Marrying someone who already has children means you are marrying the whole family. It takes a lot of courage and love to enter into this arrangement, and it is probably those same feelings causing you to consider making the children legally yours.
Perhaps you want to be more than just a stepparent to these kids, but you are not sure it is the right decision. Consider these benefits of going through with a stepparent adoption.
When the children become legally yours, they will have a right to financial support from you. This entails more than just daily provision. It also means they can receive inheritances, Social Security benefits and other forms of financial assistance a biological child would be eligible to receive. Note that this right is permanent, so if you and your spouse end up divorcing, you will be responsible for paying child support.
Is the biological parent untrustworthy or lacking in sound judgment? You may not want this person involved in making decisions regarding the children. Becoming the legal parent takes this right away from the original parent and gives it to you. If adoption is not possible, becoming a legal guardian can still provide you with this ability.
Stepparent adoptions qualify for new birth certificates for the children. Your name will be on the document, and your children can take your last name, too. Sharing a surname can make you feel united as a family.
You are likely adopting because the biological parent has not been a part of, or at least a positive part of, the children’s lives. With you now filling the shoes of legal mother or father, you can offer a stable and healthy figure for the children to look up to and rely on. There may still be challenges, and it may take time for some of the children to embrace you as the legal parent, but the adoption will be worth it in the end.