Attorney Serving Seattle and the Pacific Northwest
OTHER TYPES OF ADOPTION
Step-Parent Adoption. I regularly assist families with step-parent adoptions. Although the process is more streamlined than independent or agency adoptions, a homestudy is still required and the parental rights (if any) of the other biological parent must be properly addressed.
In addition to the psychological and logistical advantages of being adopted by the person who is performing parental responsibilities, some practical reasons to pursue step-parent adoption include ensuring that the child (a) will automatically remain with the step-parent if the biological parent dies; (b) will be eligible for social security or other benefits available to children upon the death or disability of a parent; and (c) can inherit under wills providing for distributions to children or grandchildren.
In some cases, if a child’s biological parent will not consent to the adoption while the child is a minor, families complete the adoption as soon as the child turns 18, at which time it is considered an adult adoption and the biological parent’s consent is no longer necessary.
Second-Parent Adoption.Second-Parent adoptions are similar to step-parent adoptions in that they involve the adoption of a child by someone who is already functioning as that child’s parent. Most commonly, I help the non-biological parent of a same-sex couple’s child obtain a Decree of Adoption to ensure that his or her parentage is not subject to attack under the laws of a different state.
Under Washington law, the non-biological parent of his or her spouse’s biological child is automatically a legal parent. But that is based on a Washington statute, and other states have different laws. If your family moved to a state with different laws, that state could refuse to recognize your status as a parent because it is not required to give effect to the statues of another state. However, states are required to recognize court orders from other states. A Decree of Adoption is a court order. Therefore, establishing your parentage via an adoption decree provides broader protection than simply replying on Washington law.
Adult Adoption.Adult adoptions are the simplest types of adoption, because no homestudy is required and the only necessary consents are from the adoptee and the adoptive parent. As long as the adoption is not intended to accomplish a goal other than formalizing a parent-child-like relationship (such as achieving immigration status, qualifying for benefits, etc.), anyone over the age of 18 can adopt any other adult.
Foster-To-Adopt.Foster-to-Adopt refers to a process whereby prospective parents become licensed foster parents, and hope to adopt their foster child if the state terminates his biological parents’ rights. Private attorneys typically play a very small role until finalization, because the process is driven by the Department of Social and Health Services and their case workers. However, I do consult with clients about this topic and help them evaluate whether it is a good path for their family.
For further information or to schedule an appointment,