You most likely didn’t think you would be raising children in your retirement. But if you are, you are not alone. According to the AARP, in the United States, about 3 million grandparents currently are raising their grandchildren. Often, grandparents are stepping in if their grandchild’s parents can’t care for the child: the parents struggle with drug addiction, they are incarcerated, they abandoned their child or they both passed away.

Is adoption the right choice?

Adoption legally severs a child’s relationship to their parents. If you feel that at some point your grandchildren’s mother or father will be able to care for them, then adoption wouldn’t be the right choice. Your custody of your grandchild or grandchildren is a temporary situation.

Also, if you want to adopt your grandchild, it will be easier if their biological mother and father have agreed to terminate their rights. Otherwise, you may need to first establish custody or guardianship of the child. If your grandchild is 12, he or she also will need to consent to the adoption.

What are the benefits?

If you feel adopting your grandchildren is the best choice for them, it does have benefits. Those include the following:

  • It will give them long-term stability. They won’t have to shuffle back and forth between caregivers or parents who are unfit.
  • It will allow you to name a guardian for your grandchild in your will. You may not live to see your grandchild become an adult and you may want a say in who should raise them if you pass away.
  • It may allow you additional state benefits. If you are retired and on Social Security, your grandchild may receive benefits from the state. They may qualify for state assistance for health care or other aid.
  • If you adopt your grandchild out of foster care, the adoption costs may be paid for or the child may receive additional financial benefits.

You always should consult a family law attorney about adopting your grandchild or grandchildren. Each situation is different. You want to be sure adoption is the best choice for you and your grandkids.