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How adoption changes grandparents' roles and lives

When you retired, you probably thought you might spend your days on the golf course or traveling to Europe with a tour guide and only occasionally visiting the grandkids or going to their soccer games. You likely did not think you would be petitioning for adoption and raising your grandkids as your own.

But in some cases, that is exactly what happens.

In Ohio, grandparents may legally adopt their grandchildren. There are many reasons a grandparent may choose to pursue adoption a grandchild, including problems with the biological parents such as:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Drug abuse or addiction
  • Neglect of the child

After this important decision to move forward with adoption is made and the grandparents begin the petition process, several significant changes can result.

According to an article on the Ohio State Bar Association website, a grandparent's legal obligations change after adoption, including:

  • Upbringing--You have legally taken on the responsibility of feeding, clothing and providing care for the child.
  • Benefits--Any legal benefits you have, such as health insurance, may apply to your adopted child.
  • Inheritance--Now that you have adopted your grandchild, they are legally your son or daughter, and as such they will be your legal heir.
  • Custody--Since you have adopted the child, you have legal custody of the child.
  • Visitation rights--If you adopted the child, the biological parents no longer have legal rights to the child, and a court cannot order visitation.

Adopting a grandchild may be something you choose to pursue because of one of the aforementioned reasons. Or it may be thrust upon you because the parent dropped the child or children on your doorstep. In any case, knowing how your roles and responsibilities could change will better equip you to make this life-changing decision.

Do you know anyone whose life has been affected by adopting or caring for their grandkids?

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