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Can I Adopt My Sister’s Child?

In Florida, a relative (or kinship) adoption occurs when a grandparent, uncle, aunt, or sibling adopts a child. This type of adoption is like stepparent adoption and has simplified procedures compared to other types of this legal action.

Requirements for Relative Adoption

The legal requirements for relative adoption are the same as any other adoption, which are that the adopting party:

  • must be an adult over 18;
  • can be single or married; and/or
  • sometimes can be a minor if they are a sibling of the child and close to the legal age of adulthood.

In Florida, there are certain procedures an interested party must complete before the adoption can be official. These procedures are:

  • to file a petition with the circuit court the child currently lives;
  • evidence of consent from the biological parents;
  • relevant legal documents such as the child’s birth certificate and any prior court orders concerning support or custody;
  • complete a home study review to prove they are prepared to parent the child;
  • complete a provisionary placement period (usually for 6 months) where a court-appointed official will periodically check-in to make sure the child is well cared for; and
  • attend a final hearing where the judge will determine whether the interested party should obtain legal parental rights of the child.

Possible Disadvantages to Relative Adoption

While adopting a child within the family can be a wonderful thing, there may be some drawbacks every party should consider before beginning the process. Disadvantages to relative adoption include:

  1. Parenting Disagreements: When a relative adopts a child, it doesn’t mean they will be co-parenting with the biological parent. Once the child is legally adopted by their new parents, they have complete control over all important decisions that impact the child’s life. This can be difficult for biological parents who maintain regular contact with the adoptive parents and child. They may wish to give the adoptive parents advice or attempt to co-parent, but they have no legal right to do so and reminders of this could cause tension within the family.
  2. Feelings of Judgment: Biological parents may feel they are judged by other family members for allowing siblings to adopt their children. This stigma could create a rift in the overall family unit that could take some time to recover.
  3. Reminders of Loss: It may be hard for the biological parent to maintain a relationship with the adoptive parent and child. This is especially true if the biological parent had reservations about the adoption. This could make holiday and family gatherings especially difficult.

Advantages of Relative Adoption

While there are some potential drawbacks to relative adoption, there are positive advantages to this action as well.

Some advantages to relative adoption are:

  1. An Established Sense of Trust: When a biological parent chooses a relative to adopt their child, they know exactly the type of parent this person will be. Additionally, there is already a personal relationship between both parties which could make post-adoption interactions smoother.
  2. Increased Post-Adoption Contact: If the parties are on good terms and the adoption is amicable, it means the biological and adoptive parent can maintain regular contact. The biological parent can watch the child grow up in a home where they are loved and cared for and not have to worry about how the child is doing.
  3. Potential Decrease in Family Conflict: If family members do not support the idea of the biological parent placing their baby with an unrelated adopter, allowing a relative to adopt the child could diffuse any familial conflict. Also, the child will remain in the family where everyone will know the child will be safe.

Dependable Adoption Attorneys

Choosing to adopt a child from a relative is an amazing decision. The adoption lawyers at Beatriz Zyne, P.A. can help ease the adoption transition from the biological parent to their family member.

Call our firm at (305) 876-6138 or contact us online for a case evaluation.