Adult Adoption

Within the tapestry of family law, adult adoption presents a unique strand that defies the typical image of adoption involving young individuals under 18 years or older. It’s a legal process that, although less common than child adoption, provides a means to forge a legal parent-child relationship between adults. 

This form of adoption can be considerably less complicated and cheaper, yet it still requires navigating through various legal nuances. Unlike adopting a minor, adult adoption often circumvents the lengthy procedures of traditional adoption, offering a simpler pathway for adults to formalize deep-seated bonds that have matured and strengthened over time.

Adult Adoption

Unlike traditional adoptions, adult adoption dispenses with the obligation to notify or obtain consent from a biological parent. The adoptive parents need not demonstrate reasons such as abandonment. Often, a Guardian ad Litem isn’t required, which streamlines the process and significantly reduces costs. While criminal background checks remain a prerequisite to legally adopt an adult, the laws governing such adoptions vary from state to state. In 39 states, there’s no age limit, while others have set specific age limits. Adult Adoption

People pursue adult adoption for diverse reasons, such as formalizing already existing familial relationships, or to ensure support and care for a loved one. Yet, the exact requirements for adult adoption differ, anchored by the fundamental principle that adopter(s) and adoptee must be willing participants.

Can You Legally Adopt an Adult?

The landscape of adult adoption laws is as diverse as the reasons behind the adoptions. In 39 states, adults can freely be adopted with 36 states imposing no age limit on who can be adopted. The remaining 3 have their age limits. 

The legal ability to adopt an adult covers reasons from formalizing pre-existing familial relationships to providing ongoing support and care for a loved one. However, the requirements for such adoptions differ from state to state. At the heart of it lies the fundamental principle that both parties must be willing participants in the adoption process, a thread that binds the patchwork of American adoption law together.

Common Reasons For an Adult Adoption:

1.) Adult Stepchild Adoption:

In the landscape of family dynamics, adult stepchild adoption presents a profound gesture, as impactful as the union cemented by marriage itself. When a stepparent steps into the role willingly, not just out of obligation, the relationship transcends the ordinary. This isn’t merely about blending families; it’s a deliberate choice to extend the adoption olive branch to an adult who has been a stepchild, not by choice, but by the nature of life’s complex weaving.

Common Motivations For Adult Stepchild Adoption:

Exploring the heart of why individuals are pursuing adoptions in adult stepchild scenarios reveals a myriad of motivations. Each story is a unique tapestry; some threads are woven from a desire for legal acknowledgment, others from a longing to heal the orphaned sections of one’s heart. Such adoptions are far more than legal formalities; they are intimate covenants that speak to the depth of human relationships.

  • Strengthening Family Bonds: The adoption process often culminates in the legal and emotional connection one yearns for. It serves to formalize a parent-child relationship that has developed over the years. This legal bond solidifies what many families have long felt in their hearts: an unbreakable bond. Here, in this legal labyrinth, hearts are not merely connected by clauses and conditions but by the kindred spirits that have found each other.
  • Inheritance Rights: Securing inheritance rights often necessitates the establishment of a legal parent-child relationship. Here, the lines between biological and adopted children blur, as the law clasps hands with love, ensuring that the adoptive parent’s legacy can be passed down. This is more than assets; it’s about the legacy of love, values, and memories that form the true wealth of a family.
  • Legal Rights: Legal rights encompass far more than the cold print of the law; they afford privileges that were once unattainable. For the stepchild, this might mean access to medical information, or inclusion in social security benefits—vital lifelines that can sustain them through life’s unpredictable storms. These rights act as a shield and a beacon, guiding the family unit through the legalities of life.
  • Emotional and Psychological Benefits: The tapestry of emotional and psychological benefits that come with adult stepchild adoption is rich and complex. For both the adoptee and the adoptive parent, it’s about cementing a sense of belonging, a consolidation of identity, and an enhancement of security. Within this familial embrace, the commitment is palpable, and the network of support is both seen and unseen, resonating with the heart’s silent language of love.
  • Symbolic Gesture: When a stepparent adopts an adult stepchild, it is a symbolic gesture that publicly acknowledges the unspoken. It’s not just a bond that’s being celebrated but also a commitment—a declaration that the terms “stepchild” and “stepparent” are merely societal constructs, unable to confine the expansiveness of their love. This act becomes a public declaration, resonating with the echoes of unwavering love and dedication.

