How to Adopt Your Stepchild in Oregon: 3 Things You Must Know

Oregon adoptions can be full of long processes and requirements, yet when adopting your stepchild, the process is not always that extensive. Many stepparents fall in love with their stepchildren and wish to adopt them as their own. So how do you adopt your stepchild in Oregon?

To adopt a stepchild in Oregon, the stepparent wishing to adopt must obtain stepchild adoption court forms, often available at the local courthouse, or may be purchased online from a court form service. If the biological parent is contest the adoption, then hiring a lawyer is strongly encouraged.

adopting a stepchild in Oregon

A stepparent may want to adopt their stepchild in Oregon for a variety of reasons. Typical explanations include:

  • Stepparents who adopt a child are given the same rights and obligations under the law as biological parents, including the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, education, and medical treatment.
  • Adoption can strengthen the emotional connection between a stepparent and a stepchild, giving the relationship a more traditional parent-child feel.
  • Adoption can give a stepchild the peace of knowing that their biological parent will support them in the event of their death or incapacity.
  • The stepchild may receive financial advantages from adoption, including inheritance, social security, and the ability to use the stepparent’s benefits.
  • Adopting a stepchild can help stepparents feel like their family is complete and can also demonstrate to the stepchild how much they are loved and accepted in their new home.

How to Adopt a Stepchild in Oregon

To adopt your stepchild in Oregon you can either hire a lawyer, visit your local courthouse and ask if they provide stepchild adoption court form packets, or purchase court forms through a service that specializes in stepchild adoption court forms.

Hire an Adoption Lawyer

In Oregon, adopting a stepchild is possible without retaining legal counsel. To help with the adoption process, it is crucial to think about employing a lawyer. An adept adoption lawyer may offer direction and assistance at every stage, assisting in making sure the adoption is accomplished appropriately and quickly.

One of the main advantages of hiring a lawyer is that they may offer legal counsel and representation.

This is particularly beneficial if there are any issues or disagreements during the adoption process.

A lawyer can assist in navigating the legal process to terminate the biological parent’s rights and proceed with the adoption, for instance, if they do not agree to it.

Another advantage of hiring an attorney is that they can take care of all the adoption-related paperwork and filing procedures.

Stepparents who are new to the adoption process and may not be familiar with the legal requirements and processes may find this to be extremely useful.

Visit here for a board-certified adoption lawyer in Oregon.

Visit Your Local Courthouse

If stepparents in Oregon are interested in adopting their stepchild, they should inquire with their local courthouse for advice and information on the procedure. An excellent place to start is the local courthouse, which may advise stepparents about the laws and steps involved in adopting a stepchild in their county.

For stepparents who are unfamiliar with the adoption procedure, several courthouses in Oregon offer court form Packets expressly for stepparent adoptions.

These packets normally contain all the paperwork needed to file an adoption application, along with guidelines on how to fill it out properly.

Stepparents can get advice on the particular conditions they must fulfill in order to adopt their stepchild in Oregon in addition to court form packets.

Information on background checks, the home study, and other regulations that must be satisfied before the adoption can be finalized may be included in this informational packet.

The court forms and specifications for stepparent adoptions differ from county to county, therefore it’s crucial that you verify with your neighborhood courthouse.

Find a local Oregon courthouse near you.

Purchase Stepchild Adoption Court Forms Through a Service

In Oregon, a stepparent may acquire stepchild adoption court forms from a service if they want to adopt their stepchild. For stepparents who are unfamiliar with the adoption procedure, these agencies often provide court forms that are specialized to stepparent adoptions.

These forms contain all the documentation and forms that must be submitted to the court, along with guidelines on how to complete each one accurately. Many of these services will fill the forms out for you.

A stepparent can look for these services by searching the internet for “stepparent adoption forms”. The stepparent can then select a service based on personal preference.

Remember that, despite the fact that these firms offer court forms, they cannot and will not give legal advice.

To help them through the legal system and make sure the adoption is handled legally and quickly, stepparents should always speak with an experienced adoption attorney.

Visit here for more information on the requirements to adopt in Oregon.

Adoption Process

In Oregon, there are multiple steps in the adoption procedure, including submitting a petition for adoption, finishing a home study and background check, getting the biological parent’s agreement, and terminating the biological parent’s rights. After completing these procedures, the adoption can be legally finalized in court.

