Step parent adoption is a process which is relatively simple in most of the States in the United States. And it can be a rewarding experience if the parents are able to understand the responsibilities which accompanies it. It's a lifelong relationship with no possibility of reverting even if you wish to do so. If you are someone planning to adopt a child, it is highly recommended that you should understand your duties as a step parent.
Adopting the child is the end of a relationship and the beginning of an entirely new relationship in a child's life. After making sure that the child you wish to adopt is emotionally prepared for the change, you can take the matter forward to the next level. Initiate the official process by registering a petition in the court with the required information. For instance, the credentials of the step parents and the child. It should also contain the information on the circumstances which led to the decision. In some States, a supplementary complaint should be registered, providing extra information like the professional status of the step parent, previous marriages if any etc. A copy of the petition should be sent to the natural parents of the child whom you wish to adopt. The stepparent adoption process becomes easier if both the natural parents gives consent to the adoption in a statement.
Upon this, the court would send someone to check if the step parent's home has all the conditions required for the adoption. If satisfied, a hearing would be conducted where the child, the petitioner and the spouse of the petitioner would be present. And at the end of the hearing, a judgment is made in favor of the adoption. The decree may be temporary or final as the court may deem appropriate. A temporary verdict becomes final on its own after six months have passed after the verdict. This process exempts the natural parents from any kind of obligation towards the child. If it happens that the natural parents do not give consent, you would have to prove that the parents had no contact with the child for a long time, may be for one year before registering the complaint in the court. Another exception is a situation where a juvenile court has terminated the parental rights of the child's biological father and mother.
Step parent adoption is a truly laudable act of kindness if you feel that the child's life remains insecure with his/her natural parents. And the reward is sure to be a lifelong satisfaction for ensuring a better life for a child who may have been victimized for the faults not its own.