Relative Adoption

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There are several factors to consider in relative adoptions:

  • Adoption laws are generally state laws and can differ substantially from one state to another.
  • In light of the differences in state adoption laws, the following is general information for your consideration. There is no substitute for advice from a competent licensed adoption attorney in your area who is familiar with the legal intricacies. (To find an adoption attorney, visit the Directory of Professionals.)
  • "Relative adoptions" are not the same as "stepparent adoptions." {For information, see Stepparent Adoption.)

In most states, relative adoptions are treated somewhat less formally than non-relative ("stranger") adoptions. They may require only an abbreviated homestudy, or none at all. For this preferential treatment to apply, the adoption must fit the definition of a relative adoption under state law. Most state laws define "relative" by degree of relatedness. For example, Arizona adoption law defines a "relative" as "uncle, aunt, adult sibling, grandparent or great-grandparent of the child of the whole or half-blood or by marriage or adoption." Not fitting in this general definition are cousins of any degree or children of nieces or nephews. You will need to consult your attorney or the specific law in your state.

General Considerations

  1. Just as with any adoption, there must be a proper termination of the parental rights of both the child's biological parents. New birth certificates are issued, and adoption records are sealed in accordance with state laws.
  2. Adopting a close relative's child may be the best solution for the child, but it can cause a radical change in the dynamics of your relationship with that relative. These types of relationships have the potential to become strained or severely damaged due to questions of "quasi co-parenting" and exactly who is the child's parent. The reality is that this dynamic will be different for everyone involved, including all family members, and extending to other children the biological parents may have now or in the future. You will be confronted with questions of relatedness (is your child their cousin? sibling? aunt? uncle?), among others. Can this be done? Yes. Will it be a snap? No. The openness encouraged in adoptions today will help communication with all parties, and those experienced with relative adoptions strongly recommend counseling before and after the adoption whenever possible.
  3. Depending on the child's age and the circumstances of the adoption, talking to your child about the adoption may involve additional complexities due to previous and current relationships, death and grief, disappointments, and human failings. Do seek out support groups and educational books and tapes.

Additional Resources

Relative Adoption Forum
Grandparent Adoption Forum
Book: Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child

For more information specific to Grandparent Adoption and more options available to those who are caring for related children, including adoption, guardianship, legal custody, and open adoptions, see Legal Options for Relative Caregivers.

Related Articles

Keeping the Family Tree Intact
Encyclopedia: Family Preservation
Adopting My Nephew: African-American and an Adopting Parent
Library of Articles on this Topic

