Stepparent and relative adoptions in Tennessee are fairly common, but that does not mean that they are easy to obtain. Often, and understandably, the reluctance or refusal of either or both birth parents to voluntarily terminate their parental rights presents a complication to the adoption process. The Court can intervene with an involuntary termination of parental rights, but only upon determining that the parent is unfit to care for or make decisions for the child.
Most people in Tennessee would like to think that when a child is born into a family, that child will enjoy all of the love and support they need from their parents throughout their life. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Many situations may leave a child in need of care outside of their family home and this care may include that provided by another relative. In these cases, people may be able to apply to participate in a program run by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.
Whether through marriage, adoption, birth or all of the above, we at Parker and LaDuke know there are many ways to create a family in Tennessee. If your spouse already has children from a previous relationship, you can adopt these children as your own via the legal process of stepparent adoption. After you have done so, you and the child can both begin to enjoy the benefits of a parent-child relationship recognized under the law. For example, you will be able to make decisions for the child in regard to child-rearing, education and more, while the child will be able to take your name, receive Social Security when you die and inherit equally with your other children.
As families, we often come together to help each other out in bad situations. One time when family can be especially helpful is when a parent cannot take care of his or her child. This could happen for a variety of reasons, but if it happens in your family, you may be able to become a part of the relative caregiver program.