What Is Adoption?

Adoption is the legal process by which a person becomes a lawful member of a family different from their birth family.  Once a final order of adoption has been ruled by a court of law, the adoptive parents gain the same rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them; subsequently, an adopted child gains the same rights as birth children in regard to inheritance, child support, and other legal matters.  In most U.S. jurisdictions, at the time the adoption is finalized, the adopted child's name is legally changed, and the court orders the issuance of a new, amended birth certificate.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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