2.) Legal Inheritance Rights:

In my tenure as an estate planner, I’ve seen myriad reasons why someone would pursue adult adoption, but one of the most compelling is to secure legal inheritance rights. This act is not about creating a family in the traditional sense; rather, it’s a pragmatic method to transfer inheritance such as property and assets without leaving room for contention. 

It’s a form of formalizing a legal relationship that turns a nonrelative into a legally recognized heir, effectively narrowing the window for other potential heirs to challenge the estate’s distribution.

Example of an Adult Adoption For Inheritance Purposes:

Consider a client of mine, a successful business owner without a spouse or children but with considerable wealth to his name. His relatives were the sort that you could classify as gold diggers, always too keen on what they could gain upon his passing. He wanted his business and wealth to bypass such inheritance challenges posthumously. His will was clear, yet he understood the peril of will disputes.

Enter a long-time employee, a nonrelative whom he regarded as a son. The idea of adult adoption seemed novel at first, but it was the perfect stratagem to ensure his business ownership could transfer seamlessly. Once a judge approved this, his employee became his new son, legally positioned to inherit without dispute, thus securing the future of the company, which transitioned smoothly after my client’s death.

3.) Adult Adoption Due to Sickness or Disability:

In the landscape of adult adoption, an often overlooked chapter is the one written by sickness or disability. It’s a significant occurrence that weaves together the resilience of the human spirit and the intricacies of care. In my journey as a legal advisor, I’ve seen firsthand how health challenges push individuals to consider adoption for reasons that transcend the traditional family structure. It’s about creating a bond that can withstand the storms of health crises, ensuring that someone is there to hold the helm when waves of uncertainty hit.

Some Potential Motivations For Adult Adoption Due to Sickness or Disability:

The tapestry of potential motivations behind adult adoption in the context of sickness and disability is as varied as the human experience itself. In my professional narrative, I’ve encountered stories where the drive for such a decision is a blend of necessity and foresight. 

The truth is, the adoption isn’t merely a legal process; it’s the acknowledgment of a mutual reliance that sickness and disability often necessitate, a nod to the reality that sometimes, the strongest families are the ones chosen through adversity.

  • Legal decision-making: When it comes to legal decision-making, taking the step to adopt an adult can be a profound expression of trust and responsibility. As someone who has navigated the complex legal seas for others, I’ve observed that the adopting individual seeks not just legal authority but a sanctified connection. This allows them to make pivotal medical and care-related decisions during times of illness or incapacity, which might otherwise be mired in bureaucratic limbo. It’s a decisive step toward certainty in uncertain times.
  • Caregiving and support: Caregiving and support are the bedrock of any adoption borne out of sickness or disability. By choosing to formalize this relationship, both parties are cementing a commitment to the care and assistance that bolsters well-being and quality of life. In my role, of advising those on this journey, I’ve seen how this act of legal recognition can both validate and strengthen the bond that is as critical to emotional health as it is to physical sustenance.
  • Financial and insurance benefits: Navigating the labyrinth of financial and insurance benefits can be a daunting task, especially when faced with a disability or chronic sickness. The right to health insurance coverage and disability benefits can alleviate the financial burden on the adopted individual, something I’ve helped many to secure. It’s a practical side of adoption that weaves security into the fabric of care, ensuring that the focus remains on healing and not on the daunting economics of health.
  • Long-term planning and security: Finally, long-term planning and security are central themes in the story of adult adoption. In my experience, it’s akin to constructing a lighthouse that guides through the fog of uncertainty. Establishing guardianship imparts peace of mind—a solid foundation for future planning that safeguards both the adoptee and adopter. It’s an emotional and pragmatic fortress that stands guard over the unpredictable tides of life, assuring that when the future comes, it does not come alone.

4.) Foster Parents and Foster Child:

For those who have navigated the foster care system, the leap from foster parent to adoptive parent can sometimes be just a heart’s desire away. The close bond that blossoms between child and caretaker can make the transition from temporary care to a permanent family feel as natural as the sun’s rise. 

Yet, when a child crosses the threshold into adulthood, hitting the age of 18, the tapestry of legal complexities can make adult adoptions a poignant but daunting task. Parental rights don’t always catch up with the emotional ties that bind, leaving many to wrestle with factors that render adoption difficult if not feasible, despite the depth of connection.

