Amidst your golden years and retirement, you might suddenly find yourself serving as your grandchildren’s physical or legal custodian. If their parents died or cannot overcome their circumstances and move back home with the children, you likely wonder whether adoption is the right option for your family.
The decision of whether to adopt the grandchildren you have custody of or are raising depends on not only your love for your family but the following considerations as well.
Undertaking parenting challenges
Your current custody of your grandchildren serves as a temporary situation. Although you probably have a handle on how to raise them thus far, think about the permanency of adoption and whether you can continue to parent them to adulthood. Consider your age, physical health and financial status as you contemplate adoption.
Finality of the process
Should you decide to adopt your grandchildren, the first step is petitioning the court to terminate both biological parents’ rights. Tennessee law outlines fifteen possible grounds for terminating these rights, including failing to visit or lack of providing support. Adoption is final and imparts life-changing effects on you, your grandchildren and their biological parents. Suppose you doubt your ability to continue to raise your grandchildren to adulthood or believe the circumstances surrounding your grandchildren’s parents may change. In that case, adoption likely will not serve your family well.
After adoption becomes final, you will gain the right to control the upbringing of your grandchildren. This includes any educational and medical decisions plus control over who your grandchildren may interact with. If the grandchildren’s biological parents become safe to visit again, you now will have sole discretion whether and when such visitation occurs.
A legal adoption can also open eligibility for your grandchildren’s social security benefits and scholarships.