Can an Adult be Adopted? Adopting Someone Over Age 18

Can Someone Be Adopted After The Age Of 18?

One may be able to come up with many reasons why adopting an adult should be allowed. Which brings to mind the question, can an adult be adopted?

An adult can be adopted after the age of 18, and the process is less complicated than adopting a child. Perhaps a stepfather wanted to adopt a child but did not have the permission from the biological father. Or, a foster child ages out of the system, but the family wants permanent ties.

There are many reasons why an adult may be adopted, and it happens more often that you might think.

We will cover the following in this article:

  • Stepchild Being Adopted as an Adult
  • Child Reuniting with Biological Parents
  • Adopting an Adult Foster Child
  • How to Adopt an Adult

Let’s dive into the most common reasons why an adult may be adopted.

Stepchild Being Adopted as an Adult

Often times, a stepparent wants to adopt their stepchild, yet the biological parent will not consent to the adoption.

If the stepparent was more of a parent to the child than the biological parent was, the stepparent and child have the opportunity to make it official once the child reaches the age of 18.

Once the child is an adult, permission from a biological parent is not needed for the adoption to take place.

When you adopt your adult stepchild, they also become eligible to inherit from you as a legal heir.

When an adult is adopted, the person adopting has no financial obligation of child support, so the official adoption is more a sign of a bond that is being acknowledged through legal means.

Adopting your adult stepchild is more of a symbolic gesture to validate the bond between the stepparent and stepchild.

We all know that it takes more than sharing the same blood to make a parent-child relationship.

There are so many stepparents that play an active parental role when the biological parent is out of the picture. Sadly, many biological parents refuse to allow their child to be adopted by the stepparent, even though they know the stepparent is playing the active role.

Perhaps permission is not given due to jealousy or anger, so refusing to allow the adoption could be a means of payback. It is really hard to say.

Or maybe the biological parent truly loves their child, and cannot admit that they are not fulfilling their parental role as they should, and it kills them to allow someone else to do what they should be doing.

The scenarios are endless. Yet once the child is an adult, the need for permission is no longer an obstacle.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Adoption: Pros & Cons


Child Reuniting with Biological Parents

There could be times when a child, for whatever reason, is reunited with their biological parents. Perhaps they were adopted and the relationship between the child and adoptive parents did not turn out well.

Normally, though, the bond between an adopted child and their adoptive parents is close and this would not be an issue.

Maybe an adopted child looses their adoptive parents in a car accident, and then as an adult searches for and then locates his or her biological parents.

A bond could eventually be established, and the biological parents may want to adopt their child so that the child is again officially theirs.

Of course, we could come up with a multitude of hypothetical scenarios, but you get the idea.

There are countless reasons why an adult may be adopted, and there are times when biological parents do adopt there previously adopted child.

Adopting an Adult Foster Child

Many foster children who age out of the system have established bonds with their foster parents. That bond and love shared does not just go away once the child ages out of the system.

For whatever reason, some foster parents are not allowed to adopt their foster children due to no fault of their own.

So when the foster child turns 18, the foster parent is then legally able to adopt the child and does not need anyone’s permission other than the adult child themselves. They can then solidify their bond in an official way.

How to Adopt an Adult

Some state laws can prohibit the adoption of an adult. Providing there is not anything unusual going on, then the adoption should go smoothly. What then, could be a reason a state would not allow the adoption of an adult? Let’s take a look:

  • Depending on the state, there needs to be a particular age difference between the adoptive parent and adopted adult child.

  • If the adoptive parent and adopted adult child are having physical relations, a state’s laws would apply preventing adoption.

  • In some states, LGBT partners cannot use adoption as a means of legalizing their relationship.

  • Other state laws may apply.

The process for adopting an adult child is similar in each state. The following steps should help guide you in the process of adopting your adult child:

  1. Visit and request the adoption forms from your local courthouse.

    If you wish to download these same court forms online from the state in which you reside, use Google search and type in the key phrase “state of Montana judicial court forms”.

    Replace the state of Montana with the state in which you are interested in to find the adoption court forms.

  2. A lawyer is not needed to adopt an adult.

  3. You will generally be asked to fill out and then sign the required court forms in front of a notary.

    Notaries can be found everywhere and charge a minimal fee for their service. Most banks offer notary services for free.

  4. Submit the court forms per the instructions on the forms.

  5. You will be contacted by the courthouse with the date you will be required to appear in Family Court.

  6. You will appear before a judge on your assigned court date to explain to the judge your adoption wishes.