Family goes beyond DNA.
There are certain consistent legal requirements for all adoptive families, but the path toward final adoption depends on the factual circumstances in each case. Generally speaking, adoption is accomplished in two phases. Phase one involves the termination of parental rights, either by the execution of a consent to adoption by the biological parent(s), or by order of court involuntarily terminating the parental rights of one or both parents. Phase two involves the petition for adoption.
Because of the important rights and duties involved in the adoption process, the court will ensure that biological parents have an opportunity to be heard as part of the termination phase and that criminal background checks, child abuse clearances and in-person interviews are conducted on the adoptive parents. While many adoptions involve prospective adoptees placed with non-biological adoptive parents, “kinship” adoptions (involving the biological relatives of prospective adoptees) are also quite common. If you are a stepparent seeking to adopt the biological child of your same-sex or opposite sex-partner, your adoption is considered a kinship adoption, which may expedite phase two of the process.