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 (244)
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 4
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 - 1 year ago
0 0 3
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
PATRICK NORMAN JENNY - 3 hours ago
xxxx IS REAL!!! BEWARE OF OTHERS!! Spell Casters be like Deep Wells, they keep demanding and at the end nothing usually works. It continued like that with many spell casters until I met xxxx. I hoped within me that he was gonna be my last trial, i was skeptical though. I gave this last shot with him and for real Dr ken jris Real Oh my God! He made everything happen, he brought back my husband and made me recover all that I have lost. He went as far as blessing me further with money and here we are living peacefully. All da HATERS now Envy us. Thanks to Dr ken jr and for real he is a life saver. His email is xxxx. mobile: xxxxx342 #3
PATRICK NORMAN JENNY - 10 hours ago
xxxx IS REAL!!! BEWARE OF OTHERS!! Spell Casters be like Deep Wells, they keep demanding and at the end nothing usually works. It continued like that with many spell casters until I met xxxx. I hoped within me that he was gonna be my last trial, i was skeptical though. I gave this last shot with him and for real Dr ken jris Real Oh my God! He made everything happen, he brought back my husband and made me recover all that I have lost. He went as far as blessing me further with money and here we are living peacefully. All da HATERS now Envy us. Thanks to Dr ken jr and for real he is a life saver. His email is xxxx. mobile: xxxxx342 #4
John - 23 hours ago
Hello Readers: my name is Dr Marquez. Am a great online herbal doctor and spell caster fully recognized all over the globe. I can cure any disease like.....Cancer, HIV, HPV, Syphilis, Diabetes, Herpes, Anthrax, Madness and Low spam count. I ALSO SPECIALIZED IN THE FOLLOWING KINDS OF SPELL CASTING: (1)Pregnancy spell (2)Spell to bring your ex lover back (3)Marital breakthrough spell (4)Death spell (5)Spell to make someone fall in love with you (6)Office promotion spell (7)Protection against evil attack spell (8)Beauty spell (9)Salary increment spell (10)Spell to get your scammed money back (11)Lottery/lotto spell winning (12)Money ritual spell and many more.... (16) HAVE YOU BEEN SCAMMED BEFORE AND NEEDS TO RECOVER ALL THE DOLLARS/MONEY YOU LOST TO THESE FRAUDSTER ???.. CONTACT DR MARQUEZ AS I HAVE HELPED MY FRIEND CALLED LEONARD CAPTAIN FROM USA TO RECOVER BACK THE SUM OF $300,000.00 DOLLARS HE LOST TO SCAMMERS ONLINE I have been a successful online herbal doctor and spell caster for #5
John - 23 hours ago
Hello Readers: my name is Dr Marquez. Am a great online herbal doctor and spell caster fully recognized all over the globe. I can cure any disease like.....Cancer, HIV, HPV, Syphilis, Diabetes, Herpes, Anthrax, Madness and Low spam count. I ALSO SPECIALIZED IN THE FOLLOWING KINDS OF SPELL CASTING: (1)Pregnancy spell (2)Spell to bring your ex lover back (3)Marital breakthrough spell (4)Death spell (5)Spell to make someone fall in love with you (6)Office promotion spell (7)Protection against evil attack spell (8)Beauty spell (9)Salary increment spell (10)Spell to get your scammed money back (11)Lottery/lotto spell winning (12)Money ritual spell and many more.... (16) HAVE YOU BEEN SCAMMED BEFORE AND NEEDS TO RECOVER ALL THE DOLLARS/MONEY YOU LOST TO THESE FRAUDSTER ???.. CONTACT DR MARQUEZ AS I HAVE HELPED MY FRIEND CALLED LEONARD CAPTAIN FROM USA TO RECOVER BACK THE SUM OF $300,000.00 DOLLARS HE LOST TO SCAMMERS ONLINE I have been a successful online herbal doctor and spell caster for #6
Guest - 1 day ago
I am so happy today because me and my friend has be free from the HIV/AIDS disease, me and my friend have been having HIV/AIDS since the past 5 years now,and will have pass through many and different processes in getting cured from the HIV diseases but nothing was working out, a friend of mine on Facebook introduce me to Dr.Santos, that he is the only one who can helped me get cured from Hiv and any other diseases,so will contacted him and have faith on him,he told me and my friend that will don’t have to be sad any more or share our tears any more on this Hiv disease when the cure have already be found.he asked me and my friend to do some certain things which will did, he told us that he is going to provide the herbal cure to me and my lover, which he did, then he asked us to go for medical checkup after some days after using the herbal cure,me and my lover has free from the deadly disease, he only asked me to post the testimony through the whole world, faithfully am doing it now, p #7
loveth lisa - 3 days ago
hello everybody, i don't just know the reason why some people is finding it difficult to believe that there is a cure for herpes, i have been suffering from herpes since last three years with my boyfriend but today i am happy that am cure from it with the herbal medicine of Dr Aba the great healer,i was browsing the internet searching for help when i came across a testimony shared by someone on how Dr Aba cure his herpes i was so much in need of getting his treatment but after all Dr Aba brought a smile to my face with his herbal medicine. i am so much happy today that we have someone like this great healer out there, so my people out there kindly contact this great healer on his email address: xxxx please sir keep your good work cause there are people out there who is in need of your healing medicine.once more contact him now: xxxx you can call him or whatsApp his number xxxxx060 see more at drabaherbalhome.webs.com #8
maris linda - 5 days ago
