DIY adoption process

Nov 28, 2000
Hello, all.

I recently got married :D :D , and my wife has a son, a 4 y.o., from a previous relationship. I would like to adopt him, so as to make our family truly one :cool: .

Does anyone here have any experience with a diy adoption? Did it seem to be as complex as one would imagine? Did it become so troublesome that you had to hire a lawyer? Or, would hiring a lawyer from the beginning just be the most reasonable thing? In my wife's considered opinion, our son's biological father wouldn't be averse to giving up his rights, as he has not been very involved in the childs upbringing from the start. Also, she has discussed this matter with him in the past, with only positive responses on his part. FYI, we live in New York state.

Thanks for your input,
I have only seen this sort of thing once, when my cousin adopted his wife's beautiful young daughter -- who is now enlisting in the Army National Guard. :) So there are happy endings.

But. They had a lawyer who was willing to play hardball (another cousin of ours :) ). The father hadn't bothered looking in on his daughter all her life -- until he smelled money, and wanted to get bought off before he'd sign off. And that was a US citizen, living in the area.

Get a lawyer. Who speaks the language, if possible.

By the way, congratulations ... to all of you. Lucky kid!
I have friends who have been through this process, and the matter came up in conversation at a recent get-together. Turns out that a number of people who were there had been involved in various kinds of adoption issues. The summary of the conversation was--no matter how simple/straightforward the process seems-- GET A LAWYER (as Esav said). Something may come up later-- that wasn't even on the radar when you started this process. Retain an attorney who specializes in this stuff, and has some experience. You'll sleep better at night. Look at it this way-- you are protecting your family here-- what better use do any of us have for money?

best of luck.
Thanks for your opinions, guys. :)

Yeah, we spoke to some other people, and have decided to go with a lawyer after all. As Shaldag said, I'm protecting my family, so why be skimpy? I think I was a bit hopped up from filing my wife's paperwork, and wanted to take on all challengers. :rolleyes: :D

Thank you again,
FrankieCrabs said:
I think I was a bit hopped up from filing my wife's paperwork, ...
That's good, too :D Doing it yourself is chancy, but a lawyer is only a lawyer, he's your erxpert advisor. It's still good to understand every step of the way alongside him.
Whoa, nelly! Take it slow, my friend. I hate to be the voice of caution here,'re newly wed and still wearing the rose colored glasses. What if you adopt her son and things between the two of you suddenly go south next year or the year after that? You'll wind up shelling out child support to the beatch each and every month until the kid turns eighteen, that's what. My advice is to give it some time, don't rush. Wait a few years and then adopt him if you still feel up to it. Why the panic anyway? Is she putting pressure on you to adopt, even sweetly with whispered words? If so, I'd definitely be thinking twice - and then some. Danger, Will Robinson - danger!
Her boyfriend is already in the ANG. :D She is already familiar with the standard weaponry. :D Better luck next time :D
I have a bit of experience in this - I was adopted by my stepfather (several years ago, however).

GET A LAWYER. You don't want something coming up years later that can hurt him.

Basically, my biological father (I use the term father loosely) was NEVER in my life. He even signed off all rights to me before I was born, and my Mother (bless her soul) signed off on any support from him. Her opinion was one of "he doesn't want to be part of this, and I don't every want this child to be indebted to him".

Years later, with the first check out of my first checking account, I sent him a check for $18 (his court fees from signing off on me). He cashed it.

My Mother married when I was 6. We had one of those "his, mine & ours" families, and eventhough it was never said, I always felt like that lonely "mine" in the mix rather than a full part of the plan.

When I was around 9 or 10, the issue of adopting me arose. My Mother was diagnosed with cancer, and she worried what would happen to me. Turns out she made it through, but not until finding out that bio-dad didn't want to "hand me over". (years later I found out he had insurance policies on me that were based on me being his child, and he worried about losing the cash)

We weren't exactly a wealthy family, so a lawyer wasn't really in the mix. I had taken my step-dad's last name, and when I switched schools nobody knew the difference.

Unfortunately when I hit 16 and had to get a liscense it hit the fan - turns out I needed to go by my legal name - one I hadn't used since I was 6.

When I was 18, my Dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told him I wanted to be adopted. A name change wasn't enough. Because I was 18 I could stand for myself and be ADOPTED. It was a little freaky because they had to ask me the same questions they would ask a small child, but it was very much worth it.

I agree that you should know what you are getting into. Give your marriage some time. You can also have his name changed legally - no need for Daddy's OK, at least in my state. BUT, if you are really in this for the long haul, do what you can to adopt him. It will make a great deal of difference in his life - even if he knows his history.

Trust me.