If you and the child you wish to adopt are already close, that rapport may make you feel you that are already the child’s parent. However, there is a legal process to go through to make adoption official.
In Wisconsin, bringing the family together through an adoption comes with requirements, benefits and responsibilities.
Taking the steps
The procedure for a stepparent adoption is less complicated than it is for other kinds, and usually only involves four stages:
- Termination of the parental rights of the birth parents, if applicable
- The petition to adopt
- A stepparent screening
- The adoption itself
While an attorney handles most aspects of the adoption procedure, an adoption agency is responsible for the screening part of the process, sometimes called an investigation. This consists of family interviews and background checks, plus the obtaining of medical records, psychological evaluations and letters of reference. The agency representative also inspects the home where the child is living or is going to live.
Enjoying the advantages
The foremost benefit of this kind of adoption is the formation of a legal family structure. As the stepparent, you make a commitment to the child in terms of security and care. Your child receives a new birth certificate bearing your name, and he or she becomes eligible to receive an inheritance upon your death. If there are other siblings in the family, adoption serves to equalize the relationship. Perhaps most thrilling for you is that the order of adoption you receive states that you are now the child’s legal parent.
Turning the page
Some adoptive stepparents have known the children in question almost all their lives, while for others, parenting is a new experience. As an adoptive stepparent, you assume all the rights of parenthood and accept all the responsibilities. Seeing the family come together as an official, legal unit is an exciting and wonderful experience for everyone involved.