When we hear the word “adoption,” we so often think of infant adoption or adoption through foster care, but what people seldom think about is adult adoption. Adult adoption is becoming more common as adoption itself is growing.
The reality is that everyone, no matter their age, needs a family. Though children may age out of the foster care system when they’re eighteen, the reality is that we all need love, support, a place to call home, and people we can trust to help us navigate life and share these lived experiences with.
Some adults may require more care than others and need someone to take over their care. Legally, adoption may be a solution to help with that. In some very rare instances, a birth parent may connect with their adult child and consider adoption.
I was one of those people that was only familiar with adopting children. But then, family friends adopted an adult and I had the amazing opportunity to learn more about how important it was for not only this young woman to have a family, but also how she was already a part of a family–they just wanted to make it official. I didn’t even know that it was legally possible to adopt an adult, but guess what? It is possible and it’s something that is easier to do than you may think.
Though many may not consider it a traditional way to build a family, times are changing and in my opinion, family is family. We should celebrate it as often as possible and adults deserve that beautiful moment in the courthouse when it’s announced that you’re a family.
How to Adopt an Adult
In most cases, the only thing required is the consent of the adult being adopted and the individuals adopting him or her. Though there is no home study requirement for adoption, in some circumstances, the court may do other things to determine if this is, indeed, the best situation for the adult who is being adopted. In very rare cases, a spouse of the adult adoptee may need to consent as well.
Though a homestudy isn’t required for this, someone may visit your home to determine safety, particularly if the adult being adopted may lack awareness of the situation due to illness or if there are medical issues that are being examined.
Your first step would be to contact an adoption lawyer, social worker, or adoption agency to get the help and support that you need.
Why You May Consider Adult Adoption
The first reason to consider adult adoption is if you have a relationship with an adult who you know could use a family and your support. I’ve heard more and more cases of adult adoption, particularly of college aged adults who are in need of a home and family. Adoption of an adult is just a more formal way of making you a legal family.
If you have an adult in your life that doesn’t have a legal family that you have a bond with, it’s worth broaching with them. They may have similar feelings and may be relieved to officially join a family.
Some adults are adopted that may need more health care or someone to make medical decisions for them. This is something many consider doing for family members like cousins, nieces, nephews, etc. should the need arise for an adult to receive further care. And, this is likely one of the adult adoption cases that would be investigated by social workers and/or the court to ensure this is a good fit.
Adult adoption is also a good idea if there is someone who is legally not your family member that you’re interested in passing on an inheritance to. Though wills are most definitely an option, this would make it difficult for someone to contest that. More recently, I read about a single woman with no family who adopted her adult neighbor to ensure that he would receive her estate upon her passing.
Whatever reasons you may be thinking through as you contemplate adult adoption, if it’s something you’re considering, it’s likely something you should do more research on to do. Everyone needs a family, no matter their age.