Do We Have to Tell My Parents I Am Being Adopted?


Adoption carries a certain (and well-deserved) assumption that it’s mostly about babies and kids. It’s true that the most common adoptions are those involving a minor being placed with a new family. However, adult adoptions are more common than you think. Adult adoption can happen for a variety of reasons, most of which are financial in nature (adopting an heir for your estate, etc.). Because this type of adoption doesn’t involve a minor, all that’s generally required is that the parties agree to the proceeding. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering being adopted or adopting an adult into your family.

Common Reasons for Adult Adoption

People who have built a legacy often want to leave that legacy to someone who will enhance and build upon it. These people may have children who, for whatever reason, won’t be inheriting their legacy. In this case, it’s somewhat common to seek an appropriate heir and adopt them. This allows them the security of guaranteeing their legacy will be accepted and treated accordingly.

Another common situation in adult adoptions involves an adopted child and their biological birth parent. The parent and adult child may decide that they want to renew their legal bond. The adoption may simply be used as recognition that the parent and adult child have a significant relationship.

Other reasons often pop up in adult adoptions, but the two listed above are the most common. When adults go through the adoption process, it’s often less about forming a familial bond, and more about guaranteeing certain legal protections between the parties. This does not make these adoptions less significant; there are certainly plenty of cases where the only concern is being viewed as a family, whether in the eyes of the law, or just in general.

What to Expect During an Adult Adoption

The legal process of the adoption remains the same in adult adoptions as in child adoptions. The relevant paperwork must be filled out and submitted to the courts. If the adoption is approved, a new birth certificate will be issued for the adopted adult, showing the adoptive parents as the legal birth parents. The adopted person’s legal relationships with the non-adoptive parents are effectively severed. The adopted person can then change their surname if they wish to do so. The records of the adoption are sealed, and the adoption is then considered complete.

Requirements for Adult Adoptions May be Variable

Depending on the state in which you live, the requirements for notifications, paperwork, and other related issues can change greatly. Experienced adoption attorneys can help you navigate the process of adult adoption and help you figure out the requirements for your area. Some states require that an adopted adult exhibit diminished capacity (being unable to make decisions for oneself) before they can be adopted while others allow adult adoption so long as all parties agree to the proceeding. Some states have a requirement that birth parents or legal parents must be notified that the adoption is taking place, while others don’t. Some states even require the consent of the spouse if the adopted person is already married.

Working with an Adoption Attorney

The entire adult adoption process can be exceedingly simple, or incredibly difficult, depending on the circumstances and state. That’s why it’s so important to consult with a knowledgeable, local adoption attorney to discuss a possible adult adoption. At Jennifer Fairfax Family Formation Law Offices, our experienced staff is ready to help you navigate the labyrinth, from the first step to the end of the process. Contact us today for more information about adult adoptions. Click here to learn more about adult adoption.

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“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax