This is not a debated or murky point of Tennessee law. You just can. I do 2 or 3 adult adoptions a year and I have for decades.
See Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-1-117(j).
(1) When the person sought to be adopted is eighteen (18) years of age or older, only the sworn, written consent of the person sought to be adopted shall be required and no order of reference or any home studies need be issued.
Chapter 17 of Coppock on Tennessee Adoption Law, 7th Ed. is called, guess what? “Adult Adoptions.”
The law creates a legal relationship because the people have an existing emotional parent-child relationship and think their love is just that important.
At the hearing, the clients usually cry. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes even the judge and the bailiff cry.
It is a “real” adoption and the legal part is easy peasy, not just in Tennessee, but pretty much all over the U.S.
I don’t know anything at all about the case in the news. I just want to be sure that you know that if you want to adopt an adult, like a nephew, niece, stepchild, or former foster child, and they want to be adopted, have at it.
If you and your de facto parent or child want to make it legal, call your local adoption lawyer.
Dawn Coppock, Attorney
Strawberry Plains, TN