Steps to take if you want to adopt your stepchild in Missouri

Being part of a blended family means getting to include incredible kids in your life. It’s almost like a bonus on top of marrying someone whom you really love.

Of course, stepping up as a stepparent is not always easy. Children often need support and your patience while adjusting to new dynamics. However, no matter how hard parenting can sometimes be, you know that you love your stepchild and want to do everything you can for them.

In some circumstances, what you could do might include adopting them so that you are their legal parent. If that is something that you think would be good for the children, there are certain steps that you need to take.

Talk with your spouse about the idea

Adoption by a stepparent drastically alters the legal shape of your family. Discussing your desire to adopt with your spouse could make you aware of financial or legal implications that you weren’t previously aware of.

Your spouse can also give you insight into whether they think that your stepchild will be receptive to the idea because their permission is also important in a stepparent adoption. If your spouse agrees that it might be a good idea, you should make sure it’s actually an option before you talk with your stepchild about it. 

Look into the legal status of the other biological parent

Missouri is one of many states that protects the rights of parents even if they aren’t actively present in the lives of their children. If your spouse has an ex who is still alive but not showing up for parenting time, their parental rights prohibit you from adopting your stepchild.

In situations where either a parent voluntarily rescinds their parental rights or the state terminates someone’s parental rights, a stepparent may have the option to adopt. If you are able to locate the biological parent, they may be open to rescinding their rights, especially if you agree to allow them to still have occasional visitation if it is in the best interest of the kids. The end of child support is also a potential motivator for absentee parents.

Talk to your stepchild once you’ve addressed all other major concerns

It could be a devastating blow for a child who has already experienced substantial upheaval to get their hopes up about a stepparent adoption, only to find out that it isn’t an option. Waiting until you know you have a clear path ahead of you is usually smartest.

Once you know that your spouse is on board and you have the legal potential to adopt, you should ask your stepchild what would they think about the subject. If everyone is in agreement on the idea, then you may want to sit down with an attorney to start discussing the legal process.

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