Adult Adoptions FAQs

What is an adult adoption?

Adult adoption is the adoption of a person who is of legal age (18+ years) and who voluntarily agrees to be adopted.

Can grown adults be legally adopted?

YES. Many states allow adult adoptions, including Oklahoma. However, the law varies from state to state and country to country. The UK, for example, does not allow adult adoptions, while countries like Canada, Germany, and Japan do. In the U.S., the majority of states allow adult adoptions. Still, some come with restrictions regarding the age of the adult person being adopted and the age range between the adoptee and the adoptive parent. In Oklahoma, there are no restrictions on which adults can be adopted.

How do adults get adopted?

Adult adoptions are governed at the state level, so each state has its own process and forms to complete an adoption. In Oklahoma, you file a petition with the court and have a hearing in front of a judge for final approval.

Why do adults want to be adopted?

There are several reasons for adult adoption. The 3 most common are:

  1. A pre-existing relationship between a child and a step-parent has existed for quite some time but is still not legally recognized as the parent and child. Most want to solidify and recognize this close bond they have developed over the years by adopting lawfully.
  2. Someone who is over 18 with a diminished capacity to care for themselves can be adopted by another adult to ensure long-term care for that person. It can allow them to be covered under the family health insurance and make sure they receive an inheritance from the adoptive parent to continue that care.
  3. Adoptions ensure a right to inheritance from the adoptive parent’s estate. It legally recognizes that there is a parent/child relationship which allows inheritance according to state law.

What are the benefits of being adopted as an adult?

There are several benefits to being adopted as an adult. The 3 most common are:

  1. Adoption solidifies your relationship by legally recognizing the close bond you have developed over the years. You can legally call yourselves parent and child.
  2. Adoption allows you to maintain long-term care for another adult with diminished capacity, enables you to cover them under your family health insurance, and ensures they receive an inheritance from you to continue that care.
  3. According to state law, it legally recognizes that there is a parent/child relationship that allows you to inherit from your adoptive parent.

When you are adopted, does your birth certificate change?

Only if you want it to. There is no requirement that your birth certificate change with your adoption. However, if you change your name as part of the adoption, you may also change your birth certificate. The decision is entirely up to you. Once the adoption is finalized, you may submit the request to the Oklahoma Department of Health separately. The court does not do this for you. If you don’t want your birth certificate to change, simply do not submit anything to the Oklahoma Department of Health.

Can I adopt my adult grandson, nephew, etc.?

YES. There are many occasions when someone has taken on the role of parent for a child that is their grandchild, nephew, etc., and now that child is an adult. As long as the adult you are adopting gives their consent, there is no restriction on who you can adopt in Oklahoma. Every state has its own adoption laws, so there may be a restriction prohibiting this if you live somewhere other than Oklahoma.

Can I adopt someone who is older than me?

YES. As long as the adult you are adopting gives their consent, there is no age restriction on who you can adopt in Oklahoma, even if they are older than you. There may be restrictions preventing this in other states as every state has its own adoption laws.

Can I change my last name if I am adopted as an adult?

YES, but it is not required. If the adult being adopted wants their last name changed to match their adoptive parent, they can do so and even have their birth certificate changed as well.

Does the Court ever reject adult adoptions?

SOMETIMES. All adoptions require final approval from a judge. In Oklahoma, if a judge believes the adoption is somehow being used for a fraudulent purpose or, in the judge’s opinion, it is not in the parties’ best interest, the judge may deny the adoption. Likewise, some restrictions vary from state to state. So it is crucial to know the laws of the state you wish to adopt in.