Being an aunt or uncle can be a profound and joyful experience. You have this intense bond with a child who might share obvious physical traits with you, your sibling or your parents. You get to help support both child and parent, which can sometimes mean stepping into a role that parents traditionally play.

Whether your sibling lost parenting rights due to neglect, wound up incarcerated or died, your nieces and nephews may need you to take a more serious role in their lives. You may be in a position to consider adopting them. What is the role of the other parent if you want to adopt your nieces and nephews?

Both parents have certain rights under California law

If you know who the other parent is, you should attempt to reach out to them. Unless they are dead or have had their parental rights terminated, they have a say in whether or not you can move forward with the adoption process.

Typically, if the state has not terminated their parental rights, they will either have to agree to end their parental rights by approving the adoption. In other words, if they don’t approve of you and don’t want you to adopt your niece and nephew, you may not be able to move forward with the adoption in the California family courts, even if that’s what your sibling and the kids want.

How can you convince a reticent parent to allow an adoption?

If your sibling’s ex hasn’t played much part in the lives of the children, you may be able to appeal to their sense of guilt or failed responsibility because you have been there as a support for the children when they have not been there.

Alternatively, you might point out how rescinding their parental rights will effectively end their obligation to provide child support, a factor which could be beneficial to those with lower incomes or who have had a history of not paying their support obligations.

Finally, you might try appealing to their sense of filial affection by reminding them that you intend to provide stability, family and constant support as an adoptive parent. Especially if you agree to allow them visitation, the attractive prospect of you providing a stable home may sway someone unsure of whether they want to allow an adoption of their children.

If you intend to move forward with a familial adoption, you will likely need help with both negotiations and legal paperwork along the way. The right advice early on can increase your chances of success and make a complicated process a little bit easier for your family.