Navigating the foster care system can be akin to walking through a labyrinth, where foster parents may feel a powerful sense of duty to their now-grown foster child. These caregivers often stand ready to confront the bureaucratic behemoth to legally affirm what has been true in their hearts: the child is theirs. 

However, the process is peppered with complexities; it’s a journey through a legal thicket where the simplicity of love meets the rigidity of law, especially when adoption has not occurred before the child reaches the age of 18. It is this reality that illuminates the factors making adult adoptions appear as beacons of light at the end of a tumultuous tunnel.

5.) Reconnecting With A Birth Family:

The tapestry of human emotion weaves a powerful narrative when an individual harbors the desire to find and reconnect with their birth parents. Adult adoptions offer a legal framework for these numerous stories, providing a way for a person to formalize a bond that has, perhaps, always lingered in the hinterlands of their heart. 

It’s not merely about legalities; it’s about stitching together the frayed edges of the past to secure emotional closure and a renewed sense of belonging that only family can offer.

The journey to reconnect with one’s birth family can be like a river finally meeting the sea – a return to the source. Adoption can be the vessel that sails a person back to the familiar yet uncharted waters of their beginnings. 

For some, adult adoptions serve as the ceremonial bridge to cross over back to their roots, allowing them to legally and emotionally anchor themselves in the lineage they have longed to claim. In these reunions, adult adoptions become less about creating ties and more about acknowledging and solidifying the bond that has, in some ways, always existed.

Legal Consequences That Occur With an Adult Adoption:

Navigating through the complex waters of legal consequences that accompany an adult adoption is akin to traversing a labyrinth that varies dramatically from one state to state. Despite the variations, some common legal implications emerge as universally applicable. These ripple effects extend from the mere addition of a family member to profound changes in legal statuses, weaving a new tapestry of rights and responsibilities.

1.) Parent-Child Relationship Is Legally Established:

Upon the stroke of a judge’s pen, an adoptive parent and an adopted adult are stitched together into a legal parent-child relationship. This isn’t merely symbolic; it’s an entwining of lives that introduces legal rights and responsibilities that were hitherto non-existent for the pair. The adoptee gains inheritance rights akin to a biological progeny, and the adoptive parents take on the mantle of financial obligations. They can make pivotal medical decisions and crucial legal decisions—a bond just as strong, if not stronger, than biology would dictate.

2.) Name Change:

In my professional encounters, I’ve witnessed the powerful moment when an adopted adult chooses to take on the surname of their adoptive family—a significant milestone often formalized in legal documents. It’s a profound symbol of belonging, etching their place in the family tree. This change, however, is not merely emotional but ripples across all realms of identity, necessitating updates to passports, bank accounts, and social security records, to name a few.

3.) Inheritance Rights:

Inheritance rights are perhaps one of the most tangible legal shifts post-adoption. An adopted adult stands to inherit from their adoptive parent(s) as if they were a biological child, often superseding previous arrangements. Their newfound stake in assets and property is protected and recognized under inheritance laws, which could equate to significant financial benefits depending on the adoptive parents’ net worth. This aspect alone can drastically alter the financial trajectory of the adopted individual.

4.) Parental Rights and Obligations:

With adoption, adoptive parents assume a litany of legal responsibilities—a commitment that extends beyond mere emotional support. They are expected to provide financial support, oversee medical care, and offer emotional nurturing. In return, they gain certain legal rights, such as the right to claim support and benefits on behalf of their new child, creating a safety net that didn’t exist before. It’s a binding contract of care and commitment that forges a new family dynamic.

5.) Termination of Prior Legal Relationships:

The legal tapestry of adult adoption often involves the termination of legal relationships with the adoptee’s biological or previous legal parents. It’s not merely a shift but an erasure of prior legal rights and obligations, including any inheritance claims they might have had. This modification of familial bonds is not uniform across the board; some states may allow the adoptee to retain the right to inherit from their former parents, even after the adoption decree. Each case can be a delicate dance of legalities, severing some ties while creating new ones.

Factors that May Prevent Court Approval of Adult Adoptions:

When delving into the delicate tapestry of adult adoptions, the legality of such matters often varies dramatically from state to state. My journey through family law has illuminated various specific requirements that can hinder court approval, where the laws of one jurisdiction may differ starkly from another. 

Among common scenarios the court must consider is the presence of illegal activities, which can outright prevent the approval of an adoption.

