I want to adopt my niece and nephew. Where should I start? If their mom would let me have all the parental rights, what are the next steps?
It is wonderful that your are interested in adoption within your family. If your sister is willing to terminate her parental rights, you will now need to talk to the birthfather and find out if he is willing to terminate his parental rights. Even if he is not involved with his children his rights still need to be legally terminated in order for an adoption to take place.
If the birthfather does not agree to the adoption, it is not possible to proceed with an adoption. It is difficult to terminate the parental rights of a birthparent who is not willing even if they do not provide support or visit with their child.
If both birthparents are willing to terminate their parental rights the first step you need to take is to have a home study done. This determines if your home is a safe emotional and physical space for a child. The home study includes a criminal background check. It is done by a social worker, and is a required part of any adoption in the United States. The next step is the termination of the birthparents rights, and then there is required post-placement supervision of the adoption by a social worker. The last step is when you go to court to finalize the adoption
The best first step after talking to the birthparents is to contact an adoption agency in your state. The entire process is likely to cost between $6,000 and $8,000.