Many people ask me and will continue to ask me, if I plan to adopt another child. For me, personally, there was trauma when we went through adopting my first daughter, so we’ve decided one child is enough. However, I’ve often thought about adopting a teenager, and now, I’ve thought even more about adult adoption.
Though not as common as other adoption situations, adult adoption is legal, and many of the processes are the same from the court case, sealing of records, and even issuing a new birth certificate to the individual. But, the reasons can be different. Sometimes adult adoption is done for inheritance purposes as that makes it easier to leave financial assets or property, but in most instances, it’s done to formalize a relationship.
Cheri and her husband, Brian, who had already adopted a sibling group, felt that they could help a teen that had aged out of foster care. They were introduced to a 19-year-old named Ebony who was aging out and getting ready to leave for a summer semester in London. When her living situation fell through, they invited her to stay with them before she left.
“Ebony stayed with us before her trip, and while she was gone, she and I emailed back and forth every day and got to know each other. When she returned from her trip, she needed a place to stay until college started, so she lived with us for that time. We helped her move into the dorm and let her know she was welcome at Thanksgiving. She spent holidays and breaks with us. Eventually, it was like she’d always been a part of our family,” says Cheri.
When Ebony was 24, Cheri and Brian asked her if she wanted to be adopted. They assured her that if she didn’t, it wouldn’t change the way they felt about her.
“She told us later that when she told someone at work that we were adopting her, they laughed at her and asked ‘Why? You’re an adult!’ Her response, ‘Everyone needs a family.’”
Ebony was legally adopted when she was 25. According to Cheri, the legal process was simple because she was an adult, and there were no parental rights to terminate.
“She signed the papers herself. I worked in law firms for 15 years and had prepared adoptions before, so I asked the attorney who had done our previous adoption if he would let me prepare the paperwork and then he could file it. It ended up only costing about $250 for his fees,” Cheri explains.
“Ebony has grown up knowing she could only rely on herself, and she doesn’t like to ask for anything. She owns her own home and has a clothing store as well as a few other side businesses. She is still getting used to asking us if she ever does need help with something. Every time she does call and ask for advice or help, my mama heart smiles inside because I know she’s secure enough with us to ask.”
For more information about adopting a teen or adult, reach out to local adoption agencies and adoption lawyers.