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Adopting step-children

My husband and I have been together 5 years and married for about 1 1/2. He has three children from a previous marriage, ages 7, 5, and 4. Their biological mom has not seen them for almost two years, Mothers Day 2011 will be two years. In this time she hasn't contacted them either. When they were divorced, she signed full majority custody of the older two to my husband. When she had the third one, my husband had a paternity test to find out if he was his, we started having visitation at 6 months. By one year, we had full majority custody of him as well, court determined. He has talked to someone lawyers recently about getting his ex's rights taken away so that i can adopt them, but he keeps getting the run around. Does anyone have any experience with this or advice on what we should do next?

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Asked by CRLmommy at 10:14 AM on Mar. 16, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 4 (34 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • Will the bio mother sign to give up her rights? It would probably be easiest if you could get her permission to let you adopt them.

    Answer by MrsMWF at 10:24 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • Usually if you cant get the bio parent to sign them over you have to file for a TPR. All states are different but generally no contact or visitation for 1 yr is enough to start the process. However, dont think its all that easy. If she shows up and says she wants her rights, and it has only been 2 yrs a judge could say she has more time to show an interest. My best friend recently went through an adoption procedure so her husband could adopt her dd. DD had never met bio dad and was 8 and thinks her dh is her dad. They had to do it twice before getting a judge to sign off on it.

    Answer by gemgem at 10:30 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • Oh forgot to add no visits, child support, letters, gifts etc.

    Answer by gemgem at 10:30 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • You can advice is to actually hire an attorney. In our state, a step parent can adopt if one of two things have happened 1. the parental rights have been terminated, the only way that can happen is if there has been no contact including child support with the children from the absent parent or 2. The biological parent will sign a paper agreeing with the adoption. You also have to be married at least a year, and have in home visitation by your local Social services... So if you are getting the run around from attorney's contact your local Children Services and see how they can help you. Good Luck.

    Answer by kitchenwitch78 at 10:35 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • I agree with kitchenwitch. It is totally doable but definitely hire a lawyer. I have to add that I completely disagree with jorjiegirl. Your biological kids can completely turn on you like that. You love them through it. Also, maybe her sd turned on her because she knew that her stepmother didnt love her enough to adopt her. Just a thought.

    Answer by suark at 10:41 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • There actually has been no contact, no child support, no nothing. She has actually done this before, but for a shorter period of time (6 months). She was granted a phase in period and then continued her visits. My husband has never denied her anything when it comes to seeing the kids. Thanks all for the good advice.

    Comment by CRLmommy (original poster) at 10:53 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • It all depends on your state. Look up your states adoption law/rules. I would definately get an attorney that specializes in adoptions. I am looking into the same thing here in my state. I know that in Maryland, they try to contact the birth parent first. If they are not reachable by phone or mail, they put an annoucement in the paper asking for them to contact their office. If after, I think, 90 days they don't get a response from the birth parent, you can begin the process.Your story sounds so much like mine. No contact, visits, phone calls, birthday/christmas gifts, or cards. Nothing from her for about 2 years also. Before that, if she did call, she made up lies to tell them as to why she never calls/visits. Then she would get their hopes up and make plans to visit and never show up. We have no idea where she is. The kids are better off without her broken promises/lies anyway.Good luck with your situation.

    Answer by TLC1977 at 10:59 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • Good Luck. Unless biomom signs the TPR it could take a long long time.

    Answer by meooma at 1:40 PM on Mar. 16, 2011

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