Adoption is a legal process that establishes a new, permanent parent-child relationship between an adoptive parent and a child who is not biologically related to them. This process terminates the biological parents’ rights and responsibilities while transferring those rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parents. Adoption aims to provide a stable, loving family and a sense of belonging to the child.

Key Takeaways

  1. Adoption is a legal process where an individual or couple takes on the responsibility of raising a child who is not biologically their own, providing them with emotional and financial support, and establishing a permanent parent-child relationship.
  2. Adoption can occur through various avenues, such as private domestic adoption, international adoption, or through foster care systems, with each route having its own set of requirements and procedures to ensure the best interests of the child are met.
  3. Adoptive families are required to participate in a thorough assessment process, known as a home study (or adoption assessment), which evaluates their suitability to be adoptive parents, ensuring a safe and nurturing environment for the child, and matching them with the right adoptive child.


Adoption is an important parenting term as it encompasses the process through which an individual or a couple legally assumes the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of caring for a child, who is not biologically their own.

This significant practice provides numerous benefits for all parties involved.

For adoptive parents, it offers a chance to experience the joys and challenges of parenthood and build a nurturing family relationship.

For the adopted child, it presents an opportunity to grow in a loving and supportive environment, particularly in cases where their biological families are unable to care for them.

Furthermore, adoption contributes to the development of a diverse and inclusive society by connecting individuals from different backgrounds and cultures, creating strong bonds and enriching the fabric of family life.


Adoption serves a crucial purpose in society, providing a loving and stable family environment for children who, for various reasons, cannot reside with their biological families. It is the legal process through which adults become the parents of a child not biologically related to them, creating and solidifying a permanent familial bond. Adoption offers a sense of belonging, security, and emotional support for the adopted child.

For adoptive parents, adoption enables them to fulfill their dreams of having children or expanding their families. The purpose of adoption is also broader than the individual family unit; it contributes to the greater good by connecting those in need of parental care with those who can provide it, thus nurturing the community as a whole. In the adoption framework, authorities and governing bodies play a vital role in ensuring the best interests of the child are met through rigorous evaluation and screening processes.

These procedures carefully assess potential adoptive parents, evaluating their financial stability, emotional well-being, and the overall environment they can provide for an adopted child. This rigorous process addresses concerns and helps mitigate risks that may arise in an adoptive family environment, ensuring that adoption is able to achieve its purpose of providing loving, safe, and enduring households for children. By offering secure and supportive environments, adoption contributes to helping these children develop and thrive as they grow, fostering their potential and providing a solid foundation for their future success.

Examples of Adoption

International Adoption: A couple from the United States decides to adopt a child from China. After conducting thorough research and completing necessary paperwork, they travel to China to meet their new daughter, making their family complete.

Foster Care Adoption: A single woman becomes a foster parent to a sibling group of three children who have been removed from their biological parents due to severe neglect. After several years of providing love and stability, she legally adopts the children, ensuring they grow up together as a family.

Stepparent Adoption: A man with a son from a previous relationship marries a woman who has a very close bond with his son. To solidify their new family unit, the stepmother decides to adopt her husband’s son, ensuring she has legal rights and responsibilities as his parent.

Adoption FAQ

What is adoption?

Adoption is a legal process where an individual or couple becomes the legal and permanent parent(s) of a child, assuming all rights and responsibilities for the child as if they were biologically theirs. Once an adoption is finalized, adoptive parents have the same legal rights and obligations as biological parents.

What are the different types of adoption?

There are several types of adoption, including domestic adoption, international adoption, foster care adoption, and relative (or kinship) adoption. Each type has its own unique process, requirements, and considerations.

What is the adoption process like?

The adoption process varies depending on the type of adoption being pursued. In general, the process involves a home study, background checks, interviews, training, matching with a child, legal proceedings, and post-adoption support. The length and complexity of the process can vary based on factors such as the type of adoption, the child’s specific needs, and the adopting family’s qualifications.

How do I know if I’m eligible to adopt a child?

Eligibility for adoption generally depends on your ability to provide a stable, loving, and supportive home for a child. Adoptive parents must meet certain age requirements, pass background checks, and complete a home study to determine their suitability for parenting. Specific criteria may vary by country, state, and adoption agency.

How much does adoption cost?

Adoption costs can vary significantly depending on factors such as the type of adoption, the country or state of residence, and the adoption agency or professional being used. Costs can range from little to no expense for foster care adoptions to tens of thousands of dollars for international adoptions. Financial assistance and tax credits may be available to help offset adoption expenses.

Can I adopt a child from another country?

Yes, international adoption is an option for individuals and couples who wish to adopt a child from another country. This process typically involves working with an accredited adoption agency or professional, and it can be more complex and time-consuming compared to domestic adoption. International adoptions must also comply with the laws of both the adoptive parents’ country and the child’s country of origin.

What kind of support is available for adoptive families after adoption?

Post-adoption support services are available to help adoptive families address challenges and promote healthy family functioning. These services may include counseling, support groups, educational resources, and access to adoption-competent therapists. Adoption agencies and professionals can provide information and referrals for post-adoption support services in your area.

Related Parenting Terms

  • Home Study
  • Adoption Agency
  • Birth Parents
  • Open Adoption
  • Adoption Finalization

Sources for More Information