Marrying someone who already has children is a big commitment. Even if you are not the biological or legal parent of those kids, they will affect every aspect of your life. From your budget to your daily schedule, your family will revolve around what those children need.
You may eventually grow to love those children as much as you love their parent, if you did not already feel that way when you decided to get married. How do you discuss the idea of a stepparent adoption with your spouse?
Educate yourself about what it requires
Stepparent adoption often involves numerous steps. You need to get permission from your spouse and the other parent if they are still alive and the state has not terminated their parental rights. You will have to fill out certain paperwork, and you may need to complete a home study.
The entire process can easily take more than a year even with professional help. You need to have a realistic idea of what so that you can explain it to your spouse as well as the benefits of adoption. These include giving your stepchildren a sense of stability and allowing them to continue living with you if something ever happens to your spouse.
Some people worry that they might lose their children’s survivor benefits, for example, if their deceased former spouse was a military servicemember. However, your adoption will typically have no impact on any benefits or rights they have because of a biological relationship with a parent who has already died.
Be open to their side of the situation
The goal of stepparent adoption is to strengthen your unique family unit, not to damage it. You need to understand that there is a possibility your spouse will oppose the adoption, possibly for emotional reasons.
Maybe they fear their ex and worry about what would happen when asking them to give up their parental rights. Maybe they strongly believe because of religious reasons that maintaining the tie to a deceased parent is very important. You need to be ready to accept their perspective and to adjust your expectations according to what they think would be best for your family.
Thinking about the practical consequences of a stepparent adoption will help you prepare to talk about one with your spouse.