Not long ago a national news program offered the heartwarming story of a little girl asking her stepfather to adopt her. In a pretty dress and with a handmade sign, she asked the man who had been in her life since her infancy if he would officially make her his daughter. The story had a happy ending – the man tearfully agreed and legally adopted the little girl.

Ohio families that include stepchildren and stepparents can understand the special bond that the family from this story exemplifies. Stepparents can take on roles that are identical to those that biological parents often provide. They can claim special places in their stepchildren’s hearts and likewise can develop parental love for the children of their spouses.

As our readers know, however, there are many requirements that must be met before a stepparent may adopt a stepchild. The parental rights of the child’s other biological parent must be severed, and the child’s parent, the stepparent’s spouse, must agree to the action. Although they are often positive and emotional events, stepparent adoptions must follow certain protocols due to the important legal relationships that are created when they are executed.

A stepparent’s adoption of a stepchild can be a storybook tale of family love and togetherness. It is also, however, a technical legal process that imposes mandates on individuals who choose to follow through. When stepparent adoption is under discussion in an Ohio family’s home, it can be good for the parties to get more information about what must be done to effectuate the process.