If you are in a second marriage and your new spouse has a son or daughter, the subject of adoption may come up. Is this a good idea? Is everyone in favor of it, including the child? Adoption is a big decision and should be considered carefully.

First, you must be comfortable with the relationship you have with the child. If that is on firm footing and you want to make him or her part of the family officially, a family law attorney can guide you through the adoption process.

Take it slow

Even if you have known your spouse’s child while you were dating, marriage may alter the friendly relationship you had at that time. Now that you have become another parent, the way the child reacts to you will largely depend on his or her age. Young children are much easier to bond with while adolescents, who are already transitioning out of childhood and dealing with new issues of their own, may become standoffish, even irritated by your parental status. Take it slow and let the child become accustomed to you in your new role.

Put their needs first

Too often, a new parent tries to use treats or gifts to curry favor with the stepchild. What the child really needs is love, affection, reassurance when necessary, and consistency in routine. When you build trust and provide emotional support, the child will feel cared for and secure, and good things will happen.

Putting a family together

The stepparent and stepchild come from different backgrounds, of course. There are past histories, different social experiences, ongoing attachments and many other hurdles to get over. However, the desire to make a successful blended family is often very strong. When it begins to come together, it might be time for you to meet with your attorney. Family life is the gift your new marriage brings to you and your stepchild.