Why do people adopt stepchildren?

Stepparent adoption can be a beneficial option to provide financial benefits and security for the child while giving a voice to the nonbiological parent.

Some blended families in Arkansas may choose to legally combine their family members through stepchild adoption. When this process is taken on for the sake of the child, it can be very beneficial. When a stepparent adopts his or her spouse's child, the legal rights of the other biological parent are taken away. For this reason, many families choose to forgo the legal process when the other biological parent has an active role in the life of the child. In fact, according to the Administration for Children and Families, only 1.9 percent of all adoptions in the country over the period of a single year were stepparent adoptions.

To provide more for the child

If the family's health insurance comes from the nonbiological parent of the child, the child may not be able to be covered by the plan. In this type of circumstance, the child may be better provided for if he or she is officially adopted by the stepparent or if the other biological parent shoulders the responsibility of providing health care.

After the adoption process is completed, stepparents may have an easier time writing stepchildren into their wills. This means, should something happen to the nonbiological mother or father, all children will be financially taken care of.

To provide a sense of belonging

When the other biological parent is deceased or estranged, it can leave the child feeling as if he or she does not really belong to the new family unit. Going through the legal process and officially making the child a member of the family can go a long way toward fostering a feeling of permanence. In some cases, this process can bring all members of the blended family closer together.

To give the stepparent a say

Without stepparent adoption, any nonbiological parents can be overridden when it comes to making decisions for the children. The legal process can make it easier for stepparents to be a part of major life decisions and moments, including the following:

  • Picking out where the children will go to school.
  • Being able to approve medical procedures even if the biological parent is incapacitated.
  • Attending doctor appointments without the other spouse.
  • Picking the children up from school.
  • Obtaining medical records from the hospital.

Many couples manage to go through daily life without stepparent adoption. However, creating a legal bond between a child and his or her stepmom or -dad can leave both parents feeling like equal parts of the child-rearing experience.

Under certain circumstances, a stepparent adoption may be the best decision for the entire family unit. No matter what circumstances surround this type of legal proceeding, it can be helpful to talk with an attorney who is knowledgeable about family law.