You love your spouse’s child like they’re your own. You know that they deserve more than what they’ve been through in their short life, too. Their other parent is not in the picture. You’ve never met them, and your spouse doesn’t know where they are.

You think it would be a good idea to step in and adopt your stepchild. You love them, and you want them to know that you’ll always be there for them. How difficult is it, though? It may surprise you to find out that it isn’t as difficult as some kinds of adoption, but there are still requirements that have to be met.

All birth parents have to agree

To start with, you need to get both birth parents to agree to the adoption. If you can’t find one of the biological parents, then you may need to ask a judge to terminate that parent’s rights. If you can get in touch and the other parent wants to give up their rights, it will make the process simpler.

In cases like yours, your attorney may be able to argue abandonment as a reason to terminate the other parent’s rights. If it’s been a year or two with no child support and no contact, then you may want to discuss having their rights terminated by law.

Can I still adopt if my spouse and I are a same-sex couple?

Thanks to the 2015 ruling that make same-sex marriage legal, you may seek to adopt your stepchild regardless of your gender.

If you’re interested in pursuing a stepparent/stepchild adoption, you may want to look more into your rights and responsibilities. Our site has information that can help you get started.