What are Relative Adoptions in Oklahoma?

Adoption under any circumstance is an emotionally and mentally challenging process. Our OKC family law attorneys and our entire team do everything possible to simplifying the process and remove as much stress as possible for you. Relative adoptions are unique and come with complex legal issues that must be handled in the right way in order to save you time, headache, and money. 

In some respects relative adoptions in Oklahoma are easier than non-relative adoptions; however, we have seen a wide variety of challenges during relative adoptions for our clients that we use to streamline the process for every adoption client our team has the privilege of serving. Our OKC adoption attorneys are here to answer your questions and address all of your concerns related to relative adoptions in Oklahoma. We hope this page answers many of your questions concerning 

A grandma and grandpa with their granddaughter.


Please find free resources available on our website and our YouTube page.  Also, you may call us anytime 405-591-3935 for a free confidential case strategy sessions to have your Oklahoma adoption questions answered. 

OKC Adoption Attorneys for Relative Adoption

Your Fierce Advocates® at Cannon and Associates are dedicated to serving you throughout your adoption in Oklahoma. Our OKC adoption attorneys use our collective experience to make the process as stress free as possible for you.

Many parts of the relative adoption are predictable and we can forecast much of what you will except along the road to adoption in Oklahoma; however, every case has its own unique challenges. Our OKC adoption attorneys and our entire team are dedicated to making the process as smooth and stress free as possible for you and your entire family. 

A step-dad hugging his step-son.

What is Relative Adoption in Oklahoma?

A relative adoption is any adoption between the birth parents and any biological family member or family member by marriage. Kinship adoption is another term for relative adoptions. The concept behind both relative adoptions and kinship adoptions in Oklahoma is that the child is raised by a member of the birth parent’s family. 

Relative adoptions and kinship adoptions do not require the use of an adoption agency; however, you do need to work with an experienced OKC adoption attorney to ensure all the legal elements of the process are done correctly. 

What concerns go along with Relative Adoptions?

Relative adoptions come with their own unique issues. The children of a relative adoption, just like all adoptions, are blameless and should not be included in the drama or issues that come with relative adoptions. Children in relative adoptions are often in the middle of the issues causing the relative adoption to occur, but every step available should be taken to make the transition as stress free on the children as possible. 

The Oklahoma adoption laws related to relative adoptions are specific and require accurate application of the law in order to complete a lawfully enforceable adoption in Oklahoma.  

When do Relative Adoption happen?

In Oklahoma, relative adoptions typically stem from the incapacitation of the birth parents. Although tragic, relative adoptions exist to correct the loss of birth parents’ abilities to care for their children. In these highly emotional adoptions, it is important to work with experienced Oklahoma adoption lawyers to ensure that all parties’ privacy and rights are protected. 

Relative adoptions in Oklahoma also come as a result of the birth mother or birth parents deciding to give up their child to a relative. Some people cannot fathom parents giving up parental rights to their children. However, there are many circumstances that cause parents to give up their child in a relative adoption: 

  1. Relative adoptions give birth parents a greater chance of having a relationship or communication with their child, which often makes the idea of giving up a child easier to process.
  2. Relative adoptions are a brave act by a birth parent that is unable to properly care for or support a child. The existence of a relationship between the birth parent(s) and the family member reduces many of the concerns inherent in giving a child up for adoption in Oklahoma.
  3. Relative adoptions often come as some version of an “open” adoption, which means communication between the birth parent and adoptive parents is agreed upon and the birth parent has rights to communication with their child after the adoption is finalized. 

Is Relative Adoption right for me?

There are few decisions more difficult to make than giving up your parental rights for the benefit of your child. We have seen many selfless parents recognize their inability to be the primary caregiver for a child and have subsequently exercised relative adoption for their benefit of their child. 

You are encouraged to reach out to our office and speak to our OKC adoption lawyers for more information about whether relative adoption is the right choice for you and your child. It is a courageous act to place your child in a home that will give them a better life. We would be glad to walk you through the process.

Permanent placement or adoption with a relative or a person with a kinship relationship is the first option for many families considering adoption. Although placing a child for adoption in Oklahoma is a permanent action, even in relative adoptions or kinship adoptions, it often provides more connection for the birth parents and a means for the child to have a relationship or connect with his or her birth parents if they choose to later on in life. 