Hello everyone, i am here to share my testimony on how i conceived my baby. i have been married to my husband for 12years without no issue.i had problems with my in-laws even my husband started to have new affairs aside our marriage. it was a very terrible thing to bear. i became a laughing stock among my pear, i prayed and fasted and nothing happened. i was now seen as always unhappy.i was even ready to pack out of my marital home and stay on my own because my husband was not given me any attention that i needed from him. i decided to focus on my job and try to live happy on my own. on this faithful day, i decided to check the internet for updates on healthy living and i came across a story of a woman called mercy, saying that Dr aza helped her to conceive a baby. i decided to give him a try because this has been my greatest problem in life. today i am a proud mother with a son. words will not be enough to explained what this man did for me.i am a happy mother,i know there is someone #9
maris linda - 5 days ago
Hello everyone, i am here to share my testimony on how i conceived my baby. i have been married to my husband for 12years without no issue.i had problems with my in-laws even my husband started to have new affairs aside our marriage. it was a very terrible thing to bear. i became a laughing stock among my pear, i prayed and fasted and nothing happened. i was now seen as always unhappy.i was even ready to pack out of my marital home and stay on my own because my husband was not given me any attention that i needed from him. i decided to focus on my job and try to live happy on my own. on this faithful day, i decided to check the internet for updates on healthy living and i came across a story of a woman called mercy, saying that Dr aza helped her to conceive a baby. i decided to give him a try because this has been my greatest problem in life. today i am a proud mother with a son. words will not be enough to explained what this man did for me.i am a happy mother,i know there is someone #10
Mike Erickson - 5 days ago
Wow!!!! This is my testimony on how i won 20,100,472 pounds on Mega millions lottery, The best thing that has ever happened in my life is how i win the lottery. I am a man who believe that one day i will win the lottery.finally my dreams came through when i email Dr uwa. and tell him i need the lottery numbers. i have come a long way spending money on ticket just to make sure i win. But i never know that winning was so easy until the day i meant the spell caster online which so many people has talked about that he is very great in casting lottery spell with winning numbers, I contacted this man and he did the spell and he gave me the winning lottery numbers. But believe me when the draws were out i was among winners. i won (Twenty million,one hundred thousand,four hundred and seventy two pounds) This man is a very strong voodoo doc who gives out the numbers that can never fail. Dr.uwa truly you are the best, with these man you can win millions of money through lottery. Email him on xxx #11
mirabel - 6 days ago
I want to give a testimony about my herpes virus that was cured by a great spell caster. I have tried almost everything but i couldn't find any solution to my disease, despite all these happening to me, i always spend alot to buy a herpes drugs from hospital and taking some several medications but no relieve, until one day i was just browsing on the internet when i come across a great post who truly said that she was been diagnose with herpes and was healed that very week through the help of these great powerful healing spell DR OHIMAL his email is: xxxx sometime i really wonder why people cal him good names i never knew it was all because of the great and perfect work that he has don. #12
HOPE WILIAN - 4 months ago
0 0 0
A broken heart can be one of the most painful things to heal from and can take a very long time to heal. During these times it can feel like the whole world could light up in flames and it still couldn't compare to the pain inside. Of course, admitting a broken heart can be a difficult thing to do and most of us try to continue on with life masking the pain in our heart. With this pain comes many emotions. I was also trying to masked my pain, until i found help, here is my story. My name is Hope Wilian from USA, My Wife and I are both directors and shareholders in our family business. We have been married for 6 years but my wife is now going for a divorce, i agreed in the first place but i later realized what happens to my family and what rights will I have in the business if my wife divorce me, and i have worked so hard for my family and this business, i was incomplete and wondered what to do because he already went to court. I was browsing on the internet when i saw a post on how a s #13
Susan - 4 months ago
0 0 0
We adopted our daughters baby. He knows she is his birth mother, and I am his Mommy, too. He has not asked if his daddy (grandpa) is his dad. His father calls once a year to meet him, we have not allowed that due to addiction issues. He see's our daughter, for short visits, when she is doing ok. Our son is 8 years old now and so far hasn't made any connections to ask questions. He figures grandpa is the "Daddy" of everyone. We are concerned about telling him too late. We feel some quilt about not letting the dad see him or letting the dad's mother never meet him. They say wait till he asks, but will he feel deceived? #14
BRYON STEWART - 4 months ago
0 0 0
