SCOTLAND must reform family law to allow parents to adopt adults, a campaigner has insisted, as he launches a formal bid to change an act of parliament.

Nathan Sparling, 27, is pressing MSPs to help overhaul the legal system in order to be adopted by his stepfather Brian - a move to make him his legal parent that is prohibited under Scots Law.

The Scottish Government said it was reviewing adoption procedures and would examine Mr Sparling’s proposals to expand the age limit for adoption.

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Currently laws prevent the adoption of adults over the age of 18

Mr Sparling - who did not know his biological father and has changed his surname to that of his stepfather - said an amendment to existing legislation was needed to include those over the age of 18.

He said: “This week I wrote to my MSPs asking them to support an amendment to the Adoption & Children (Scotland) Act 2007 to allow parents to adopt their children after they turn 18.

“Having been brought up by my Mum until the age of 13, my step-dad came into my life and raised me as his own.

“I’ll never call another dad, yet he can’t adopt me because of our law that prohibits it.

“There are many reasons for adult adoption: the transfer of inheritance rights, restoring an original relationship between adult adoptees and their biological family, or simply formalising the relationship of a step-child/step-parent.”

Adult adoption is legal in a number of countries including the US and Canada.

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In Germany, there is no upper age limit for adoption, but the adopt of an adult requires moral reasons as justification to prevent misuse of this institution.

In Japan, adult-adoption is used as a way to ensure family businesses survive when there are no heirs to take over.

Mr Sparling, who works as Head of Policy & Campaigning at national policy charity HIV Scotland, said that many people may not be comfortable with the adoption process until they are much older.

He said that it was only after his younger brothers were born four and half years ago that he wanted to formally be adopted by his stepfather.

He said: “Adoption is a big decision for people on both sides, whether it’s the step-parent or step-child, and being forced into making that decision before you’re 18 does seem quite arbitrary and not something that I’m sure a lot of people are comfortable with.”

“There doesn’t seem to be a realistic opposition to that change.”

He added: “I truly believe that step-parents play a vital role in the development of Scotland’s young people, they step up to the mark when others have withdrawn and bring their wisdom and experience to the front. “

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A spokesman said that the Scottish Government was “improving the procedures, services and support around adoption and permanence to ensure that Scotland has a modern, responsive and child-centred adoption system.

He said: “We will look into what is being proposed.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Labour will always consider changes to make the law fairer, and will listen to proposals from this campaign.”