Can I Adopt My Foster Step Child?

Step Parent Adoption Lawyer

Step Parent Adoption Lawyer

Is it possible to adopt a step-child after being a foster parent to them?  Not all families foster children with the intent to adopt them, but many discover the foster child fits well with their family and want to take steps to adopt the child,  like a step parent adoption lawyer from a local law firm such as Taylor Law & Mediation PLLC would advise. Each circumstance is different as to why the child is in foster care and adoption may not even be an option in many cases.

Why is Your Foster Child in the Foster Care System?

The primary goal is to reunite the child with their family. They have been separated by the court for a number of reasons and until the court decides it is safe for the child to be reunited with their family, they will remain in foster care. This can take a long time — maybe over two years. It is important for the foster parent to support the goal and not try to manipulate the child into thinking perhaps life would be better at the foster parent’s home.

How Long Before You Know if Your Foster Step-Child Can Be Adopted?

The birth parents are usually given a year by the courts to get their case plan together. Once completed, the birth parents should be reunited with their children. The reunion will occur gradually or quickly depending upon how long they have been separated. The time together will be increased each visit until they can be together full time.

If the case plan is not completed by the time specified, the court will usually give the birth parents a six month to one year extension. If the court decides not to grant the extension, the parents will probably lose their parental rights and permanent custody of the children revert to the court until which time the children can be adopted. The birth parents still have the right to appeal the court’s decision if they do so in the required amount of time.

Adoption After Parent’s Rights are Terminated

After the termination of parental rights timeframe has passed and there are no appeals left, a meeting takes place to decide who is the best match with the child. The foster family where the child currently resides typically is the first to be considered.

Once you are selected as the appropriate match for the child it may still take several months before you are given a final adoption date. A family law attorney experienced in adoptions can assist you to make sure all the correct paperwork is submitted and work to keep the process moving along. The adoption date cannot be less than six months from the time the child came to live with you. Usually, by the time you get to the point of being able to adopt the child, you have already been fostering the child for one to two years.

It is important to remember that you do not need to have a large income or big home to be able to foster children. There are about 400,000 children currently in the foster care system in this country. Of that amount, about 25 percent are eligible for adoption. If you are looking to adopt, choosing a child that is already eligible will speed up the process considerably.