Kinship adoption is the formal legal adoption process where a child is adopted by a relative. These relatives can be

  • Grandparents
  • Aunts or uncles
  • Godparents and other adults considered fictive kin
  • Older siblings
  • Extended family members

Kinship adoption is preferred over placing a child in foster care whenever possible. It is not unusual for a grandparent to raise a grandchild  or for an aunt or uncle to care for a sibling’s child. However, the adoption process is much the same for relatives as for any other adoptive parent.

Benefits of kinship adoption

When you consider adopting a child who is related to you, it might seem as though an informal agreement will be enough. If the biological parents are ready to relinquish their parental rights, though, it’s still important to go through the legal process. There are advantages to kinship adoption, especially for older children.

Kinship adoption allows children to stay connected with familiar faces and cultural traditions during a difficult time. Children placed with relatives often experience a smoother transition and greater stability. Staying with familiar people can minimize the trauma associated with separation from the biological family.

An essential question: is the child’s need for care temporary or permanent? A legal guardianship does not end the biological parents’ parental rights. If the birth mother hopes to be able to take on the role of mother to the child in the future, guardianship rather than adoption is a better choice.

If the child will grow up in the home of their aunt, grandparent, or other relative as one of that individual’s children, adoption is the right choice.

What is “fictive kin”?

A godparent, teacher, or any unrelated adult who has a strong and positive emotional tie with the child (or with the infant’s birth mother) can fit the role of fictive kin. This is someone whom the child considers a member of the family.

Whether you are a blood relative or fictive kin, Heimer Law can assist you in finalizing the adoption of the child you love. Call us at (479) 225-9725 or fill out our simple Inquiry Form for a free consultation.

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