Is legal adoption an option for loving stepparents in Louisiana?

If you marry someone who already has children from a previous relationship, you get an instant family instead of just a spouse. It can be exciting to go from a single person living alone to living in a bustling house full of growing young minds and people you love. Eventually, as you deepen your bond with the children, you may feel compelled to make that relationship with them even stronger.

Stepparent adoption can be a way for you to become a more permanent fixture in the lives of your stepchildren. Becoming an adoptive parent will ensure you can be part of the children’s lives even if you divorce their parent or if your spouse dies unexpectedly. Is it possible to legally adopt your stepchildren as a Louisiana resident?

The state limits families to two living legal parents

Stepparent adoption is one of the more common forms of adoption, but it has some unique challenges for the would-be adoptive parent. Specifically, if the other biological parent is still alive, you may need to get their permission.

Not only will they need to okay the adoption, but they will have to formally give up their parental rights in order for you to adopt. Some parents, including those incarcerated or too ill to care for their children, may agree to waive their parental rights. Other times, it will be the biological parent who is the biggest obstacle for your desired adoption. In situations where the state terminated their rights or they died, however, you can adopt without their approval.

Make sure your spouse thinks adoption is appropriate

Before you speak with your stepchild’s other parent or even talk to the child about the idea of adopting them, it’s important that you first discuss this major, family-altering decision with your spouse.

They may have valid reasons for choosing not to endorse the adoption, including a family inheritance through their ex, military health benefits or other, complicated situations. If you and your spouse agree that an adoption would benefit the family as a whole, then you can potentially move forward with the other details.

If you want to pursue an adoption, legal assistance from the earliest ages will help you understand what is possible and necessary for your situation.