Can my sister give me her son?

Can I adopt my sister's son, or can she simply give him to me?

When dealing with the legalities of parental control and decisions to be made for any child, this requires that the law identify who the parent is. This requirement makes it impossible for one person to simply "give" a child to another without legally giving consent for their parental rights to be terminated in all areas where the child is concerned. And it is not simply the birth mother who gives you consent, but it is also the birth father who much relinquish his consent over the child. However, you absolutely can go about adopting your sister's son through the legal adoption process.

Will I be required to pay all the normal costs to adopt my sister's son?

Unfortunately, there is not a generically broad special category you would fall in to qualify for financial breaks in adopting your sister's son, unless specified by your particular State otherwise. While the law can look favorably on you adopting your nephew, given that you qualify in all the requirements for adoption by your specific State, there is no way to do an adoption without cost, unless the child is removed by Child Protective Services and placed for adoption through the foster care system. And because you need to consent of the birth father, you cannot do a voluntary adoption without the consent of both parents. 

What can I expect to be the process of adopting my sister's son?

If the both the birth father and birth mother agree, giving you consent to adopt your nephew, you would need to hire an adoption agency or an adoption attorney to do all of the following:

  • Write a home study to determine that your home is a safe emotional and physical space for a child
  • Take relinquishments (also known as consents or surrenders) from both the birth mother and the birth father that would terminate both of their parental rights
  • Write the court report and go into court to finalize the adoption

In some States, this process would cost somewhere around $8,000. However, it is importatnt to note that due to the sensitivity of each case, in addition to the specific adoptions laws as outlined by each individual State, the costs and exact stepts to adopt your sister's son will vary. You would be wise to hire an experienced and professional adoption lawyer or adoption agency to help you ensure that all the necessary paperwork and information is obtained and properly filled out according to your particular circumstances and State of occupancy. 

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