Most stepparents have a unique role in the family unit because they must take on parental responsibilities while balancing the pre-existing relationships of their partner and their partner’s children.
Each stepparent offers their personal approach to parenting, but they usually become an important figure in a child’s life. And luckily, a stepparent could show their permanent role by adopting their stepchild.
What to consider before an adoption
Before you expand your role in a child’s life, there are a few details to ponder before filing for adoption:
- Is adoption the right move? – While many stepparents want to stay in their children’s lives, adoption may not always be the right option. You need to have an open discussion as a family to ensure everyone is emotionally ready for the adoption process.
- Do you have consent from the parents? – In Georgia, a stepparent needs to receive consent from both biological parents. Then, you have to ask the co-parent to surrender their rights. This surrender allows you to act as a legal guardian for that child. This can be challenging to receive if the other parent has abandoned the family.
- Are you ready for the court process? – Along with documentation, you will need to file a petition and attend a court hearing where you will work with an attorney to complete the adoption process. It can be tedious and involve a significant amount in fines and court fees.
- Do you know how to apply for a new birth certificate? – Once the adoption is complete, you will need to file for a new birth certificate with you listed as the parent. You may change the child’s last name, but it’s a family choice and not mandatory. You will also want to keep a copy from original birth certificate for any future issues.
- Will you have a support system in place? – Along with your spouse, you will need a strong system of support to help you through the adoption process. And if you have that, it will make the process easier and much more rewarding.
If you are ready to take the next steps, ask questions and start conversations in the household. It may be the start of a beautiful foundation for your family.