Visitor Comments (290)
Adding your comments contributes to the adoption community. Please keep all comments on topic and civil. Visitors are invited to comment and vote for or flag comments based on appropriateness and helpfulness. All comments must adhere to our commenting rules and are subject to moderation.
Sheila - 2 years ago
1 1 5
My neice is 17 months old now, and I have raised her since birth. Her mother gave birth to her while she was incarcerated, and since her release 8 months ago hasn't even tried to contact her, and sent messages that she wants nothing to do with her. Her father is now incarcerated AGAIN, and looking at a substantial amount of time in prison. I was granted custody 9 months ago, and the judge granted nobody visitation rights to the child. I want to adopt her. I live in Virginia, and I am not even sure where/how to begin the process. Thank you! Good luck to all!!!! #1
shakerra - 2 years ago
0 0 4
I have a 6 year old cousin who dcfs from Florida tryna remove n she been here with me since she was 3years old I dont have cousdyof her but I want to hOw do I do it??? Plz help #2
lisa - 10 hours ago
my name is LISA from RUSSIA, I want the world to know a great man that is well known as Dr,UZOYA, he has the perfect solution to relationship issues and marriage problems. The main reason why i went to Dr,UZOYA was for solution on how i can get my husband back because in recent times i have read some testimonies on the internet which some people has written about Dr,UZOYA and i was so pleased and i decided to seek for assistance from him on his email [xxxx] which he did a perfect job by casting a spell on my husband which made him to come back to me and beg for forgiveness.I will not stop publishing his name on the net because of the good work he is doing. I will drop his contact for the usefulness of those that needs his help should contact him via email [xxxx ] You can contact him today and get your problem solved.Call xxxxx. #3
sandra - 13 hours ago
I never believed in spell casting, but After 6 years of dating, I still imagine how Dr Aza brought my ex lover back to me in just 24 hour. No one could have ever made me believe that there is a real spell caster that really work. am sandra by name,I want to quickly tell the world that there is a real on line spell caster that is powerful and genuine, His name is Dr Aza, He helped me recently to reunite my relationship when my ex lover who left me, When i contacted Dr Aza he cast a love spell for me and my ex lover who said he doesn't have anything to do with me again, he called me and started begging me. he is back now with so much love and caring. today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the powers of bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my lover,and the most surprise,is that our love is very strong,every day is happiness and joy. and there is nothing like been with the man you love.i am so happy my love is back to me with the help of Dr.Aza if you hav #4
Sandra Katie - 2 days ago
I was in a 5 yr relationship with a man i loved so dearly.The first six months was wonderful.We used to talk and share our thoughts,our fears....Something happened..We (he) stopped being honest .It created a whirlwind of insecurity.The more i became insecure because of his dishonesty,the more it spiralled and we spent 4 and a half years of arguments,despite the fact that we loved each other.I truly believed that love conquered all.It doesnt....he left me 7 months ago.It was the most painful thing that ever happen to me,but you know i still love him...Now i realize i need help to get him back again in my life so i contacted a spell caster online called Dr happy at his email xxxx who help and gave me hope after 6 hours of his love spell, my boyfriend call me and apology and now we are happily married as husband and wife all thanks to Dr he is truly a father once more contact him at xxxx for any help coz he is the best of all spell casters. we all #5
jessica gilbert - 2 days ago
I promise Dr OSE that i will share this grate news only if it works out for me and i am here today with great joy in my heart to testify on how Dr OSE Helped me create a complete family. my name is jessica gilbert I have been married for 5 years without proof (A CHILD), have visited many medical doctor and herbal doctor here in manessa VA but no one could help me and my wife. We were at the stage of loosing all hope when i was referred to an African Herbal Doctor, The lady that directed me to him said Dr OSE cured her of Herpes infection and she assured me that he is a professional that he can solve all problem, i actually contacted him and explain how i have suffered for 5 years and he told me to be happy that my wife would be able to conceive a child after 3 days of his herbal treatment, i said AMEN and followed his process and he sent me a Herbal Medicine with instruction regarding consumption for 3 days and i did exactly as he said he also deals on all if you have any sickness l #6
sandra - 3 days ago
HELLO: my name is joel sandra from Canada, i want to testify to the general public on how my relationship was restored back by the great power’s of Dr,UZOY After three months of loneliness, my ex-lover called me after my contact with Dr,UZOYA that he want us to come back and start a good home, now we are happily married with a kid. All thanks to Dr,UZOYA for his spiritual help. You can contact him on his email if you have similar problem, or any solution you may need, job, divorce, promotion in you place of work, healing,money spell, etc.you can Contact him via email: [xxxx] OR you can also reach him directly on his cell phone number xxxxx #7
christabel williams - 3 weeks ago
