Adoption Law falls under Family Law and is mainly governed by the states in which the parent and child live. It encompasses the process by which a legal parent-child relationship is created between individuals not biologically parent and child (adoption process). The biological parent gives up all parental rights and obligations, and these rights and obligations are assumed by the adoptive parents. These days, there are a lot more options available through the adoption process where adoptive families can adopt a child than ever were before. For example, you can choose a closed adoption where the parents remain anonymous, or opt for the increasingly common open adoption where you actually meet and can maintain contact with the birth parents. You can adopt a child from another country (international adoption) or one of a different race or ethnic background. You can even adopt a "special needs" child who may have physical, mental or behavioral disabilities. Some children are also considered "special needs children" because of their age or minority group status.
Ways you can adopt a child:
- Agency Identified Adoption - an adoption through a public or private agency.
- Domestic Partner Adoption - Under a new law in California, a same-sex partner can adapt his/her partner's child under stepparent adoption procedures as long as the partners are registered with the state as domestic partners.
- Denied Adoption - a new and innovative way of adopting an infant. An identified adoption is created when adoptive parents and birth parents connect with each other directly or through an intermediary.
- Independent Adoption - where the birth mother personally selects the adoptive parents through personal knowledge of them.
- International Adoption - an adoption in which the adoptive child is a citizen of another country. Relative (Kinship) Adoption - an adoption in which the adoptive parent is related to the child (e.g., grandparents adopting grandchildren if parents die or are otherwise unable to care for the children).
- Stepparent Adoption - a parent's new spouse adopts a child that the parent had with a previous spouse.