If you are an active stepparent, you are a mother or father in every way except legally. When one birth parent is absent, it is sensible to make official that bond between you and the child.
Adopting a stepchild can be a complex process. Knowing what it entails before moving forward eases everything.
The decision to adopt is hardly trivial. The cost of raising the child will fall on your shoulders. Thus, you are increasing the risk of parental burnout. The other birth parent will lose parental rights. Discuss the situation with your spouse. Also, consider the opinion of your stepchild as part of your decision-making.
To adopt your stepchild, you must get authorization from the biological parent. Depending on the circumstances, this can be extremely difficult. The individual in question might not want to be in contact with you. A drug problem could make getting in touch even more difficult. Professionals in the adoption field are often able to help establish this connection.
You do not need an attorney when filing for adoption. That said, working with a legal eagle is beneficial. If expense is a concern, stop worrying. The fees for moving forward remain relatively reasonable.
Having a support system can help. Community groups are a source of spiritual sustenance. There are also online organizations available for dispensing advice and talking out concerns. Join as many as you see fit.
Becoming a stepparent is not a trivial decision. Understand what it means to assume this role before taking action.