Dr.OBANJO with a heart of gratitude, i want to let know to world about my happiness and i want to say God will bless you and your household for your good works. I'm christabel williams, from USA, i was confirm HIV positive and i was just living with the help of medication.i came across a comments on a blog how Dr.obanjo cured her, i was really shock but i contacted him and now I'm cured also. i will continue to talk about your good works just the same way people have been talking about how you cure them from their HIV disease, I'm happy now. you can contact him If you have any problem or you are also infected with any disease, kindly contact him now with his Email: xxxx or call him on xxxxx852 (1) If you want your ex back (2) if you always have bad dreams. (3) You want to be promoted in your office. (4) You want women/men to run after you. (5) If you want a child. (6) You want to be rich. (7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever. (8) If yo #8
. Lydia Ryan - 4 weeks ago
Why I am writing this testimony is because I made a promise that whosoever that helps me out of my relationship predicament deserves to be known even more by the world. I am 37 years of age, my husband had a very powerful love spell on him that a female he knows put on him and I wanted it removed as this caused serious problems in our marriage and he left me for her. It seemed nothing on earth can bring our paths together forever, I felt really bad because I love him so dearly. I had sleepless nights because I missed my hubby’s touch and care. I seldom visit this webpage but anytime I do, I see two or more positive reviews about a man named dr. Adoda and his mysterious and miraculous works that saves relationships and marriages, this got me curious. Also, I normally see other several reviews, although I learn't that there are lots of scammers out there but I contacted Adoda because I was convinced by a testifier I contacted, that dr. Adoda spell is the big deal. I gave him a chance o #9
Laura Bailey Nancy - 4 weeks ago
This is my testimony about the good work of a man who helped me....My name is Laura, and my husband name is Bailey Nancy' i am here to actually testify on how my husband come back to me and to his kids after the broke up of our marriage with me' by living our three kids with me. anyway my husband is back now and i really do appreciate the great DR.ONENOJE who make it possible for me!!! After 9 year and 7month of marriage, my husband left me and left me with our three kids. I felt like my life was about to end, because he was my real lover, and was falling apart. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr.ONENOJE who i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet, I was searching for a good spell caster that can solve my problems. I came across series of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. T #10
. Lydia Ryan - 4 weeks ago
Why I am writing this testimony is because I made a promise that whosoever that helps me out of my relationship predicament deserves to be known even more by the world. I am 37 years of age, my husband had a very powerful love spell on him that a female he knows put on him and I wanted it removed as this caused serious problems in our marriage and he left me for her. It seemed nothing on earth can bring our paths together forever, I felt really bad because I love him so dearly. I had sleepless nights because I missed my hubby’s touch and care. I seldom visit this webpage but anytime I do, I see two or more positive reviews about a man named dr. Adoda and his mysterious and miraculous works that saves relationships and marriages, this got me curious. Also, I normally see other several reviews, although I learn't that there are lots of scammers out there but I contacted Adoda because I was convinced by a testifier I contacted, that dr. Adoda spell is the big deal. I gave him a chance o #11
Millie - 4 weeks ago
Manifest Spell is truly remarkable. I had a phone consultation that surpassed all of my expectations. I have been to other spiritualists in the past and NONE were able to tell me all that Dr. Manifest did in just one reading. Having never met him, I was shocked with the precision of his details. He obviously knew things that others could have never known, particularly given that this was over the phone. His ability is unmatched, and he gained my trust in just one encounter. Add to all this, he is very easy to communicate with – very patient and understanding. I would definitely recommend him. xxxx is AMAZING!!! #12
Benita - 4 weeks ago
Dr Malaika doesn’t ask for testimonies and he doesn’t charge. His email is odogwumalaika @ g m a i l . com He is genuine and people get to meet him by luck. But right now am your luck if you meet him. Every other testimonies of spell casters you read here are scams. Dr Malaika lives in Nigeria and I happened to meet him by chance after a friend told me about how he brought back her ex and restored her lost womb. She also told me about how Dr Malaika cures all forms of illness ranging from HIV to Cancer, Fibroid, and Infertility and also Money spells. I followed those other internet testimonies and was hugely scammed to the extent that I wanted to kill myself. Dr Malaika turned my situation around, He made my ex come crawling on his knees to have him back. His email address is odogwumalaika @ g m a i l . com , mobile: xxxxx120 but please don’t make him know that I published him on net. He is just wonderful and I wish whoever that finds him good luck. #13
weafer - 4 weeks ago