1.) Adoptions for Immigration Fraud:

The specter of immigration fraud casts a long shadow over the legitimacy of adult adoptions. Ethical and legal considerations are paramount, and immigration authorities across countries have erected measures to curtail the abuse of the adoption system. When an adoption is discerned as a veiled attempt to deceive and is attempting to sidestep immigration policy for fraudulent immigration purposes, the consequences can be severe. Not only could such actions lead to criminal charges and deportation, but they also herald potential future immigration complications.

2.) Financial Exploitation and Inheritance Abuse:

In the realm of adult adoption, the court remains vigilant against financial exploitation and inheritance abuse. There are disconcerting contexts where a vulnerable or infirm individual might be persuaded or even coerced into consenting to an adoption. 

Such cases typically aim to secure an inheritance or control over the assets of the adoptee. The underlying motive is not the well-being of the adoptee, but rather to manipulate the inheritance process. When intentions are suspicious, the court may prompt an investigation into the possibility of an exploit. If there’s a whiff of foul play, a court order could deny the petition.

3.) Lack of Consent or Coercion:

Drawing from personal expertise, evidence of an adoption being forced or coerced can create an insurmountable barrier to court approval. All parties involved must demonstrate free will, devoid of threats or manipulation. 

Any hint of undue influence can sway the court to deny the approval of an adoption. Consent must be unequivocal for the judicial system to proceed with confidence.

4.) Age Difference:

Age difference is another critical gauge for adult adoptions, with many states adhering to a ten-year minimum between the parties involved in adult adoptions. This requirement is not just a number; it’s a safeguard, reflecting the understanding that age proximity may better reflect a genuine parent-child relationship, which is the spirit behind the law’s creation.

States That Allow Adult Adoption Regardless of Age:

State Statute Number Consent of Adoptee’s Spouse Required?
Alaska Alaska Stat. § 25.23.020 Yes. Alaska Stat. § 25.23.050
Arkansas Ark. Code § 9-9-203 Yes. Ark. Code § 9-9-206
California Cal. Fam. Code § 9300 Yes. Cal. Fam. Code § 9301
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-1-101 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.
Delaware Del. Code tit. 13 § 903 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted. Del. Code tit. 13 § 907
Florida Fla. Stat. § 63.042 Yes. Fla. Stat. § 63.062
Georgia Ga. Code § 19-8-21 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.
Hawaii Haw. Rev. Stat. § 578-1.5 Yes. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 578-2
Indiana Ind. Code § 31-19-2-1 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.
Iowa Iowa Code § 600.5 Yes. Iowa Code § 600.7
Kansas Kan. Stat. § 59-2113 Yes. Kan. Stat. § 59-2140
Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. § 405.390 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 405.390
Maine Maine Stat. Title 18-C §9-302. No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.
Maryland Adults are not barred from being adopted, and adopting an adult follows the same basic process as adopting a minor. Md. Code, Fam. Law § 5-3A-35 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws § 710.24 Yes. Mich. Comp. Laws § 710.24
Minnesota Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 905.01 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted. Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 905.01
Mississippi Miss. Code § 93-17-3 Yes. Miss. Code § 93-17-3
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. § 453.030 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 453.030
Montana Mont. Code § 42-4-401 Yes. Mont. Code § 42-4-403
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. § 170-B:3 Yes. N.H. Rev. Stat. § 170-B:3
New Mexico N.M. Stat. § 40-14-5 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted. M. Stat. § 40-14-6.
New York N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law § 110 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-5-101 Yes. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48-5-102
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code § 14-15-05 Yes. N.D. Cent. Code § 14-15-05
Oklahoma Okla. Stat. tit. 10 § 7507-1.1 Yes. Okla. Stat. tit. 10 § 7507-1.1
Oregon ORS § 109.329 Yes. ORS § 109.329
Pennsylvania 23 Pa. C.S. § 2311 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws § 15-7-4 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.
South Carolina S.C. Code § 63-9-1120 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.
Tennessee Tenn. Code § 36-1-117 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted. Tenn. Code § 36-1-117
Texas Tex. Fam. Code § 162.501 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted. Tex. Fam. Code § 162.504
Utah Utah Code § 78B-6-115. Utah law requires anyone adopting a “child” must be 10 years older than the adoptee. This statute does not appear to apply to adult adoptions. Utah Code § 78B-6-118. No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.
Vermont Vt. Stat. tit. 15A § 5-101 Vt. Stat. tit. 15A § 5-103
Washington WA Rev Code § 26.33.140 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.
Utah Code § 78B-6-115. Utah law requires anyone adopting a “child” must be 10 years older than the adoptee. This statute does not appear to apply to adult adoptions. Utah Code § 78B-6-118. W. Va. Code § 48-22-801 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. § 882.01 No. Requires only the consent of the person to be adopted.

