If your family member is suddenly unable or deemed unfit to care for their child, you may want to consider a kinship adoption.
Definition and circumstances
A kinship adoption occurs when a relative of a child becomes the adoptive parent. If the biological parents pass away, for example, close relatives may choose to adopt their dependents. Death, however, is not the only circumstance to warrant a kinship adoption.
Any circumstance that would create the necessity of placement in foster care or removal of the child from the parent’s custody could also create the conditions for a kinship adoption. The only difference is who cares for them after separation from their parents.
Advantages and complications
Keeping the child in the family is often more advantageous than placement with strangers. In cases where the biological parent is still able and allowed to maintain a relationship, this lowers the barrier for sustained contact. There are advantages to this type of placement, but that does not mean there are no potential difficulties.
Defining your role in the child’s life can be confusing. Perhaps you had planned on being ‘the fun uncle’ or spoiling your grandkids, but now you must reevaluate how you should approach your new role. If the child’s birth parents are still involved with their son or daughter, this can cause complications in terms of parenting styles and how to make important decisions in the little one’s life.
Kinship adoption is an excellent choice for many families, but you may need to be willing to redefine any traditional ideas of family.