Stepparent adoption and the role of biological grandparents

| May 6, 2021 | Adoption |

Your stepchild’s biological parent must lose parental rights before you can proceed with the stepparent adoption. Regardless of the situation between the parent and child, the ending of the relationship with other biological family members such as grandparents may still be traumatic.

If your stepchild’s grandparents have played a role in his or her life, the Child Welfare Information Gateway states that your child may benefit from maintaining contact with them.

Benefits of remaining in contact

Children who lose contact with biological grandparents may develop an unrealistic idea of them, either positive or negative. This can make it difficult for them to understand and relate to their birth family members as real people, which can, in turn, cause feelings of rejection. With the connection, your stepchild may better understand the biological family dynamic and his or her own sense of identity.

Having an open pathway also allows your stepchild to have access to medical history and genetic information. Cultural and ethnic heritage are also important connections gained from biological grandparents.

Challenges of remaining in contact

Your spouse may have a difficult relationship with the biological parent’s family and be reluctant to maintain contact for personal reasons, or he or she may believe the contact would be unhealthy. Any contact requires clear boundaries, open communication and respect. Grandparents who refuse to honor these may not be able to play an active role.

Ultimately, you and your spouse are doing everything you can to focus on what’s best for your stepchild. If loving grandparents want to remain in contact, it is worthwhile to discuss how to keep the positive adult relationships in the child’s life.