There are many challenges for blended families; sibling rivalries, differences in co-parenting styles and discipline, how to give everyone the attention they deserve and just getting the whole family to feel like a family. Most of this takes time, communication and patience and before you know it “mine” and “yours” simply becomes “ours.”
One of the hardest things to work through as a blended family is if there is a non/under-involved or absentee parent. As we know finding harmony in a blended family can be challenging. Finding that harmony in the absence of a biological parent can be that much tougher.
Children will struggle with blame, guilt, and sadness. Through their formative years, “children can manifest problematic behaviors including depression, aggression, delinquency, early role difficulties, as well as poor social and adaptive functioning and low self-esteem.”1
Most of us that move through this blended family space recognize that ‘family’ is a verb. And although it can have its messy moments, you begin to see how the scales are weighed between the ‘old’ family and the ‘new’, between the biological parent and the stepparent. In some of these cases, the stepparent will step forward and offer the idea of adopting their step-child.
Exactly what does this offer as a solution to the children?
It is an official promise to them that they will be there, they will not disappear or turn away. It provides the child with the piece of mind they don’t otherwise have with their absent parent. Step-parent adoption is statistically one of the more common forms of adoption in the U.S.2
If you are considering it, check with your state and county court systems to download and review the forms. In most states is a form of “relative adoption” and can be quite easy, depending on whether or not the other (absent) parent has waived rights or their rights have been terminated. In those cases, consent is not usually needed. No surprise it is not free and it may take weeks, if not months to receive a hearing but it will be a worthwhile step toward turning your family’s “mine” and “yours” into “ours”.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended as legal advice. These are all basic principles, each case is unique, and the legal options and strategies depend on the unique circumstances. Consider seeking legal advice and check local, county and state laws and procedures before acting on information in this document.
- What impact does an absent father have on child development? | Study Moose
- America’s Children In Brief: Key National Indicators Of Well-being, 2018 | ChildStats.Gov