In many homes, a loving step parent may be the only mother or father a child knows and plays a significant and needed role in these child(ren)’s lives. In some cases, the next step for these families is for the step parent to legally adopt the child as their own. This grants the step parent legal parental rights. It allows the step parent to help make decisions for the child. These adoptions become particularly important should the unexpected occur. If something were to happen to the biological parent, legally the child would be given to the other biological parent (even if they are not involved), the next biological relative or even the State, rather than the step parent who has been a parental figure the child’s entire life. A step parent who does not adopt his stepchildren would not be able to obtain custody or have any parental rights and he or she would not be guaranteed any contact with the child.