MY name is kapil weafer, I feel very happy to share my great and wonderful testimony with everyone on this site..: I was married for 4 years to my husband and all of a sudden another woman came into the picture he started hating me and he was abusive. but i still loved him with all my heart and wanted him at all cost.... He filed for divorce and my whole life was turning apart and i didn't know what to do, he moved out of the house and abandoned me and the kids... my very close friend told me about trying spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to a spell caster so i decided to try it. although i didn't believe in all those things then when he did the special prayers and spell, after 2 days, my husband came back and was pleading that he had realized his mistakes I just couldn't believe it, anyway we are back together now and we are happy in case anyone needs help here is his email address [xxxx] His spells is for a better life OR call his numbe #14
Ntasha - 4 weeks ago
Today has being the most happiest day of my life after 1 year of sadness and sorrow without being with the one i love, i tried all my possible best to make sure i make my lover happy but it never seems to work out well it was like am doing everything in vain but all thanks to Lord Alika for coming to change all my worries and sadness to Joy. i knew the great man when i read some wonderful reviews about Lord Alika how he has helped a lots of people on there relationship problem i was reading a magazine which then i saw great testimonies as well which then i decided not to waste time.he told me not to worry that he assures me that within 48 hours everything would be sorted out i believed Lord Alika so much because i believe he can't fail me and i sent him all my details. Truly Lord Alika never failed me,my husband who left me for good a year come back to me. My husband and i have been living contentedly since this spell caster reunited us together with his love spells. Thank you so so so #15
Vicky Jarvis - 4 weeks ago
Real Love spell to Get My Ex Back Fast!, My husband broke up with me after 14years of marriage,I was so frustrated and i could not know what next to do again, i love my husband so much but he was cheating on me with another woman and this makes him broke up with me so that he can be able to get marry to the other lady and this lady i think use witchcraft on my husband to make him hate me and my kids and this was so critical and uncalled-for,I cry all day and night for God to send me a helper to get back my man until i went to NY to see a friend and who was having the same problem with me but she latter got her Husband back and i asked her how she was able to get her husband back and she told me that their was a powerful spell caster in Africa name Dr.Unity that he help with love spell in getting back lost lover back, and i decided to contacted the same Dr.Unity and he told me what is needed to be done for me to have my man back and i did it although i doubted it but i did it and the Dr #16
mason carlton - 4 weeks ago
After being in relationship for 9 years,my husband broke up with me all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I emailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before seven days, that my ex will return to me before seven days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the six day, it was around 4pm. My ex husband called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anyb #17
Jessica - 4 weeks ago
My husband left me to be with another woman. and wanted him back. i was jealous and it made us argue all the time until he vanished away, I was desperate to get him back, I wasted so much time and money on getting my lover back after I have tried almost all possibilities to have him back and nothing worked. I became lonely for 2 years. To make it short, I found a spell caster Manifest Spell by accident. I don’t know how I found him and i cant remember. But, when I first saw the good testimonies about his wonderful work and after reading the Testimonials, I decided I had to try and give it one last shot. After the spells, a miracle happened, my husband came home. it was awesome, anyone who needs help, should email xxxx He is the best. #18
Belcher - 4 weeks ago
I am Belcher from the United Kingdom with so much joy in heart i want to show my appreciation to Priest Odibo by telling the whole world about the powers of Priest Odibo. I lost my lover few weeks ago and to me it seems my whole world was crushing down, I needed help desperately so i decided to check the internet for solution. I was scammed ones by one Dr. Cure. I was directed to Priest Odibo by one Mrs. Becky. At first i was nervous but after short period of time i contacted him and to my greatest surprise within 48 hours my lover called me and started begging me to forgive him that he is ready to make up for lost time. we are finally together and i am happy to tell everyone to contact him through xxxx #19
disch - 4 weeks ago
Hello all my viewers My name is KAREN DEX from USA!I am very happy for sharing this great testimonies,The best thing that has ever happened in my life is how I won the euro million mega jackpot. I am a woman who believe that one day I will win the lottery. finally my dreams come through when I email Dr clement. and tell him I need the lottery numbers. I have spend so much money on ticket just to make sure I won. But I never know that winning was not so easy like that until the day I meant the spell caster online which so many people has talked about that he is very powerful of casting any kind of spell gambling spell,so I decide to give it a try.I contacted this great Dr and he did a spell and he gave me the winning lottery numbers. But believe me when the draws were out I was among winners. I win seven million Dollar. Dr. clement truly you are the best you make me won seven millions dollar through lottery.I am so very happy to meet you dr, I will be forever be grateful t #20
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