthwhile journey, and you do not have to take it alone.