Considering Adopting Your Step Children in Alberta?
Did you know that there are more non-traditional families now, than ever before, and statistics demonstrate that trend is accelerating?
Statistics Canada offers an amazing profile of the average Canadian step family.
If you are a step family looking to incorporate your children into a more legally formal family unit, you will participate in “The Alberta Step Parent Adoption Program”.
“Step Parent” adoption in Alberta refers to adoptions where:
- The legal parent of a child has married or formed an Adult Interdependent Relationship
- The child is under the age of 18 (if the person is over 18, and Adult Adoption can be done)
- The step parent wishes to legally adopt the child
- The legal guardian consents to the adoption
- The adopting parties reside within the jurisdiction of Alberta
A Step Parent adoption means never having to say “Step” in front of “Family”, “Child”, “Son”, “Mom”, “Dad”, “Mother” or “Father” ever again. If you have ever endured feeling obliged to use any of those words, you will know how powerful it is to not have to identify yourself or your family ever again in that way. Perhaps, and most importantly, Step Parent Adoption means never having to say or hear things such as: “Well. He’s not really my Dad, but he’s been just like a father to me”.
Step Families Face Additional Challenges
Raising kids is tough, and it is a long haul. All families have issues along the way, but step families can encounter additional challenges involving family units that are inevitably fractured in terms of traditional social and legal bonds.
The legal and social commitments established in step families may be informal or unstructured thus leaving all parties uncertain of their respective roles, commitments, obligations and authorities. This often occurs at a time when children are most in need of consistency, structure and assurance.
Step family adoption provides the sort of tangible legal and social structure that formalizes the family relationship in ways that overcome many of these challenges.
Practical Advantages to Adopting Your Step Children
Adoption means never having to stop in the middle of an introduction to clarify a family member’s relationship, or having to explain your family’s structure. It means never having to bring a note, consent, court order, or fill out additional forms when standing in front of a school administrator, motor vehicles clerk, or at a passport office.
It also means that you do not have to remember to make special arrangements in your estate planning for your “step” children!
Family Surname Continuity
Inevitably, we are either obliged or feel compelled, to explain to others why one of our family members has a different last name. This may happen during, or after an introduction, or during a registration process.
Surname consistency contributes to the appropriate level of privacy that every family deserves and preempts awkward and intrusive explanations regarding how you family is structured.
Socially, Why Bother Adopting?
Step family adoption provides several important social and emotional advantages for children.
The standards for family relationships have certainly evolved over time and differ between cultures, but they remain based on a very traditional model. In turn, society has designed its institutions and agencies to interact with the traditional family model. Any variation from those standards inevitably creates complications, some of which occur during interactions with schools, financial institutions, healthcare, and government offices.
While usually manageable, these differences are most often felt by the children. The conversations explaining why your family is different can be uncomfortable and can negatively affect our children.
Attempting to transform, or have a non-traditional family mimic a traditional family will not work. Many relationships have failed attempting to accomplish this kind of domestic alchemy. Composite families are necessarily different and represent a complex interlacing of accommodations that occur among all members of the group.
From a social perspective, step parent adoption will not transform your family into the same traditional unit that either your spouse, you, or your children may have known before but it will make the unit look, function and interact more like a traditional family. Step Parent Adoption addresses many of the social, administrative and legal discomforts and inconveniences, inevitably experienced by non-traditional families. Step Parent Adoption alleviates the sort of awkward social interactions that accumulate and are often most acutely felt by children.
Step Parent Adoption Without Bio Father Consent
We are often asked if we can do a step parent adoption without the bio father’s consent? In Alberta, there is no clear and direct answer, every blended family’s situation is complicated and unique. One of our licensed social workers will study your case and work with you to find out if you can do a step parent adoption, even if the bio father is not around and cannot or will not give his consent. Contact Small Miracles Adoption to make an appointment and start the process for your step parent adoption.
How to Get Started
Step Parent adoption starts with a realistic evaluation of your family composition.
For legal reasons, Step Parent Adoption does not suit situations where both biological parents are actively involved and contributing. Currently, the law only recognizes a maximum of two legal parents, whereby an adoption removes a biological parent from a birth certificate. While this may be warranted in some cases, there are many cases where it is not.
There are, however, many situations where the biological parent in question may not be contributing, or may not have any legal standing in terms of the child. In other circumstances, a non-involved biological parent may consent to relinquish their parenting rights and responsibilities. Maybe the bio father or bio mother is not present. Small Miracles Adoption will help evaluation your blended family and outline all of your adoption options.
These are situations where Step Parent adoptions are most appropriate and effective.
Small Miracles Adoption can provide you with the necessary information and assist you in evaluating whether Step Parent Adoption is appropriate for your family.
If Step Parent Adoption is right for you, Small Miracles will assemble all of the required supporting documents and complete and submit all of the applications and forms required by the Courts on your behalf.
Why Choose Small Miracles Adoption?
Small Miracles Adoption is a licensed non-profit Alberta Adoption agency that is family oriented and operated by licensed social workers and people who are experienced and knowledgeable about adoption. Our people form the foundation for how we operate. We do not operate as paralegals, clerks or administrators and we are unable to provide you with legal advice.
While we understand the importance of being efficient, correct and professional in filing your Court applications, we do not forget that adoption is principally about human interaction and relationships.
Everyone at Small Miracles Adoption has experience with one form of adoption or another so we “get it” on a personal level. Additionally, Small Miracles maintain staff who are accredited Step Parent Counsellors and have completed focused training at the Step Parent Foundation in New York City.
* Small Miracles Adoption files Step Parent and Adult Adoptions throughout the Province of Alberta!
Contact Small Miracles Adoption at 780-421-1177 to start the step parent adoption process today
Complete the Adoption Services Application Form if you are interested in a Step Parent Adoption in Alberta.