When most people think about adoption, they often picture a baby, an infant, or a toddler. But did you know that it is possible to not only adopt older children and teenagers, but even an adult? Wisconsin allows for an adoption to occur at any age, whether the “child” is 1, 19, or 59!
There are many reasons why someone over the age of 18 may be interested in being adopted. For starters, hundreds of youth age out of the foster care system every year in Wisconsin alone. Many of these youth spend a good amount of time in one or more foster homes and develop close relationships with these families. As a result, some young adults are eventually adopted by their former foster parents, or other adults that they felt connected to. Adult adoptions may also occur when a stepparent wishes to adopt a stepchild over the age of 18, or when an adult is estranged from their biological parents, but has developed a parent-child relationship with another adult(s) that they wish to legally recognize.
In order for an adult adoption to occur in Wisconsin, a Petition for Adoption form needs to be completed and a court date is then scheduled. The adoptee and the prospective adoptive parent(s) must consent to the adoption, and the court must feel that the adoption is in the best interest of all involved. If so, the adoption will be granted and the adoptee is issued a new birth certificate. Finalizing an adult adoption severs the legal relationship between that person and their biological parent(s). Adult adoptions do not require a home study, background checks, or, for that matter, any involvement from social services. In a sense, adult adoptions can be fairly quick and easy to complete.
The benefits of adoption for an adult are often similar to what adoption brings to children: stability, a feeling of belonging, and a loving family. Another reason some families chose to complete an adult adoption is so that the adoptee can more easily access the family’s financial assets, property, or other inheritance rights. No matter the reason for the adoption, no one is ever too old to need or want a family.
Do you know anyone that would benefit from learning more about adult adoption? You can contact the Coalition for Children, Youth and Families at (414) 475-1246 for more information on adult adoption or other types of adoption; we are dedicated to helping find permanence and stability and for ALL children and families.