Some people tragically see their stepchildren as burdens instead of as gifts. If you have a great relationship with your stepchild, that’s already better than what many families have. However, you may not feel satisfied with your current situation.
After all, if your spouse dies or divorces you, you may not get to spend time with the child that you love. Stepparent adoption can make you a parent with all the rights and responsibilities that come along with that status. Whose permission do you need before you adopt your stepchild in Pennsylvania?
You need permission from the parents
Obviously, you don’t want to adopt your spouse’s child without talking it through with them first. You couldn’t do it without their permission anyway.
They should probably be the first person that you discussed the issue with, as they may have a logical reason that the adoption won’t benefit the child. For example, it could affect benefits that they receive if their parent died.
If the other parent is still alive and the state did not terminate their parental rights, you will need their permission, too. In fact, they will have to sign paperwork terminating their parental rights in order for you to adopt the child.
The court has to approve your request as well
Getting permission from your spouse and their ex means you can start the adoption process. However, it will be the family court that reviews your circumstances and finalize the request. You will need to file paperwork and follow all necessary procedures in order to qualify as an adoptive parent.
You also want to discuss this decision with the child involved
All too often, parents and stepparents make major decisions without talking with the children at the center of those decisions. While your stepchild does love you, they may have their own emotional reasons for not wanting an adoption. Before you take any more steps, you probably want to discuss the plan with them, but only after your spouse has given their blessing.
A stepparent adoption requires patience, planning and paperwork. However, with the right legal support, it could help you build and strengthen your family.