When a person is already caring for a child in his or her home for more than one year and that person already has guardianship or received allocation of parental responsibilities from a court, he or she can use custodial adoption to make the living situation permanent. Distant relatives, foster parents and other third-party caregivers can also pursue this type of adoption in these cases.
It’s important to note that there are some limits. The person who wishes to adopt must be at least 21. If he or she is married, both spouses must adopt jointly and meet the other criteria set by the state for adoptions. For a custodial adoption to be granted, the biological parents must either give their written consent or voluntarily terminate their parental rights in court, or the court must terminate those rights involuntarily. In a few situations, such as when both parents have passed away, the court-appointed guardian must give consent to a custodial adoption.