Being a stepparent is not a glamorous gig. You have all of the daily stress of living with a child without the respect that parents generally receive. It can take a long time to develop a bond with a child who may not trust you or may resent your role in the life of their parent.
It can be hard to balance your desire to take care of the child and their parent with the need to respect their broader social circumstances. You will become closer with the child and more involved. Eventually, you may start to think of yourself as a parent and not a stepparent at all.
If your spouse, the child and possibly the other parent all agree, you could adopt your stepchild. What are some of the reasons such an adoption is beneficial?
It protects your relationship in a divorce
Even if you have lived with your stepchild since they were an infant and they are now a teenager, you may not technically have grounds to request custody as a stepparent divorcing their biological or legal parent.
When you adopt your stepchild, you commit to playing a role in their life and supporting them even if your relationship with their parent fails.
It protects your stepchild from vulnerability
If your spouse were to suddenly fall ill or die in an unexpected accident, you might have a difficult time securing even visitation with your stepchild. They could go live with family members that they barely know instead. By adopting them now, you help ensure that you can keep their life as stable as possible if something ever happens to your spouse.
You redouble your commitment to your family
An adoption is a binding legal connection between you and a child that you already care about and love. As a stepparent, there are few actions you could take that would offer more stability or a stronger sense of belonging than a stepparent adoption.
Not only will your relationship with your stepchild possibly improve, but you may also strengthen the relationship that you have with their parent by demonstrating your deep love for the child. Initiating a stepparent adoption requires patience and an understanding of the Florida legal adoption process, but it can benefit and protect your family in many ways.