Can I Adopt a Younger Sibling? 

The short answer is yes, provided the person doing the adopting is an adult and meets the other standard qualifications. Adoption by sibling falls under the category of adoption by a relative, also known as a kinship adoption. Generally, adoption agencies do like to keep families together, so kinship adoptions are encouraged whenever possible.

Situations which may give necessitate adoption by an older sibling

Sadly, the most common reason for an adoption by an older sibling is due to the death of both parents. Other reasons an older sibling might consider an adoption of a younger sibling include:

  • Parental incarceration
  • Incapacity due to physical problems such as a disease
  • Unfitness because a parent is addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • Abusiveness by the parent
  • An inability to provide for the child

Generally, if one or both biological parents are living, the sibling seeking adoption will also need to either obtain a formal consent from the living parent(s) or seek to terminate the rights of the parent(s).

The eligibility requirements

Siblings who wish to adopt a younger child:

  • Must be a resident of Tennessee.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Must be able to show an ability to provide for and take care of the child – emotionally and physically.
  • Should have a place for the child to live – either an apartment or a home.

The siblings can have children of their own (or not), and be single, married, or divorced. If the older sibling is married, then the spouse of that sibling will be required to adopt the younger sibling, too.

A sibling who works full time needs to consider if there will be someone home for the child when the child finishes school. A lot depends on the age of the child being adopted.

Typically, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services will conduct a formal “home study.” A skilled lawyer will guide the older sibling through the home study process. Any convictions for criminal offenses will be considered, but they generally don’t automatically mean the adoption application will be denied.

Practical considerations

Some of the factors than can affect the decision to adopt are:

  • Whether there are any other relatives such as grandparents or aunts and uncles who could adopt.
  • The age and life status of the older sibling. If a sibling is going to school or just starting a new job, then another relative may be more logical. If there is no other living relative or the living relatives don’t wish to adopt, then the child should seek help from friends and relatives in taking care of the child.
  • It may be an option to place the younger child with a family that wishes to adopt the child.

If tragedy strikes and you need to adopt a sibling because your parents have died, the experienced family lawyers at the Law Office of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates are ready to help you through this difficult time for you and your brothers and sisters. If you need to adopt a younger sibling for any other reason, we’ll explain the adoption process and guide you through it.  We’ve been helping families since 1991. To schedule an appointment, call us at 615-977-9370 or fill out our contact form. We represent siblings, relatives, spouses, and children who live in Franklin, Columbia and Brentwood and the surrounding Tennessee areas.