Grandparents filling out adoption paperwork.

What are the Steps to adopt a family member in Oklahoma?

As stated above, the decision to place your child up for adoption is never an easy choice. Many adoption placements come as a result of the parents being unable to care for their child, either physically, emotionally, mentally, or financially. Relative adoptions are highly charged emotionally and working with an experienced OKC adoption attorney is the best first step to ensure as peaceful as possible a process to completing adoption in Oklahoma. The following is a basic overview of the steps to adopt a family member in Oklahoma:

I. Planning for Adoption in Oklahoma

  1. Family Effects: relative adoptions or kinship adoptions do provide many benefits, including the potential for a continued connection between the child and birth parents. However, the dynamics of each specific family should be considered in evaluating, if a relative adoption is right for your family. Allegiance towards the child or the birth parents or the adoptive parents can cause a wide range of stressors on the family dynamics. When the child is old enough to have a relationship with the birth parents, it may make it more difficult on the child to be aware of the birth parents’ close relationship and feelings of separation and abandonment are common. It is important to consider these issues and possibly take advantage of family counseling resources prior to entering into a kinship adoption or relative adoption in Oklahoma. 
  2. Is Adoption the Right Choice: several options are available in every adoption or parental rights situation in Oklahoma. You and your family should seek the advice of an OKC family law attorney or OKC adoption attorney before committing to a specific course of action. Custody or legal placement are an option in Oklahoma, i.e. transferring physical and/or legal custody of the child for a period of time without terminating parental rights of the birth parents. Additionally, there are a wide variety of guardianship options in Oklahoma, which you can explore with an experienced OKC family law attorney prior to committing to adoption. 
  3. Know Adoption Rights: you are welcome to schedule a free adoption planning meeting with our team to learn about your rights related to adoption in Oklahoma. However, until we have the opportunity to meet it is important to know that blood relatives have special rights related to adopting a relative. These rights apply to adoptions involving children in state custody, children surviving parents, or adoption proceedings when no guardianship is in place. Federal laws require agencies to keep siblings together to the extent possible, plus blood relatives can seek “interested party” status, which will give you access to legal documents during the adoption process. 
  4. Research Adoption: again, there are few greater acts of selflessness than taking it upon your family to care for a child until they reach adulthood. However, you still need to research the financial issues and other implications associated with adopting a child, even a relative. Oklahoma has programs and resources to provide resources to adoptive parents, even adoptive parents of relative adoptions. You should take full advantage of these resources and our OKC adoption lawyers would be glad to guide you to the resources available to help you through the process. The IRS also provides an “adoption tax credit”, which every adoptive family should take advantage of in your adoption.
  5. Meet with a Family Lawyer: kinship adoptions of relative adoptions are often more complex legally than non-relative adoptions, which is why it is so important to work with an experienced OKC adoption lawyer. The issues involved in a kinship adoption are often left unresolved at the conclusion of the adoption process, which may lead to the birth parent seeking to terminate the adoption and re-establish parental rights. It is crucial to ensure the legal documents creating the adoption are done correctly, so that they will protect your parental rights should one of the birth parents decide to contest the adoption years from now. All that to say, it is not wise to do a kinship adoption without an attorney.

