Step-Parent and Kinship Adoption

Step parent adoption (also known as co-parent or second parent adoption) is when the partner of the custodial parent adopts the custodial parent’s child.

A kinship adoption is when a relative of the child, adopts the child. This could also be known as a step parent adoption if the relative is married to the custodial parent. However kinship adoptions could involve a sibling, aunt, cousin, grandparent, etc., who chooses to formally adopt the child.

When processing a step parent or kinship adoption, an adoption home study will be required. Adoption STAR provides step parent and kinship adoption home studies. Feel free to contact the agency for more information. LGBTQIA+ families are encouraged to register.

Text (For Birth Parents)

Benefits to the Child

Children who are adopted by their step-parents are often exposed to the following benefits:

  • They are able to have the same last name as the rest of the family members.
  • They gain a sense of belonging and importance in the family.
  • They are able to collect life insurance benefits and are entitled to any other inheritance the step-parent may leave behind.
  • They are eligible for medical, dental and other health care coverage provided by the step-parent.
  • They are eligible to receive social security death benefits from their step-parent.
  • They are eligible to receive military benefits through their step-parent.

Children who have lived without one of their parents for a substantial period of time may further experience positive changes in their life when that space is filled by a loving and legal step-parent.

Adoption STAR is one of the few adoption agencies that also provides a step-parent adoption program. In some states, step-parents and even grandparents must follow the same procedures as any other person interested in adopting.

In Ohio for example, a spouse can apply through their local probate court to adopt the child after the step-parent has been married for at least one year to one of the child’s biological parents. They will require a home study conducted by a licensed adoption agency. Adoption STAR provides step-parent home studies and support through the process. Please note that the biological parent who is not the primary custodian of the child must consent to the step-parent adoption unless the court finds that they unjustifiably have had no contact with the child for a specified period of time, dictated by the state.

A kinship adoption is when a relative or non-relative of the child, who has a bond or relationship with the child, has taken over full time care of the child, and whose intent is to make a lifelong commitment to care for the child. The process is similar to a step-parent adoption.

Adoption STAR is proud to offer step-parent and kinship adoption home studies to families who voluntarily commit to making a lifelong decision to care for child whose parent or parents are unable to do so. Please contact the agency for more information.


There are differences between adoption agencies. This is your journey. It is important that you select an agency that you feel comfortable with and one that will provide you with the support and assistance you need. Adoption STAR provides CONFIDENTIAL, UNBIASED and COMPASSIONATE information, support, expertise, and guidance. Contact us today.