Adoption – An Overview
Adoption is the process of substituting one set of parents for another. After the adoption is complete, the new parents are the only parents recognized by the law and have the same rights and responsibilities as any other parents. If you are interested in building your family through adoption, contacting an adoption attorney who can help you to understand what options are available to you is a good place to start.
Forms of Adoption
There are several forms of adoption, some of which include the following:
- Stepparent Adoption: The most common type of adoption in which an adult married to the biological or adoptive parent of the child adopts the child to create a legal parent-child relationship.
- Open Adoption: An adoption in which the parties agree to some level of contact with birth parents after an adoption is completed. In some states, it is not possible to make any agreement for such post adoption contact legally enforceable.
- Closed Adoption: Traditional form of adoption in which the adoptive parents do not meet with the birth parent(s) and no identifying or other contact information is exchanged, although medical histories may be made available.
- Adult Adoption: The adoption of an adult 18 years or older. More common in a foster family relationship where the child may not have been available to adopt until after his or her 18th birthday. Adult adoptions are easier procedurally to complete than child adoptions, with shorter waiting periods and less state requirements (such as home studies). The biological parents are not required to consent to the adoption.
Termination of Parental Rights
Before a child can be adopted, the child’s legal ties to their birth parents must be severed. This process can be stressful for adoptive parents, who may worry that complications will increase the length of the process or prevent a successful adoption altogether.