Stepchild adoption? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 09-15-2004, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone out there that can share on adopting their stepchild(ren)? My DH's son's mom is going through drug issues and hasn't been in contact for a long time. My DD's birth father was really never in the picture, but his mother is pushing for contact (he doesn't seem to interested, and would probably go away if it weren't for his mom--might be mean to say, but true). He was abusive to me and is very immature when it comes to taking responsibility. Things are complicated on both sides of our children's other families. I've heard it can be hard and to just live with the differences.

I guess I want to know hard it is? What's the impact on the kids? I am adopted so I know something about the difference between birth parents and real parents. I am happy with my adoption and well adjusted (for the most part ) My DD has to go back for visitation (she had never lived with birth dad), and is now 3. She cries to me saying she doesn't want to go back for Christmas. It breaks my heart knowing that I can't do anything about it. I have to leave her with the birth father for a week. And she doesn't understand why. How do I explain that to her? My DSS has some emotional and behavioral issues. I know that I need to be more understanding at times. His birth mom left him and my DH when he was only 18mos, and her visitation has not been on a regular basis. But he knows who she is. I know the arguements for birth family rights and all. I guess I would just like to hear other stories if they are out there...

Thanks,
JK
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#2 of 6 Old 09-15-2004, 10:15 PM
 
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When I had just turned 10, my dad remarried... and the lady he married had a 5 year old daughter. After much counseling to get us all into shape, or somewhat so, they decided that they wanted to see about adopting us... my dad adopting my sister and her mom adopting me.

My birthmother died several months before my parents even got married, and I'd been going back and forth between both of my parents for years since they divorced when I was 3... so there really wasn't much of an issue with my adoption.

My sister's birthfather is still alive, though, and they had to have him informed of my dad's wish to adopt my sister. She had visited him off and on irregularly, and he was remarried and seemingly totally engrossed with his new wife and child. My sister wanted my dad to adopt her, and was just hoping that her birthdad wouldn't pitch a royal fit about it.

...he didn't, the jerk. He didn't seem to care whatsoever, in fact. Because of that, there was no opposition to my dad's adopting my sister, either.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I know that we've gotten along just fine developmentally... I think we were about 13 and 8 when the adoption was done. My sister even changed her middle and last names, as they'll allow you to change any part of your name when you're doing the paperwork.

I don't know how hard the process is, as I was too young to have had any part of what they went through to get all of it set up... and I'd imagine it differs from county to county and even state to state, too. I do know that it just validated all that we feel now, though... even without the adoptions, I'm sure we'd still be as much a family as we are now, but I am glad that my parents went through the trouble to do it, and I know my sister feels the same way, too.

As for your own situation, I guess you really just have to do what you think is best for the kids. If you feel that seeing a birthparent is negatively impacting them, then it might be all for the best if you looked into the adoption idea... especially if the birthparents in question seem to have no desire to be there as a responsible part of the kids' lives.

Just my thoughts.

Nikole ~ mom of NJ (10/98), TJ (10/04), and AJ (12/09)
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#3 of 6 Old 09-16-2004, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Nikole. I'm glad everything turned out for the best in your family. It seems people always want to tell me about the terrible things that could happen and not the positive things. I pray and want to do right for my children, I can see how both of them need us. My DD was about 18 mos, and his son was 3, when my husband and I got married. Our adjustment has been rocky at times, but it's getting better.

I can remember the first time my son said I love you, and called me mom or when he came running past dad into my arms for comfort from falling down. I can also remember an exchange with his birth mom and 5 of her "friends" when my DH and I went to pick him up since he has full custody. There was yelling and confrontation. My DSS tried to walk into my arms as they were held out for him and the birth mom snatched him up yelling at him saying that I'm his "STEP"-mom. The fear in this 4 year old's eyes was just hearbreaking. Later the birth mom wrote a letter to my husband only (addressed specifically to him-this shows great maturity IMO... ) apologizing for the exchange. All I could think about was where's the apology to her son? I feel all I do is shake my head in disbelief that a mother/father could act this way toward their children. There's more to the story, but I think you get the jist. I think we'll look into adoption again in the coming year. Again !
JK
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#4 of 6 Old 09-16-2004, 10:06 PM
 
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We have often considered my dh adopting my daughter. Her biological father is hardly ever in the picture (he will call or contact every so often) and is not mature or responsible. I think about asking him often, but chicken out lol. All I know is that is it is generally less complicated than the other kind of adoption (but not always) and that the child's birth parent has to sign to agree to the step parent adopting. Wishing you the best. You might try and contact your local circuit family court to get info.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#5 of 6 Old 10-09-2004, 04:54 PM
 
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My DH is adopting my almost 11 year old daughter this year. We are 95% done with the process and are just waiting for the fingerprint results to come back from CBI and then we will get to schedule the hearing. It really is not a hard process. The biggest factor for us was waiting for my daughter to be ready to be adopted. We did not force her and we told her it was always her decision. This year she told us she was ready to take on our last name and have my husband for her father. Her bio dad is completely out of the picture and has always been. He willingly signed the papers to relinquish anything to do with her (mainly to get out of child support) Grrr but don't get me started.

If you have any questions, PM me since I'm going through it right now and it's fresh
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#6 of 6 Old 10-10-2004, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply! I'm not sure if we will go through with it or not. At least not this year. My DSS's birth mom is now out of a 6 month rehab and I imagine she will try to make a better effort... although she has her hand full with a newborn that she had in rehab and an 1 yr old in state custody that she is trying to get back. I know the right thing to do is to give her another chance.

I did contact my DD's birth father with a letter awhile back and asked him to talk to me (which was very difficult for me to do, but I tried for my daughter's sake...). I asked him if he would relinquish his rights, and I would even pay for any legal fees past and present (I don't know if that was wrong or not). I reminded him that he would not be responsible for any child support... I was now married, we were stable financially, but it didn't work. He somehow managed to turn it back to him. Not that DD had a right to know him, but HE had the right to know her. And some other BS...

We did consult an attorney on both our cases and we were told that (we live in a different state than either birth parent) in the one we are in (MN) they would need to be notified (of course), but they would also be allowed to be appointed an attorney (free to them) if they decided to fight. Which I don't have any doubt that both would. The funny thing is, that no matter how different my DH and I's cases are...the other parents would fight this not for what is right for the children, but because they are selfish and the children are property to them. : I know it sounds cruel, and I may be wrong... Take DSS's birth mother. When DH and her were going through the divorce she didn't fight for any custody. DH got everything he wanted in regards to his son. So instead of fighting for custody or shared custody she faught for a car. Yes, a CAR! (one that she later got reposessed)

Maybe when they are a little older we can try again.
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