Adopting a stepchild can be a life-changing decision, solidifying the bonds within your blended family.
The process may seem daunting, but with the right guidance, you can navigate it smoothly.
Petition the court
Begin by filing a petition with the family court in your county. This document, officially requesting the adoption, must include information such as the child’s name, your name, your spouse’s name and the child’s other biological parent. Along with the petition, you will need to provide a copy of the child’s birth certificate.
Consent or termination
If the other biological parent is willing to consent to the adoption, this can expedite the process significantly. However, if they are not willing to consent, you will have to seek a termination of their parental rights. This typically occurs when the other parent has abandoned the child or failed to provide support for an extended period.
Georgia requires a home study for all adoptions. A social worker will visit your home to assess its suitability for raising a child. They will examine living conditions, interview family members and ensure the child’s best interests are upheld. While it may sound daunting, a well-prepared family can complete this step with ease.
Attend court hearings
After filing the petition and completing the home study, you will need to attend court hearings. These hearings allow the court to review your case, ensuring that the adoption is in the child’s best interests. A judge will assess all the information and, if satisfied, grant the adoption order.
In 2021, approximately 3,891,978 U.S. households had an adult living with stepchildren. For people ready to take the next step and adopt, knowing what to expect helps make navigating the process easier.