You love your new wife more than anything. You get along well with the kids that she has from a previous marriage. Since the children's father isn't in the picture, you'd like to adopt them so that you can play an active and legal role in their upbringing.
There are a few points that you should think about when you are trying to decide whether you should pursue a step-parent adoption. These might help you to make a decision and give you more information about what you can expect if you decide to move forward with the adoption:
Consent for the adoption
You will need the absent parent's consent for the adoption to move forward. If you can't get this, you will have to turn to the court to determine how to get the father's rights terminated. All of this must occur before you can move forward with the step-parent adoption.
Getting consent from the birth father might prove difficult. In some cases, you might be able to bring up the fact that the birth father won't have to provide financial support for the child as a benefit of the birth father signing the necessary forms to relinquish rights. In some cases, child support delinquency might be enough to help you get the other parent's rights terminated.
In some cases, you might need the child's consent for the adoption to move forward. This is typically the case if the child is mature enough and old enough to form a logical opinion about the matter. The child would have to understand that the adoption means in order for this to be a factor.
The process for a step-parent adoption
In most adoptions, there are home studies and other steps in a process that have to be completed. In a step-parent adoption, the court might bypass these steps in order to get the adoption done faster. The thought for this is that the child is living with the step-parent already so some of these steps are unnecessary. Plus, the step-parent is considered a family member.
If you are thinking of adopting your wife's children, you should make sure that you understand what this means. Since this is a real adoption, you will still be responsible for the children if you and your wife end up going through a divorce. While this might not be something that you want to think about right now, you should take the time to consider this before you start the process.