Thank you sir for your genuine spells. I'm Bryon Stewart by name. From USA Taxes I came across many testimonies on net testifying of Dr Ogudu a voodoo spell caster that will help you cast a LOTTERY spell and give you the rightful numbers to win the lottery, i didn't believe it, at first but as life got badder i decided to take a try, now my try has made me a millionaire, i have been playing all types of lottery since 7 years now but i have not win up to $500,after contacting him he cast the spell and give me the hot winning numbers and i won( TWO MILLIONS DOLLARS) now i am a living testimony of the good works of Dr Ogudu A gifted man with a great powers, it is my secret but i decided to make the world known to it as it might be a help to any one who is interested, Email him (xxxx) or call xxxxx254.....yours faithful client Bryon stewart #15
julia ava - 4 months ago
0 0 0
Hello viewers, I am JULIA AVA,i am from Florida,i want to use this wonderful opportunity to thank Dr. Eguaga who helped me and my family to win lottery jackpot this year 2016, last week. his email:xxxx OR xxxx. We won($20,000) i have spent so much money playing this game for many years,i ask myself sometimes when will i win huge amount of money,one day i came across Dr.Eguaga Vanguard on internet how he helped people and grant them their heart desire by winning lottery with his powerful lottery spell,so i decided to email him. He assure us that our request will be granted once he cast the lucky winning number spell,i believe and follow his instructions, and also trust him. after the casting of the spell,he sent us the winning numbers,wish we use to play and won {five hundred and twenty eight point eight million dollars} right now i am very happy,we are multimillionaire we won a huge amount,he is the best spell caster i have ever seen on earth to work with,he take away the poverty from #16
Helen - 4 months ago
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Hi viewers I’m Helen pulford wilson i am giving this testimony about GREAT PAPA via Email:xxxx on how i won $400,000 in my play lottery, I took an advice from some one who talked about this powerful great spell caster called GREAT PAPA via Email:xxxx the person placed a testimonies on internet saying how GREAT PAPA helped him win the lottery by sending him the winning number i was curious and i thought it was all joke not until i contacted this spell caster to know for myself how this work because i have spend a lot money buying tickets and i never win. I contacted him and he told me the necessary thing that need to be done and i did it and he told me to wait for 3days and truly he gave me the winning numbers to play the lottery which i did, Can you believe my name was the first among winners. He told me (my son all i need you to do for me is make sure that you share his good work to others so that they can also win the lottery because i do not have much #17
NANCY - 4 months ago
0 0 0
Hello everyone my name is Nancy William I am here to testify of the great work Dr OGUMEN did in my life with the help of his herbal medicine. I have been suffering from HERPES since December 11 2015 and ever since then I have been looking for solutions on how to cure it, I have being to different churches and hospitals but I discovered none of them was working out for me that I was just wasting money. So I decided to live everything to God, then I was taking my medications to sustain my life and reduce the pains. So on this particular Sunday morning after coming back from service I sat down and begin to ask myself questions, then my phone rang behold it was my sister calling which I answered the call and she started telling me that a friend of hers who has been suffering from same HERPES has just been cured by DOCTOR OGUMEN the herbal medicine man. Then I was over whelmed, even though I was a little bit confused so she encourage me to also give DOCTOR OGUMEN a trial and see for myself #18
michelle garce - 4 months ago
0 0 0
Hello everyone,My name is Michelle grace from Uk, i am here to share my testimony on how i conceived my baby. i have been married to my husband for 11 years without no issue.i had problems with my in-laws even my husband started to have new affairs aside our marriage. it was a very terrible thing to bear. i became a laughing stock among my pear, i prayed and fasted and nothing happened. i was now seen as always unhappy.i was even ready to pack out of my marital home and stay on my own because my husband was not given me any attention that i needed from him. i decided to focus on my job and try to live happy on my own. on this faithful day, i decided to check the internet for updates on healthy living and i came across a story of a man who Dr BABA helped his wife(Moore Juliet) to conceive a baby. i decided to put a try because this has been my greatest problem in life.i contacted DR. BABA via email and tell him my problem and he assured me that he will help me, he told me what to do w #19
ackley raymond - 4 months ago
0 0 0
Dr. OFURE God will continue to bless you more abundantly, for the good works you are doing in peoples life, I will keep on testifying about your good work, I was healed from HERPES VIRUS through the help of Dr OFURE. I saw a blog on how Dr OFURE known as 'LORD SPIRITUAL' cured people with his herbal treatment, i did not believe but i just decided to give him a try, I contacted him and he prepare the herbs for me which i took, after taking it, he told me to go for check up, could you believe that i was confirm herpes negative after the test, and i went to a different hospital and it was also negative, i am so happy. If you have any problem or you are also infected with any disease, kindly contact him now with his Email: xxxx or call xxxxx444 #20
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