II. Adoption Court Process in Oklahoma

  1. Filing Adoption in Court: your OKC adoption attorney will draft, review with you, and file all necessary adoption pleadings with the appropriate district court. An initial hearing will be scheduled, which provides the birth parents an opportunity to file a response or objection to the adoption proceeding. However, when both birth parents consent to the adoption proceeding, they will sign notarized affidavits swearing to their decision and that they are of sound mind when they made the decision to terminate their parental rights. 
  2. Adoption Agency Involvement: your OKC adoption attorney will need state agency approval, if the state is involved in your kinship adoption. When you and your OKC adoption attorney have a good working relationship with the social worker on your case, it greatly improves the process. The adoption agency will have documents necessary for the adoption, which your OKC adoption lawyer can help gather to present in court. There is no privacy related to your social worker or case worker when the adoption process begins, which is one reason why it is important to work with a trusted adoption law firm to vent and get answers to questions about your case worker. 
  3. Evaluate Consent for Adoption: your Oklahoma adoption attorney can assist in the difficult conversations related to adoption, if needed, but it is important to speak with the birth parents about consent to adoption. Consensus or at least communication between the involved family members is best when possible in a relative adoption. We are glad to assist to the extent possible in an effort to sever parental rights by agreement or consent adoption. Alternatively, we are ready to fight as Your Fierce Advocates® if a contested adoption is necessary.
  4. Work with your Adoption Attorney: you will likely be required to provide a wide variety of documents and submit to a number of questions and assessments during the adoption process in Oklahoma. Your Oklahoma adoption attorney is your trusted ally in the adoption process and can be relied upon to answer your difficult questions and help you build a plan to address problems with adoption prior to notifying the court or your social worker. Additionally, if you have an appointed adoption attorney you still have the ability to communicate with them in confidence. 
A mom hugging her kids.

III. Finalize Your Oklahoma Adoption

  1. Attend Adoption Hearings: your Oklahoma adoption attorney will notify you of all necessary court appearances and may be able to appear for you at a number of hearings prior to the final adoption hearing. The first substantive hearing on your adoption in Oklahoma occurs after all necessary parties have received notice of the adoption proceeding. The birth parents’ presence may be waived by the judge over your adoption, if they have consented to the adoption. However, the birth parents or other family may appear to contest the adoption; when or if this occurs, it is one of the more difficult events to experience, which is why it is so important to work with an experienced Oklahoma adoption attorney that you trust to be by your side and guide you through the process. 
  2. Prepare for an adoption trial: most adoptions are uncontested and all the parties involved agree to the arrangement and the Court simply enters orders to legitimate the decision to have an adoption. However, trial is always a possibility and will occur, if the birth parents or a family member with standing contests the adoption. Birth parents can rescind consent before termination of parental rights, also other family members can contest the adoption. It is in your interest to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. By working with an experienced Oklahoma adoption attorney from the beginning of the process, you are as prepared as you can be for any problem that arises during the adoption process. 
  3. Attend Final Adoption Hearing: your final adoption hearing is one the most memorable events in your family’s history. The state, through the case worker, will typically attend and attest to their approval of the adoption. The judge will speak to you and your adoption attorney. The court will acknowledge the birth parents’ consent to the adoption or enter a ruling as to the adoption, if contested. Upon signing the adoption order, you are legally your child’s parents!
  4. Update Birth Certificate: once you have a file stamped copy of the final adoption court order, you or your Oklahoma adoption attorney can file for a new birth certificate for your child, which will allow you to obtain a new social security card and all other documents for your child with your last name. 
  5. Create Safety Plan: unlike non-relative adoptions, kinship adoptions often involve one or both birth parents being in your child’s life after the adoption in finalized. Although most kinship adoptions are healthy and happy, it is important to be prepared for frequent problems that arise in relative adoptions. You should ensure the child’s school and extracurricular activities understand that the birth parents’ rights have been terminated. You should inform school and organizations your child participate in who can and access records and who can pick up your child. Protect your child from the birth parents, if substances or other concerns arise. Remember, once the adoption is finalized, you are the child’s parent(s) in the eyes of the law and decide what is best and what is safe for your child. Although it is best to avoid if possible, restraining orders are a tool you may consider, if problems continue. Our office handles protective orders and restraining orders in Oklahoma
  6. Love Your Child: once your adoption is finalized, you have the rest of your life to be a loving parent to your child. You have made the decision to give one of the greatest gifts a person can provide, be proud and own the responsibility of guiding your child to adulthood and hopefully becoming a person you are proud to call your son or daughter. 


Your Fierce Advocates® at Cannon & Associates are dedicated to answering your questions and preparing you for the road to adoption in Oklahoma. We take pride in the responsibility of serving families seeking to adopt and would be glad to meet with you for a free adoption planning session.

CALL NOW 405-591-3935 for your free confidential adoption planning sessions to help you understand your circumstances and answer your questions about adoption in Oklahoma.

Cannon & Associates

Fierce Advocates®

For Families and Freedom

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