Relative Adoptions are the most preferred type of adoption, because the child/children get to stay with their biological family. It's important to keep contact with the bio family - knowing where you come from, your family's values, morals, and traditions, your medical history - it all shapes who you are as a person.
Did you know that 81% of kids who age out of foster care will contact their biological families at least 1 time a week? Imagine how much contact you would have if you were adopted by a relative. Staying with your family means you have more opportunities to develop and continue a good, positive relationship with your bio family. (This does not mean that if you are adopted by a foster parent or other family that you won't be allowed to have contact with your bio family! Foster parents and Recruited families are all encouraged to continue contact with the child's bio family, but in no adoption is it required - even with Relative adoptions.)
What do relatives have to do to adopt a child who's parental rights have been terminated?
Relatives who want to adopt have to go through the same family assessment (also known as a homestudy) as foster parents. They have to complete PRIDE training classes, have background and fingerprinting checks done on them, and they have to be committed to providing a permanent and loving home for the child.
Why do some relatives only want to do Guardianship instead of Adoption?
Sometimes relatives don't want to do adoption because it will change the legal relationship you have with them - it will make them the child's parent instead of whatever the biological relationship is. For example, if your Aunt adopts you, you'll legally be her child once the adoption is finalized. Biologically, you'll still be her niece or nephew, but legally you'll be her son or daughter. Sometimes relatives don't want that change, so they agree to Guardianship
“Adoption is an important role in society today among many children and families. It shows a way of love and acceptance. In my experience, I was adopted by relatives with my sister which I feel decreased the amount of problems we might have had compared to children who are not adopted by relatives. Although our stay in the foster care system wasn’t as troubling as others, I still understand and seek to help the needs of foster care and adoptive children. I’m hoping to change and reshape the way we look, feel, act, and think towards foster care.”
- Ricco, age 18