Along with the requirements for adoptions found here (insert link), there are a few categories of people who are not allowed to adopt in Tennessee. This is designed with the best interest of the child in mind.
Who May Not Adopt?
- One person of a married couple can not adopt without the other spouse adopting as well.
- Two unmarried people can not adopt the same child. (Example: Adult raised by foster mother would like for the foster mother and a biological uncle to be her legal parents. Unless the foster mother and uncle are married to one another, this is not possible.
- Sometimes a single parent, usually a mother, will want one of her relatives to adopt the child, terminating the birth father’s rights, but without terminating her own rights. While this may sometimes be in the best interest of the child, the requirement that both parents’ rights be terminated before adoption only excepts step parent adoptions, and therefore the desired adoption is not allowed.
- A non-related person without a home study.
- Dead people (Sometimes a grandmother, for example, will adopt and want her deceased husband included in the action. This is not allowed.)
Who Is A “Relative?”
Some of these limitations bring us to the question of who is a “relative?” Tennessee law tells us that “related” means grandparents or any degree of great-grandparents, aunts or uncles, or any degree of great-aunts or great-uncles, or stepparent, or cousins of the first degree or any siblings of the whole or half-degree or any spouse of the above listed relatives. If you are unsure whether you fall into this category, our office is happy to look at your family tree and let you know (it can get confusing)!