It is not uncommon for kids to end up in a home with one parent and a step-parent. The step-parent easily steps into the role of the absent parent, who may not be in the child’s life. When this happens, the situation often naturally progresses to where the step-parent wants to make the relationship legal and become the legal parent of the child. This requires you to go through a step-parent adoption.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly explains that step-parent adoption will allow you to adopt your step-child to get full parental rights. You have to go through the court because the adoption is a legal procedure. Part of the legal aspect of the case is getting the proper consent. You may need consent from a couple of people.
The court does require you to have the consent of your spouse. You also need the consent of the absent parent. He or she must give up his or her parental rights. The state only allows two parents maximum to have parental rights to a child, which is why you cannot legally adopt your step-child without having one parent lose his or her rights. In this case, the other parent either has to agree to give up his or her rights or the court will need to remove the rights.
If your step-child is age 12 or older, then you also must have his or her consent for the adoption. At this age, the law recognizes that the child has the right to be a part of this decision.