The U.S. has a large number of blended families. In some cases, the merging of households is so successful that stepfamilies decide to form legal bonds as well as emotional ones.
If you are a stepparent in Missouri who loves your stepchildren as if they were your flesh and blood progeny, you may wish to adopt them. The state has certain requirements you must meet to do so.
1. Acquire the consent of your stepchildren and their biological parents
The law compels you to obtain the permission of your stepchildren and the parent you are supplanting. Youths 14 or older may sign the consent form to signal their agreement. If they are younger, the court establishes a guardian to determine if the adoption is in their best interests and give consent for them. If the natural parent no longer has parental rights, is unidentifiable, fails to respond to queries, is mentally incompetent or abandoned the child at least six months prior, his or her consent is unnecessary.
2. Pass a home study
A licensed social worker must investigate your home and deem it appropriate. The evaluation also includes you and any other adult members of your household. The court may waive this portion of the process if it chooses to.
3. Attend a hearing
The purpose of the hearing is for the court to assess whether or not you followed the proper procedures and determine if the adoption meets the stepchildren’s best interests. At the end, it decides whether or not to allow the proceedings to go through.
Adopting your stepchild does not have to be difficult. As long as the biological parent agrees and you do not possess a troublesome history, complications are unlikely.