Relative/Kinship Adoption

What is Kinship Adoption?

A relative adoption, sometimes also referred to as a kinship adoption, is when an adult adopts an eligible family member.

Sometimes this occurs when a child has already been living with a family member who has acted as their guardian or parental figure, and the family decides to legally protect the child’s status within the family through a relative adoption.

In other situations, a mother may know that she is unable to provide for a child, so she relinquishes her parental rights to a trusted family member. This family member becomes the child’s legal parent, but the child’s birth mother will still be able to remain an active part of the child’s life.

Whatever your reasons for adopting a relative, Jennifer and Catelyn are experienced in helping families stay together while finding new ways to care for children. They can guide you through the family adoption process with ease, whether you are adopting in Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C.

Can I Adopt My Sibling, Niece/Nephew, Grandchild or other Family Member?

Yes — if you’re eligible to adopt a child, then you can adopt a minor child who is related to you through a family adoption in Virginia, Maryland or the District of Columbia. Jennifer and Catelyn have helped family members legally adopt their younger brothers, sisters, their siblings’ children, their grandchildren, cousins and more. 

Keep in mind that if your relative is not a U.S. citizen, you will need an immigration attorney to assist you before completing an adoption. Your relative must be a U.S. citizen in order for us to complete your kinship adoption.

How to Adopt a Family Member’s Baby

Have you ever wondered, “How do I adopt a relative’s child?” The process of adopting a sister, brother, cousin, niece, nephew or any other relative living in the United States is generally the same, although there will be some variations depending on the state you reside in, and sometimes your individual situation. Jennifer can help you navigate these legal steps of adopting a relative’s baby in DC, MD or VA.

In general, the adoption process of adopting a family member’s baby is considerably simpler than other types of adoption. Some parts of the domestic adoption process will not apply to the kinship adoption process, which can make the process easier and faster. For example, in Maryland, § 5-3B-12, which requires the child’s biological parent to petition the court for approval before placing the child for adoption, and § 5-3B-24, which requires the adoption petitioner to file with the court an accounting of all payments, are not applicable when the child is placed for adoption with a relative of the child. Learn more about when a child may or may not be placed in the care of a relative in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia here.

While some elements of the adoption process may be waived when adopting a family member, depending on where you live and how long the child may have been living in your care, the kinship adoption process in MD, VA and DC often goes as follows:

  • You’ll obtain consent from the child’s parents, and/or the court will terminate their legal parental rights.
  • You’ll petition the court to adopt your family member.
  • You may have to complete any required home studies and submit any necessary documentation to verify that you’re prepared to parent this child.
  • The child will be placed in your care, and you may undergo a post-placement supervision period.
  • You’ll attend a finalization hearing several months later, where you’ll be granted legal parental rights.

An experienced attorney is required to help you complete an adoption, even if you’re adopting a relative. We can help you through the relative adoption process in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, so contact us now to learn more about how to adopt a sister, grandchild, nephew, or other relative.

Why Complete a Kinship Adoption?

If you’ve already been caring for a child in your home, adopting a family member may seem like an unnecessary formality, especially if everyone has been comfortably adhering to the informal arrangement. But there are several other reasons why you may want to consider legally adopting the child in your care:

  • You would be able to make medical decisions and access their medical records without needing their biological parents’ permission, which is particularly important in the event of an emergency.
  • The child would be able to benefit from your insurance and Social Security and would be able to inherit from you.
  • You would be able to pick up the child from school, take them to the doctor, enroll them in school and extracurricular activities and more, without having to get signed permissions from their biological parents.
  • You would legally solidify the emotional bond that you have with this child, so that in the eyes of the law, they can simply be referred to as your child.

One of the greatest benefits of kinship adoptions is that they are a simpler legal process than a traditional infant adoption. However, you’ll still need an adoption attorney to complete the relative adoption process.

When you adopt a family member, just like with any other type of adoption, you need to make sure that it’s completed correctly so that you and your child are legally protected. Jennifer and Catelyn will walk you through the relative adoption process, from obtaining the consent of biological parents to post-placement assessments.  Experienced in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. kinship adoption laws, Jennifer and Catelyn can ensure your family’s permanence and protection.

We pride ourselves in our hands-on approach to all of our cases, so you can be sure that you’re getting individual attention as you become a permanent and legal family through the process of a relative adoption.

Contact us now if you’d like to learn more about how to adopt a relative.

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax

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