Adoption procedure and family law

Adoption is an act or process where a person assumes the parenting for someone or something. In doing so, the person legally and permanently shifts all responsibilities, duties, and rights, from the biological parent(s) or owner, to himself or herself. In family law, the legal process establishes a parent-child relationship between individuals who have no blood relations. All legal rights, obligations, and duties between the adopted child and his or her biological parents terminate upon completion of the adoption process. Exceptions on this do exist in some states, where the obligation to pay delinquent child support payments still remains on the biological parents.

Adoption procedure varies depending on whether the child or thing to be adopted comes through a stranger, a relative, or an agency, which handles adoptions. The age of the child and that of the adoptive parent(s), among other factors, is a point of consideration during the adoption process. In the case of adoption of an adult, the adopting party usually must be several years older, based on the state law. There is usually a hearing before the local court judge in the final legal steps for adoption, upon which an adoption order made. After the approval of adoption by a court, the parent(s) receives an official decree. In most states, a birth certificate may be issued indicating the adoptive parent(s) as the legal parent(s). Every county has its own adoption law. Generally, one has to be an adult, and must be fit to parent the adopted child. The adopting parent(s) do not have to be married, although, it is usually difficult for same-sex partners, single parent(s) or unmarried couples to adopt. Most adoption agencies often view married couples as being more competent for adoptions (

Western countries have a long history of adoption, but over the years, its use and importance has changed considerably. Its focus shifted from inheritance issues, and moved toward family creation, children, and adult adoption. Its structure has been moved from the recognition of continuity of the male line between the adopted, and channeled toward allowing relationships of lessened intensity. Modern systems of adoption tend to be governed and mandated by statutes, positions, and comprehensive regulation, unlike the ancient adoptions, which put emphasis on the economical, religious, and political interests of the adopter.

The forms of adoption can broadly be classified as open and closed adoptions. In open adoption, identifying information is usually allowed to be shared communicated freely, between the biological and adoptive parent(s), interaction between the adopted person and his or her kin is also allowed. Open adoption can be either formal or an informal arrangement. In the formal agreement, the adoptive and biological parent(s) may sign legally binding and law enforceable agreements regarding exchange of and information, visitation, or any other interactions regarding the child. The informal agreement is subject to termination and disposal by adoptive parent(s) who bare sole authority over the adoptee. The practice of closed adoption seals all sorts of identifying information. It maintains the adoption as a secret and barring disclosure of biological parent(s), adoptive parent(s), and adoptees’ identities. It may only allow the exchange of non-identifying information such as religious backgrounds, medical history, and ethnicity (Godwin-Beauvais and Godwin 256).

Most ancient civilizations, adoptions were conducted only between relatives or immediate family members. The dawn of modernization has given rise to an escalating number of unrelated adoptions. These unrelated adoptions may occur through a number of mechanisms, as follows:

Embryo adoption involves the procedural agreement and transfer of embryo’s elements. Both the biological and adoptive parent and not the legal grounds enter into the agreement willingly.

International adoption also known as inter-country adoption is one in which the adopting party or individual becomes the registered, permanent and legal parent(s) of an adoptee that does not belong to their national or country. The prospective adoptive parent(s) have to meet the legal adoption requirements of the adoptee country as well s those of their country of residence.

In private domestic adoptions, profit making organizations and charities act as intermediaries, and bring together families of adoptees parents and the prospective adopter. The participating parties are to be residents of the same country.

Foster care adoption is a type adoption where the adoptee is initially placed in public care, where any interested adoptive parent(s) can go to apply for adoption. Its significance and importance as a domestic adoption mechanism varies from country to country.

Common law adoption is an adoption where a parent(s), leaves their children with a relative, neighbors or a friend for lengthy durations, without following any formal legal process. These adoptions have no beforehand, recognition by the courts.

Infertility was the main reason why parents sought to adopt children. One study shows that this accounted for half of adoptions through foster care and for about 80% of unrelated infant adoptions. Some estimates suggest that eleven to twenty four percent of Americans, who are unable to conceive or have a pregnancy to full term, build a family through adoption (Marianne, Richard, and Barbara 157). Other reasons why people adopt may be due to compassion motivated philosophical, personal conviction or religious inclinations. Other people do engage in adoption to provide a better life for the adoptee, to ensure that some inheritable diseases such as Tay Sachs disease are not carried on to other generations, and for health concerns regarding to childbirth and pregnancy. Adoptions are not smooth all the way, many a times they face disruptions leading to their termination prior to legal finalization. A strong and an indomitable will, dedication, and love, should be the governing parameters in any adoption case.