Filing of the Petition for Adoption

In Oregon, submitting a petition for adoption to the court is the first step in the adoption procedure for a stepparent. This is a legal document that expresses the stepparent’s wish to adopt their stepchild and lists the individuals involved.

The following details must be included in the adoption petition:

  • The biological parent, the child, and the stepparent’s names and addresses.
  • The adoption process’ additional stakeholders, including the stepparent’s bond with the child.
  • A certification indicating the stepparent is qualified to adopt the child.
  • Any details about earlier adoptions or court cases involving the child or the biological parent.
  • The reason why the adoption is in the child’s best interests.

After the petition is submitted, the court will schedule a hearing date. A filing fee, which varies by county, must be paid by the stepparent to the court.

The biological parent, who will have the chance to react to the petition, must also receive a copy of it from the stepparent.

Home Study and Background Check

Important milestones in the adoption process for stepparents in Oregon include the home study and background check. A social worker will undertake a home study, which is an in-depth examination of the stepparent’s household, family, and personal history.

The stepparent and the child will be interviewed by the social worker while they are at the stepparent’s residence. They will see how the stepparent and child interact as well.

The home study’s goal is to make sure the child will be raised in a secure, dependable, and nurturing setting.

The stepparent’s capacity to meet the child’s requirements in terms of their physical, emotional, and educational needs will also be assessed by the social worker.

The social worker will also confirm that the stepparent has the resources needed to care for the child and that the home is suitable for the child.

Another critical phase of the adoption process is the background check. The background investigation will look into the stepparent’s references and criminal past.

This is done to make whether the stepparent is a fit parent and has no previous convictions or legal difficulties.

Normally, the background check and home study are done concurrently, and the findings will be included in the adoption petition that will be filed with the court.

To decide if the stepparent is qualified to adopt the child, the court will examine the home study and background investigation. If necessary, the court may also request more information or evaluations.

Remember that the background investigation and home study procedures might take weeks or even months to complete.

Consent of the Biological Parent

In Oregon, obtaining the biological parent’s consent is an essential stage in the adoption procedure. The adoption cannot take place without the biological parent’s approval. If the biological parent is found unsuitable or unable to care for and safeguard the child, this consent may be sought through a legal procedure or voluntarily supplied.

The biological parent must sign a consent document in front of a notary public if they choose to offer their consent.

The court must receive the consent form together with the adoption petition.

The court may revoke the biological parent’s parental rights if they are unable or unwilling to do so. Termination of parental rights is the legal procedure used to accomplish this.

If the biological parent has abandoned the child, is unable to meet the child’s requirements, or has neglected the child, the court may remove the biological parent’s rights.

It might be feasible for the stepparent to adopt the child without the biological parent’s permission if the biological parent is considered unfit or incapable to care for the child.

When deciding this case, the court will take the child’s best interests into account.

Before the adoption may take place in Oregon, the stepparent must receive the approval of both the child’s biological parent and, if possible, the legal parent.

The approval of the legal parent alone is sufficient when the biological parent’s rights have been terminated.

When requesting the biological parent’s consent, it is recommended to have legal counsel because the procedure might be difficult and the court could need more data or expert testimony before ruling.

Termination of the Biological Parent’s Rights

Before a stepparent in Oregon can adopt their stepchild, the legal procedure known as Termination of the Biological Parent’s Rights may be necessary for specific circumstances.

When the biological parent cannot or will not consent to the adoption, or if they are found unsuitable or incapable to care for and safeguard the child, this procedure is employed.

Parental rights can only be terminated in cases when it is in the child’s best interests, which is a serious concern.

If the biological parent has abandoned the child, is unable to meet the child’s requirements, or has neglected the child, the court may remove the biological parent’s rights.

The filing of a petition with the court initiates the process of removing parental rights.

The petition must provide proof that the biological parent is incapable of raising the child and that terminating their parental rights is in the child’s best interest.

After that, the court will convene a hearing when the biological parent will have the chance to offer testimony and present evidence.

The social worker, who carried out the home study and background check as part of the adoption procedure, will also be a source of testimony the court will take into account.

The biological parent’s parental rights will be terminated by the court if it determines that they are unsuitable or incapable to care for the child.

