I was volunteering as lawyer of the day in court last week and a very nice gentleman came in and asked for advice about adopting his niece. I asked him a bunch of questions and determined that pursuing a guardianship was probably the best option for him. The biggest difference between adoption and guardianship is that adoption is permanent. The implications of this are that the biological parents can never come back to regain their parental rights. Let’s say for instance that you have a situation with teenagers who have a child that they are struggling to take care of and they need help. If they voluntarily turn over guardianship, the guardian has all of the full parental rights but the biological parents are able to come back and regain their parental rights when and if their circumstances change. This is not possible with an adoption.
It’s really important to seek legal advice from an attorney who has experience in these matters so that they can fully and accurately evaluate what exactly the client needs.