Contrary to popular belief, the adoption process is not just limited to potential parents seeking to add younger children to their expanding families. In fact, many people are now choosing to enlarge their families through so-called adult adoptions.
While it’s difficult to provide exact figures on the growing number of adult adoptions (thanks in large part to the confidentiality provisions found in many states’ adoption laws), multiple advocacy groups have indicated that they are on the rise.
“[A]necdotally, [adult adoption] does seem to be occurring more frequently,” said Chuck Johnson, CEO of the National Council for Adoption.
The vast majority of these adult adoptions appear to be comprised of long-term foster parents adopting their now grown foster children and – perhaps more surprisingly – older couples adopting younger adults with whom they have formed a strong parental bond and who have no strong family ties of their own.
What would persuade people to enter into such an arrangement?
According to family experts, it can most likely be attributed to a strong desire on the part of the adoptive parents to formalize a lasting bond with the younger person.
“No matter how old you are, you never lose the desire for a family,” said Johnson.
As for the adults being adopted, experts attribute the desire to the need for stability and a sense of belonging.
“Why would someone want to do this as an adult? Many reasons. First, wanting to remove the stigma of not having a family, of not having a feeling of permanence,” said adoption therapist Deb Castaldo. “You can imagine what it’s like for someone who has no sense of belonging.”
Perhaps another reason that the number of adult adoptions is on the rise is the relative legal ease with which the process can be completed.
Typically, adult adoptions don’t require much of the same formal/legal procedures (background checks, social worker assessments, medical reviews, etc.) as adoptions involving children.
To learn more about adoption or parental rights, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
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