It is always a joyous event when a stepparent can fill the hole in a child’s life and legally become the parent that that child needs. If you have stepchildren, you and your spouse may have wondered what it would take for you to become their legal parent through the adoption process.
The good news for stepparents
The good news is that Oklahoma, like many other states, has a streamlined process for stepparents who want to adopt their stepchildren. In other words, the process will be significantly easier for you to adopt your stepchild than it would be for someone who is completely unrelated to the child.
As long as you have been married to your stepchild’s parent for at least a year, you can bypass the home study process that most potential adopters must go through. This streamlined process can save you significant amounts of time and stress, and permit you to get to the end of the adoption process much more quickly.
The permission requirement
The first, and hardest, step of the process is obtaining the permission of the child’s other biological parent. In most cases, you cannot adopt your stepchild without both of their parents’ consent if their other parent has not given up or lost their parental rights over the child.
If your stepchild’s other parent has completely abandoned their child and is not present in their life, but still refuses to grant you permission to adopt the child, then it is possible to initiate legal proceedings to get a court to intervene. Under some circumstances it is possible to have the court terminate their parental rights and approve your adoption, if it is in the best interest of the child to do so.
The ability to adopt the child that you have come to love as your own will no doubt be one of the most joyous events of your life – and of that of the child. As complex as the process may seem at times, the end result will be well worth the hassle.