Grandparents or other family members often step into the role of primary caregiver when the biological parents are unable or unwilling. Obtaining custody of the child may be the first step in this process.
In Tennessee, the term “related” is defined as grandparents (and any degree of great-grandparents), aunts or uncles (and any degree of great-aunts or great-uncles), stepparent, first cousins, or any sibling or half sibling, as well as any spouse of these relatives.
A final decree of adoption means that the relationship between the primary caregiver and the child becomes the legal relationship of parent and child, providing the security of a permanent, stable home. If the circumstances or desire of the biological parents change, the child is not subjected to legal battles over custody or visitation.
Typically with relative adoptions, when the adoption is complete, nothing changes for the child. They continue to be raised by a loving, committed relative. However, in the eyes of the law, everything is different. The birth certificate is changed to reflect the legal relationship of parent and child. All of the rights and responsibilities of parents are granted to the adoptive parents, including the child’s” physical, emotional, educational, and medical care.