The Pros and Cons of Kinship Adoption

Kinship adoption, also known as relative adoption, is where members of a family adoption the child of another member. This could be a grandparent adopting a grandchild or an aunt adopting a niece.  If you are thinking about adopting a relative’s child, read below to find out the pros and cons to consider and expect.



  1. Keeping a child within their biological family. Many people believe this is the strongest reason to consider kinship adoptions, also known as relative adoptions. It is important for many children of adoption to know that the family she was born into wanted her to stay a part of the family.
  2. Adoptive parents get to make final decisions about the child’s welfare. Adoption provides superior decision-making authority over guardianships or 3rd party custody situations because adoption is final.
  3. Family names. Name changes are often part of an adoption. Some adult adoptees believe this is can lead to a loss of culture and identity. In relative adoptions, sometimes the child’s last name stays the same.


  1. Visitation and contact is not guaranteed. Just because a child is raised by a relative, does not guarantee there will be any contact with the natural parents. Once the adoption is finalized, the decision on whether to allow visitation and contact is up to the adoptive parents. In many states, open adoptions are not legally enforceable.
  2.  Family roles change or become confusing. There are dual roles in relative adoptions. You could be a grandma and a mom. Although many people suspect this will be confusing for the child, it tends to be more difficult for the adults. Being honest and open to questions is the easiest way to keep problems at bay.
  3.  Amended birth certificate.  After an adoption the court issues an amended birth certificate naming the adoptive parents as the parents of the child and the original birth certificate is sealed. Although state laws are changing in this respect, many states will not allow the adoptee to obtain a copy of the original birth certificate.
 Read more about the Pros and Cons of Relative Adoption at
Tana Benner
Tana Benner is an adoption attorney with Columbia Family Law Group. Her practice is focused in the area of family law and she has particular interests in adoption and helping children and victims of domestic violence.