Marrying someone who already has children can lead to a bigger family very quickly. Often, stepparents develop very meaningful bonds with their stepchildren as the family gets used to its new circumstances.
In certain scenarios, such as one where a parent has died or no longer plays a role in the life of the children, stepparents can sometimes decide that they would like to become a legal parent of their stepchild. Although adoption will forever change the relationship you have with your stepchild, there are many good reasons to consider stepparent adoption.
You let the stepchildren know they are a priority to you
Not all stepparents want to be actively involved in the lives of their stepchildren. Your spouse’s kids might feel uncertain about where they stand in your life, especially if you already have children.
Pursuing a stepparent adoption lets your stepchildren know that you want to make a commitment to them and that they will be a priority and a part of your family no matter what happens.
You protect your relationship in case of a divorce
You love your spouse and probably plan to spend the rest of your life with them. However, if your relationship changes, your ability to see your stepchildren can change too. Adoption ensures that you have the right to ask for shared custody even if you get divorced because you will have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent. Although stepparents can sometimes ask for custody under the third-party custody law, it can be much easier to do so after an adoption.
There can be many steps involved in a stepparent adoption, from speaking with your spouse and your stepchildren to getting permission from the other biological parent if they are still alive. However, those steps can culminate in a stronger relationship for you and your stepchild, which will benefit your whole family.