Following the termination of the biological parent’s parental rights, the adoption can move forward and the stepparent will be legally responsible for the child.

The termination of parental rights is a serious and emotional process for both the child and the biological parent, and this must be remembered.

Finalization of the Adoption

The adoption process for stepparents in Oregon ends with the finalization of the adoption. The adoption won’t be finalized until all the formalities have been completed and the court has determined that it is in the child’s best interest.

Several months after the adoption petition is submitted is when the finalization hearing is normally placed.

The court will examine the matter at the hearing and decide whether or not the adoption can move forward.

The child and the stepparent must be present during the hearing. A final order of adoption will be issued by the court if it determines that it is in the child’s best interest.

The stepparent is given all the rights and obligations of a parent by the adoption’s final decision, making them the child’s legal parent.

If chosen, the child can adopt the stepparent’s last name and become eligible to inherit from them.

The original birth certificate will be sealed once the adoption is finalized, and a new birth certificate with the stepparent’s name on it will be produced.

The child will also be qualified for any advantages that the stepparent’s family may have, such as health insurance.

Curious about how much it would cost to adopt your stepchild? We put together an article just for you.

Should I Adopt My Stepchild?

A part of life is that many parents find themselves remarried with stepchildren. You may be asking yourself, should I adopt my stepchild?

You should adopt your stepchild if you are prepared for a lifelong commitment. Adoption is permanent, and you cannot change your mind should you and your spouse later decide to divorce. If you are prepared to love and honor your commitment to your adopted stepchild, you should adopt your stepchild.

If you are considering adopting your stepchild or stepchildren, there are some things you will want to think about before taking the plunge.

It is safe to assume that you love your stepchild, so let’s go over some things to make sure you have covered all your bases.

It is important to remember that adopting your stepchild is a lifelong commitment. You may have a very good marriage now, but even good marriages can turn rocky.

At the beginning of a new marriage, you are in love and over the moon with happiness. Having romantic ideas of how the family dynamics will be is normal and sets a positive path forward.

Just know that you cannot simply change your mind about the adoption down the road if your marriage does not work out.

If you are unwilling to continue the parent/child relationship if your marriage goes south, then you should not adopt your stepchild.

Should the marriage end in divorce, you will still need to have cordial communications with the child’s other parent to co-parent your child.

Other things to consider would be if your marriage ended in divorce, you would be financially responsible for half of the expense of raising the child.

After a divorce, you would still be tied to your spouse for life, as you would both have a child together. Until the child turns 18 years of age, there will still be periods when the child resides with you.

No one wants to think about the possibility of divorce when things feel so right. Statistically, however, about half of all marriages end in divorce.

If you are not willing to make a lifelong commitment to a child, then you should not adopt the child.

Providing you do decide to proceed with the adoption of your stepchild, keep in mind that there are things you will want and need to do afterward to tie up any loose ends.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Adopt My Stepchild?

It’s a common question, do you need a lawyer to adopt your stepchild?

You do not need a lawyer to adopt your stepchild. Visit your local courthouse to acquire the required court forms and a list of requirements. Although you are not required to have an attorney to adopt your stepchild, hiring an attorney for any life-changing event is highly recommended.

You most certainly do not need an attorney to adopt your stepchild, as the process is a bit less complicated than other types of adoption.

Do-It-Yourself Stepparent Adoption in Oregon

Attorneys are nice to have and can do the leg work for you, but you most certainly do not need an attorney to adopt your stepchild.

If you are feeling a bit lost and want more information on starting your adoption journey, you may want to visit Oregon Adoption Requirements: Complete Guide.

Just keep in mind that many of the requirements will not apply to you if you are already residing with your stepchild.

Providing there is no anticipated legal battle from one of the biological parents, then one would be encouraged to obtain the court forms from your local courthouse, usually available to download online.

You may also wish to contact your local Department of Human Resources to speak to someone about how to process your adoption petition or reach out to your local courthouse.

Most courthouses have what is called a facilitator who helps guide you in the steps you need to take to complete legal processes without a lawyer.

Stepparent Adoption Contested by Biological Parent

Adopting a stepchild involves obtaining the permission of both biological parents. You will need the blessing of your spouse as well as the other parent.

How will the biological parent feel about the idea of a stepparent wanting to adopt their child? This depends on the relationship between the biological parent and the child.

