Kinship Adoption: The Secret to Keeping Your Family Together!


There are countless families across the United States where relatives, such as grandparents, aunts, or uncles, step in to care for their young relatives. Grandparents often care for their grandchildren, while aunts and uncles might look after their nieces or nephews. These families often don’t realize the significance of making these caregiving relationships legal. In this blog post, I’ll explain what kinship adoption is and why it’s crucial for families.

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What is Kinship Adoption?

Kinship adoption, also known as relative adoption, occurs when a relative adopts another relative. Common scenarios include grandparents adopting their grandchildren or aunts and uncles adopting their nieces or nephews. This often happens when the child’s parents are unavailable due to addiction, unfitness, or abandonment.

Relatives usually step in because it’s the right thing to do—they love their relatives and want to provide the best care possible. However, many families don’t understand how essential it is to establish a legal relationship with the child.

Why Legal Relationships Matter

When a child comes into your home, it’s crucial to have the legal right to care for them. Without this, the child’s parent remains the legal guardian, meaning only they can enroll the child in school, take them to the doctor, and make other important decisions. As a relative caregiver without a legal relationship, you lack these rights.

Establishing a legal relationship, such as through guardianship or adoption, is particularly important if you’ve been caring for the child for years. In this post, we’ll focus on the importance of adoption.

A Real-Life Example

To illustrate why kinship adoption is so important, let me share a story. A few years ago, I spoke with a grandmother who had been caring for her grandson since he was a year old. The child’s mother was dealing with addiction, homelessness, and frequent incarcerations. The mother had voluntarily allowed the grandmother to care for the child.

Fast forward to when the child was four years old. The mother was released from jail and decided she wanted her child back. She showed up at the grandmother’s house with the police and took the child. The grandmother was distraught. She had been the child’s primary caregiver for four years, but because she hadn’t established a legal relationship, the mother could take the child at any time.

This scenario could happen to any family member caring for a child without a legal relationship. Even after years of providing care, the biological parents can reclaim the child whenever they choose.

The Benefits of Kinship Adoption

Kinship adoption offers permanency and stability for the child. It’s not just about legal rights—it’s about giving the child a stable, permanent home. In the story I shared, the grandson’s life was uprooted because his grandmother hadn’t secured legal guardianship or adoption. By legally adopting a child, you ensure they have a stable, secure environment, which is vital for their well-being.

While guardianship is an option, adoption provides a more permanent solution. It allows you to make crucial decisions for the child and provides them with the security of knowing they have a forever home.


Kinship adoption is essential for providing stability and permanency to children in the care of their relatives. If you are a relative caring for a child, seriously consider establishing a legal relationship through adoption or guardianship.

Click this link to schedule a consultation with our law office to adopt your relative. We are here to help you navigate this important process.