States That Require The Adult to be Adopted Must Be Younger Than The Adoptive Parent:

State Law Age Requirements
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-734. The person being adopted must be younger than the person adopting.
Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 210 § 1 The person being adopted must be younger than the person adopting.
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. § 127.190 The person being adopted must be younger than the person adopting.

States That Have Specific Limitations on Adopting an Adult:

As someone who has navigated the complexities of adoption law across various states, I’ve found that each state has its unique tapestry of statutes and limitations concerning adult adoption. The process is not as widely understood as child adoption, and it carries specific nuances and legal thresholds that can be quite surprising. Let’s unravel some of these state-specific restrictions that might not be immediately apparent to those looking to forge new family bonds through adoption.

Alabama Adult Adoption Law:

  • In Alabama, the law under Section 26-10F-6 stipulates that an adult adoption is permissible only if the adoptive party is 19 years of age or older.
  • A couple can jointly adopt an adult, but the adult being adopted must give their consent.
  • The adoptee must be related by blood or marriage, or have lived with the adoptive parent in their home for one year before filing an adoption petition.
  • There must be legitimate reasons for the adoption, and it must not be for fraudulent purposes, such as immigration fraud or financial fraud.

Arizona Adult Adoption Law:

  • Arizona law allows for adult adoptions with specific requirements: The adoptee must be between eighteen years and twenty-one years old and must consent to the adoption.
  • The adult can be a stepchild, niece, nephew, cousin, or grandchild, and there should be evidence of a foster parent or juvenile with a continuous familial relationship for at least five years.
  • An adoption agreement must be finalized with a decree of adoption from a court in the county where the adoptee or adopting party resides, establishing a legal parent-child relationship and potentially a change in the adoptee’s name according to Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 14-8101.

Idaho Adult Adoption Law:

  • Under Idaho law, the adopter must have sustained a parental relationship with the adoptee for a period exceeding one year unless the adoptee was a minor.
  • A substantial family relationship must be demonstrated, and an investigation by the court is required to establish a legal parent-child relationship according to Idaho Code § 16-1501.

Illinois Adult Adoption Law:

  • Illinois law requires that an adult must have resided with the prospective adoptive parents for two years continuously before the adoption proceedings.
  • The person being adopted must be related by a degree to the related child, and the process must comply with the Adoption Act to create a legal parent-child relationship, as specified in 750 Illinois Compiled Stat. 50/3.

Louisiana Adult Adoption:

  • In Louisiana, an adult can be adopted with court authorization, and the adoptive parent must be the spouse or surviving spouse of a parent of the person adopted.
  • A joint petition must be filed once the adoptee has reached the age of majority, and the court will conduct a hearing to determine the best interest of all parties by Louisiana Civ. Code art. 212.

Nebraska Adult Adoption Law:

  • Nebraska law, although limited compared to Nevada, allows a spouse or the adult child’s parent who was not born in wedlock to establish a parent-child relationship with the prospective adoptive parent(s) if they have resided together for a minimum of six months past the age of majority, as per Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-101.

New Jersey Adult Adoption Law:

  • New Jersey law mandates that the court must find the adoptive parents to be of good moral character and reputable standing in their community.
  • The adoption must present a clear advantage or benefit to the person adopted, and the biological or legal parents, if older, must request in writing, acknowledged like deeds, a waiver of their rights in favor of the adoptee’s best interests for the judgment of adoption, as delineated in New Jersey Stat. § 2A:22-2.

Ohio Adult Adoption Law:

  • In Ohio, an adult can be adopted under circumstances where they are totally and permanently disabled or have an intellectual disability.
  • The law also permits adoption by a child-foster caregiver, kinship caregiver, or when a child-stepparent relationship exists.
  • The petitioners may adopt a minor who consents after their eighteenth birthday or who is in the permanent custody of a public children services agency or a private child placing agency as a child of the spouse of the petitioner, as per Ohio Rev. Code § 3107.01.

