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Adopting a stepchild - any experiences?

(7 Posts)
girlwithagruffalotattoo Wed 30-Mar-16 23:59:29

Im afraid this will be long! The background: I was in a relationship with a man and became pregnant. He left me very quickly after we found out and had little contact throughout the pregnancy. I felt it was important to try to establish a relationship between him and dd and he had intermittent contact until dd was about 8 mo. Then he disappeared until she was 2 when he saw her again for a short time (twice a month for 2 hours at a time, for a few months). He's been awol for almost 3 years now.

I'm now married to a woman who dd sees as her other parent. She knows about her bio father but loves me and my wife and we are a happy family. Dd has contact with both mine and DW family but bio father's family aren't in contact (their choice).

I've just been diagnosed with a heart condition which leaves me at risk of sudden death. The thought of dying and a court forcing dd to live with my ex just destroys me. He is a fucking terrible human being who cares not one iota for dd (this has been shown time and again) but who takes pleasure in doing things to hurt other people. I dont want him to have any say in her life and if I'm not around I can't protect her from him.

Because I am a bloody idiot who thought I was doing the right thing I had him put on the birth certificate so he has parental responsibility, legally.

DW would like to adopt dd so that only she and me would be DD's parents. This would be, as far as I'm concerned, just formalising the situation. It would also make us feel secure that if I died dd would be cared for by family who love her.

Has anyone adopted their stepchild in similar(ish) circumstances?

My worries are that he would refuse to give permission just to be difficult and then go on to cause more problems for us. As much as I'd like him to be out of our lives for good it does feel safe not drawing attention to ourselves.

Also, what if he gave the court some sob story and managed to convince them he wanted contact and they granted him a contact order. He is fully capable of putting himself to considerable inconvenience to cause trouble for us, so this is a real fear.

How likely would we be to be granted the adoption order? Would the fact that he's been totally absent for most of her life and she has a stable and loving home be enough? I want to believe yes but I'm fearing no.

Any help, advice or experience will be gratefully received. If you've made it this far, thank you smile

girlwithagruffalotattoo Thu 31-Mar-16 13:06:00


Kr1stina Thu 31-Mar-16 13:39:31

I'm sorry to hear of your diagnosis and hope you are getting good medical care .

I suspect you might need legal advice . You might be better to go for another legal order rather than adoption, such as a residence order. It may not be necessary for you ex to be contacted , if he's not losing his parental responsibility, but you'd need legal advice on this .

AFAIK , the bio parent cannot block an adoption, as long as the court decides that he is unreasonably withholding consent. However I think the scenario you outline is very possible - many parents who cannot make the effort to see their children cannot bring themselves to admit this to the guardian ad litem.

The court has to act in the child's best interest and they may feel that she has a loving home anyway and an adoption order wouldn't change this. The courts are reluctant to deprive a man parent of their "rights" just because there's now a step parent .

I know of a similar case where the man had not seen his child in 10 years ( since she was a baby ) AND had a history of DV against the mother . He objected to the adoption , said he had a new partner and a stable family life . He told the court that he didn't want to have the child live with him but he might want to see her occasionally , and that wouldnt be possible if the adoption was granted

The adoption petition was refused . Of course , the man never saw his child again. Ever . He just wanted to piss off his ex and control her. sad angry

girlwithagruffalotattoo Thu 31-Mar-16 18:18:57

Yes, I think this is very possible. It's just infuriating that they get away with it

girlwithagruffalotattoo Thu 31-Mar-16 18:19:16

Thanks for your reply.

lateforeverything Sun 03-Apr-16 00:36:50

Sorry to hear about your diagnosis... flowers

I am sm to a 12yo dss should hasn't had direct contact with my dh's exw for 3 years. Her family are not in touch either.

I too feel that adoption of dss would be a formalisation of what is already in place and since dh's exw is very happy in her 2nd marriage to the om's best mate and says that her life has never been better, I think adoption would def be in dss' best interests. I also wonder if ours might be blocked out of spite though, since dh's exw has shown signs of instability.

At the moment we have a Residence Order (now called a Child Arrangement Order I believe) that names me as a person with Parental Responsibility. I recommend applying for this as a first step as my understanding is that it would prevent your dd automatically going to live with your ex if anything happened to you. He could still apply for contact but he would not get automatic residency.

Maybe try posting this on the Step Parenting page for more responses.

lateforeverything Sun 03-Apr-16 00:40:45

I just read a pp referring to the order that I referred to- you would need to contact your ex even if it's not a full adoption because even though the Child Arrangement Order does not remove your ex's PR, every person with PR has to agree to somebody else getting it as well iykwim.

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