I’m a young mother living in Ireland with my husband and two children. In January 2015 I completed the process of adopting my son through step parent adoption. We began our application in December 2012. This blog describes our experience with the current system in place.
Why did we make the decision to adopt our son through step parent adoption?
Our main reason for undergoing this process was to secure my son’s place with his father. My husband is not my son’s biological father. If I died, my husband would not have automatic custody of my son despite being his second parent since birth. Because he is not the biological father, there is no legal link between them. The only way to secure our child’s place in our family was through the adoptive process. Under Irish law, one person within a marriage cannot adopt a child. Even though I am my son’s biological and birth mother, I had to adopt him alongside my husband. I am no longer his birth mother. I am now my son’s adoptive mother. Confused? So were we.
The second reason for adopting our son was to ensure that we had more control over what happened if his biological father were to reappear and wanted a relationship with him. Although a biological father has no automatic rights in Ireland, he can still apply for access, guardianship or even custody at any time before the child’s eighteenth birthday. Despite not making contact since my son’s birth four years ago, the biological father would still have these options open to him without stepparent adoption in place. A solicitor advised us that in a scenario where I was taken to court to access, the law often favours biological fathers and I could be coerced into allowing this man to take my child for a specified length of time each week. Because of the absence of contact to date, I would not trust that this person has my son’s best interests at heart. I would therefore be uncomfortable in a situation where I had no choice with regard to his involvement in my son’s life. Step parent adoption permanently severs the legal link between the biological father and son. The biological father relinquishes all potential rights and financial responsibilities. His consent is required for this step of the process.
It has been a scary, infuriating path, but writing about the experience is helping.
More information about stepparent adoption in Ireland can be found here
If you’d like to get in touch, please drop me a line at adoptingmyownson.at.hotmail.com