South Dakota Adult Adoption Law:

  • South Dakota requires a petition for adoption to be presented to a judge of the circuit court accompanied by a written agreement.
  • If the adoptee is the natural child of the petitioner, their consent is necessary, and they must have lived in the home of the adoptive parent until the age of twenty-one years, although the age of minority and biological child living requirement can be waived under certain conditions, as stated in South Dakota Codified Laws § 25-6-18.

Virginia Adult Adoption Law:

  • In Virginia, the process for adopting a stepchild of eighteen years requires demonstrating that one has stood in loco parentis, akin to a close relative or birth child of the petitioner.
  • They must have resided in the home of the petitioner and shown good cause for adoption, especially if they are fifteen years younger than the adopting adult and have been known for at least one year before the petition for adoption, as specified in Virginia Code § 63.2-1243.

Wyoming Adult Adoption Law:

  • Wyoming’s unique stance on adult adoption requires that the person adopted does not reside outside the jurisdiction where the adoption petition is filed.
  • Eligible parties include a stepparent, grandparent, blood relative, foster parent, or legal guardian who has been raising the child.
  • The consent of all involved parties is mandatory, and the court must approve the adoption, as outlined in Wyo. Stat. § 1-22-102.

Steps to Obtain an Adult Adoption:

Navigating the steps of an adult adoption can feel like traversing a labyrinth, with each state boasting its unique twists and turns. Despite the variance, a general process is commonly followed, a map that guides the hopeful through the typical landmarks of legal family ties. It’s akin to assembling a puzzle where each piece represents a different legal or personal milestone, but all must fit together to see the complete picture.

1.) Determine Eligibility:

Before embarking on the adoption process, one must ensure they meet the eligibility criteria set forth by their respective state. As an adoptive parent, I’ve learned that the nuances of requirements such as age and residency can dictate the journey’s onset. The relationship between the parties often acts as the compass, guiding the process in a direction favorable to the formation of this new legal bond.

2.) Obtain Consent:

Much like a sacred agreement, consent is the keystone of the adult adoption arch. In most states, not only must the adopted person agree, but also, if married, the adoptive parent’s spouse. This signifies unity and support, echoing the harmony needed for such a life-changing decision. Without consent, the entire structure risks crumbling into a heap of unfulfilled legal aspirations.

3.) Prepare the Adoption Petition:

To prepare the adoption petition is to draft the script of a new beginning. This legal document will be presented to the court, embodying the details of both adoptive parent and adoptee – from names and addresses to the intricate web of their relationship and the heartfelt reasons for seeking adoption. Crafting this narrative requires not just legal know-how but also a touch of storytelling.

4.) File the Adoption Petition:

One must then file the carefully curated adoption petition within the court of the county where the adoptive parent or adoptee lives. The filing fee sets the bureaucratic wheels in motion, marking the start of a process where dreams inch closer to reality. Here, paperwork transforms into a ticket for a journey of familial rebirth.

5.) Attend a Court Hearing:

The court hearing is the crescendo of this orchestration. Scheduled to review the adoption petition, it’s a stage where the judge’s questions unveil the story behind the request. All parties must articulate their desire and readiness for this legal bond, ensuring it aligns with the best interests of everyone involved, particularly the adoptee.

6.) Finalize the Adoption:

Upon the judge’s approval, the adoption reaches its zenith, and an adoption decree is issued. This legal document doesn’t just finalize the adoption; it weaves a new thread into the family tapestry, confirming the legal parent-child relationship with the authority of the court. It’s a solemn nod to a newly minted kinship, binding and absolute.

7.) Change of Name: (if desired)

For some, the adoption process blooms fully with a change of name, an emblem of a new chapter. With the adoption decree in hand, the adoptee can choose a new name, crafting a moniker that echoes their reborn identity within the family. It’s a personal touch to the official narrative, a signature of their transformed status.


In the mosaic of human relationships, adult adoption reflects an understanding that the essence of family transcends biological ties. It can be a legal sanctification of a pre-existing emotional bond, a strategic step in estate planning, or a means to ensure care in the face of adversity. Adult adoption serves to acknowledge that families are not just born but can be deliberately built on the foundations of choice, commitment, and love. This choice to legalize a deep-rooted relationship honors the complexity and richness of human connections, challenging us to reconsider the traditional boundaries of what constitutes family. As society evolves, perhaps adult adoption is not merely a legal procedure but a frontier in the ongoing exploration of what it means to belong to one another.

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