Do I Adopt My Partner’s Child?

Reader’s Question:

My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years and I have been an active part of his daughter’s life. She just turned 6. Her mother is out of the picture with no plans to return, ever. He has been talking a lot about me adopting her, but I am unsure if I want this. I love her, but if he and I were to split up, then I would still be responsible for a child that is not mine. Thoughts?

This question hits close to home.

Both of my children are adopted. I feel so blessed and grateful. I was lucky enough to meet a man so loving and so compassionate, as to take children that were not his own, and love them more than he could ever possibly imagine.

He and his family took my boys in and never looked back. We are the modern family.

We may not be “held together by blood,” but our bond is just as strong. Clearly, when you adopt a child, it’s a choice. You don’t get the chance to choose the baby you give birth to, but you get to choose, and really think about adopting a child that you already know very well. It’s very special for the child. Especially for children like this child, who don’t have two full-time parents in their life. They want that normalcy, they “need” it, they “need” to feel like everyone else. When a one parent-child gets adopted, instead of being a step-child, they feel like they are whole and complete and part of a “real family.” They now have two parents to love them unconditionally. Two parents that will never leave them. For them, because they have never had this, it is life changing.

Most kids don’t get this opportunity. The opportunity to feel like even though one of their parents “doesn’t want me,” this person does…and is choosing me!

I am going to assume by your written tone, that you are feeling some serious hesitation. That is perfectly okay. Adopting a child is a monumental decision and you need to take your time and decide what is best for you, as well as everyone else involved. You are not married and so you have the right to use caution and think ahead. Please remember to be honest when you communicate.

It is okay to say no. It is okay to explain that you are not ready. It is okay if you probably never want to do it. Just be honest and open now, so that you can all be on the same page and hurt feelings will stay at a minimum.

There are many benefits to adopting a step-child. When a parent-child relationship is made formal and permanent through adoption, both adoptee and adopter usually acquire a true sense of love, security, and a sense of belonging to each other. Adoption processes are not quick or easy, but when it is final, you get to be a parent, and that is an amazing feeling for anyone that decides to do it.

Plus, you didn’t have to go through some of the hardest parts. E.g. child birth, no sleep, dirty diapers, et cetera!

While there are amazing benefits, there are also things to consider. If you two don’t work out, then you are still legally responsible for all obligations that a biological parent is. Including financial obligations, and even support through college.

I suggest you think long and hard about this lifetime commitment. Maybe start by consulting an attorney to make sure you fully understand your rights and responsibilities.

Otherwise, if you love her, if you feel like you will care about her for the rest of her life, no matter what…Consider adopting her as one of the greatest things you will ever do in this world! Don’t consider adopting her for your boyfriend, only for you and her.

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