I'm trying to adopt my girlfriend of 4 years' oldest children. How long would it take to do so?

It is hard to say how long it will take to adopt your girlfriend's children. There are several steps you will need to take:

1. You must terminate the rights of the birthfather. You cannot adopt a child who has a father unless their parental rights are legally terminated. Unless the birthfather agrees to voluntarily terminate his rights, there is no way to do so, unless the state decides he is an unfit father.

2. If you are able to terminate the birthfather's rights, you will need to have a home study done to determine if you will provide a safe emotional and physical space for a child. The home study is done by a social worker.

3. After the placement either the state or an adoption agency will need to supervise the placement for six months.

4. After the post-placement supervision period you can go to court and finalize the adoption

These steps usually take about 12 months. In addition, you will need to work with an adoption agency or an adoption attorney to terminate the birthfather's rights, complete a home study, complete post-placement supervision, and go to court to finalize the adoption. This can cost from about $8,000 to $20,000.