There are times when the other parent will voluntarily terminate their rights to their child. Perhaps there is very little relationship between the parent and child.

If the stepparent has taken on the active parenting role, and if the biological parent recognizes their lack of involvement, they may agree to know the adoption decision is in the best interest of their child.

When the biological parent’s rights are terminated, it also frees them from court-ordered financial obligations.

Sadly, this can be a huge motivating factor for some biological parents to voluntarily terminate their rights to their children.

What do you do, though, if the biological parent refuses to give permission and contests the adoption? States will almost always only allow two parents to have parental rights to a child.

However, there have been a few cases where the courts have allowed three parents.

States are required to take the parental rights of the biological parent very seriously and will only terminate their parental rights if the parent is proven to be unfit, is not the true biological parent, or has in essence abandoned the child.

A parent can be found to be unfit for several reasons. Examples of an unfit parent can be things like being abusive or neglectful. Are they incarcerated or have they been incarcerated?

Is the biological parent’s home environment safe for this child? What type of people do they hang out with and have visited their home? Many things can deem a parent unfit.

For a parent to be accused of parental abandonment, the parent must not have spent any time with the child or paid child support in a very long time, usually a year.

If there is a question of paternity and it can be proven through the court system that the “biological” parent is not the parent, after all, that opens the door for adoption possibilities.

However, the rights tend to be placed with the biological parent, so that can be a tricky scenario.

Telling a Child Their Stepparent is Adopting Them

Depending on the age of this child being adopted, you will most certainly be excited to tell them the good news! In some states, a child over a certain age will need to permit to be adopted.

Not telling the child they are being adopted by the stepparent can create mistrust and hurt down the road, so think twice if you were planning on not telling them until later.

I strongly encourage you to not keep the adoption hidden from the child or children. Allow them the opportunity to be excited about being adopted! Involve them in the process and celebrate!

And hats off to you if you are a stepparent considering adopting your stepchild. It takes a huge heart and unconditional love to adopt a child that is not biologically yours.

And when you are helping raise a child, you are already a huge part of their life whether you make it official or not.

What are the Home Study Requirements for Stepparent Adoptions in Oregon?

Prior to permitting an adoption to take place, a home study or home study is a screening of the home and lives of potential adoptive parents.

A home study is needed by legislation in some countries, as well as in all international adoptions. Even though it isn’t legally needed, an adoption agency may insist on it.

The courts may waive the home study and post-placement criteria for stepparent adoptions if the prospective adoptive parent makes the request.

Does the Stepchild Have to Consent to an Adoption in Oregon?

A child who is fourteen (14) years and older must provide signed consent to their own adoption in Oregon. Younger children are not required to give their consent.

You are encouraged to proceed with a stepparent adoption during a time when your stepchild will react favorably to knowing you are adopting them.

Important to remember when planning to adopt your stepchild is that it is likely your stepchild has been through quite a lot.

Absent biological parents not voluntarily involved in their child’s life can be a painful emotion to live with for your stepchild.

Another thing to consider is the timing of the stepparent adoption. Was there a divorce previous to your marriage with your stepchild’s parent that your stepchild is still reeling from?

Children often suffer emotionally from the loss of a biological parent. Even a marriage viewed as a positive step forward takes time for a child to adjust to.

Consider letting the dust settle between major life events.

Can a Child Be Adopted Without the Father’s Consent in Oregon?

Under citation code Ann. Stat. §§ 109.312; 109.314; 109.316, a father’s consent to an adoption in the state of Oregon involves the following.

Consent in writing to the adoption of a child shall be given by:

  • The parents of the child, or the survivor of them

An adoption may be granted without the consent of the parent if:

  • A parent has been adjudged mentally ill or mentally deficient and remains so at the time of the adoption proceedings.
  • A parent is imprisoned in a State or Federal prison under a sentence for a term of not less than 3 years and has actually served 3 years.
  • A parent has willfully deserted the child or neglected without just and sufficient cause to provide proper care and maintenance for the child for 1 year immediately prior to the filing of the petition for adoption.
  • The mother of a child was married at the time of the conception or birth of the child, and it has been determined that her husband at such time was not the father of the child; in this case, consent of the husband is not required.

Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina is a seasoned writer, content creator, and website owner with a passion for unbiased research, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.