How to Adopt or Gain Custody of Siblings

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“I would like to know how to go about getting custody of a younger sibling, I live in Idaho and the child in question is in Wyoming.

I am 20 years of age, financially stable and completely supporting myself. I am also a child of the foster care system, and was adopted when I was in the Fourth Grade. I lived with my biological mother until I was three, until her then boyfriend beat me so severely that I had to be hospitalized. I was then put in foster care, and she was given certain terms to live by in order to regain full custody of me, i.e. becoming financially stable, staying away from the abusive boyfriend, staying clean. My mother however, was unable to live up to these standards, and ended up losing full custody of me.

I have a younger brother, the fruit of my biological mother and abusive boyfriend. Because of excessive drug use, my brother was for a short time placed in foster care with me. I believe that the incident that incurred the action was when my mother was arrested for a DUI with my brother in the backseat of the car. I don’t know how, but she ended up getting my brother back, until a few years after that incident, he burned down their home. He was left alone, while my mother and her boyfriend went out to the bar. My brother was 8. After that, he was placed in the custody of his father’s parents, where he stayed until they sent him to a boy’s home.

During that time, my mother has been on and off of drugs, always saying that she is cleaning up and moving on with her life, but it never lasts. She recently spent two years in jail, for robbery, and taking drugs into jail. While she was in jail, she met a man who was also in jail, who she is now living with, and has had a child with him. As much as I would like to think that she has cleaned up and has gotten her life straightened out, I don’t think that it will last.

Her history of being a mother is very clouded, with bad decisions. She has always put herself before the child. It is clear to me that this child will not be raised in a safe environment.

Do I have’ a chance of getting custody? And if so, what would be the best way of obtaining custody?”As long as your mother has custody, and does not give her consent to you adopting your sibling, and does not mess up, you will not be able to adopt your sibling. She will need to voluntarily cede her custodial rights, or such rights will need to be taken away by the state. There are adoption support services in Idaho where they may be able to give you a better answer. You can always also try to get a consultation with an attorney skilled in that area. Also, people with child services might be able to point you in a good direction or to a sympathetic attorney who would at least be able to sit down.

Question: Many states have emancipation statutes that would allow a child to emancipate from a parent (your mother) upon meeting certain requirements. If your brother is interested in this, have him begin to explore how he might do this. At that point you can be together.
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