The extra step often necessary for an Oregon stepparent adoption

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2021 | Adoption |

Many adoptions in Oregon involve private or state agencies. These organizations help prospective parents connect with children who need loving and supportive families. Those hoping to adopt have to meet certain standards and even endure having people examine their house to see if they should have children living there.

However, not all adoptions involve someone adding a child to their family without any sort of prior relationship. Some adoptions in Oregon are independent adoptions that involve grandparents or other people with pre-existing relationships. As a stepparent hoping to adopt your stepchild, your family situation falls into the independent adoption category.

Although there may be fewer regulatory restrictions in some ways, there is also a unique obligation that people in other situations don’t have to address.

Both parents have to approve the adoption

Typically, adoptions involve children who don’t have parents or whose parents have lost their legal rights. That is not always the case in a stepparent adoption. If the other parents of your stepchild died, then obviously they cannot approve your adoption and no extra paperwork is necessary.

If they are still alive and the state has not terminated their parental rights, they have to authorize your adoption. The other biological parent can choose to rescind their parental rights and permit. the adoption through certain paperwork. Only if they sign off is your adoption possible in most cases. With their approval, you and your spouse can go to court and make you the legal parents of your stepchild. 

Giving up rights doesn’t have to sever the relationship

Perhaps the other biological parent of your stepchild is irresponsible but loves their child. They may worry about losing their parental rights. Although Oregon won’t acknowledge them as the parent anymore, you still can.

You and your spouse could make informal arrangements to allow continued visitations if they want access and if their presence would not cause issues for the child. They can end their obligation to pay child support while making the child potentially eligible for certain benefits, like health insurance through your employer.

Everyone in the family can benefit from a stepparent adoption if people employ the right approach. Learning more about what is necessary to adopt your stepchild will make the process more accessible.