What is a kinship adoption? Is it right for me?

When many people think of adoption, they think of a married man and woman adopting an infant or young child to whom they have no relation. This type of adoption may be the most widely known, but it is not the most common. The most common are kinship adoptions, or adoptions by a relative.

If you are currently considering adopting a relative who is a minor, there are a few important things that you should know about kinship adoptions.

There are numerous reasons to consider adopting a relative. Sometimes, parents choose to terminate their parental rights, allowing a relative to step in and adopt the child. Other kinship adoptions come about because the child’s biological parents cannot provide adequate care. If the state terminates their parental rights, it usually prefers to place children with biological family members rather than in the foster care system.

Should I consider a kinship adoption?

A kinship adoption may be right for you if:

  • The biological mother and father have relinquished their parental rights
  • The state has removed the biological parents’ rights
  • You wish to have a say in how the child is raised
  • You want to have a close bond with the child and see them every day
  • You are physically capable of caring for a minor
  • You are financially stable and can provide food, medical care and other necessities

How do I adopt a relative?

The first step in a kinship adoption is to inquire with the Department of Foster and Adoptive Family Services. You must complete certain training and undergo an interview, home study and background check before you can adopt. Because this process can be complicated and you may encounter legal snags, many people choose to work with a family law attorney who understands New Jersey adoption laws. But with patience and persistence, your relative may soon be able to live with you and call your home their own.

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