Adoption is the legal process of establishing a legal parent-child relationship when the adopting parent is not the child's biological or birth parent. That means that once the adoption is final, the adoptive parents have all the legal right and responsibilities of a parent-child relationship. That new parent-child relationship is permanent and is exactly the same as that of a birth family. An adoptive parent can be a step-parent, a relative of a child or someone not related to the child by blood.
In addition to traditional adoption where the birth parent cannot care or does not want to raise their child our attorneys are very familiar with step-parent adoptions and grand-parent adoptions. These cases can be step-parent adoptions from divorced families or when there might be a tragic loss in a divorced family. These adoptions create new legal families with two legal parents who each have the same rights and responsibilities. These rights and responsibilities range from the duty to support and care for your child, to reasonable discipline of that child, health insurance eligibility, and allows for a child to be eligible for survivorship benefits (social security/military) if the second parent dies. Additionally, after the adoption the adoptive child will have the emotional and financial support from both parents, which creates the balance and stability when both parents are legally recognized.
Should a child have two living biological parents, before a child can be adopted at least one of the living biological parents parental rights must be determined. For instance, this can happen when a child is abandoned, one parent is an un-recoverable drug user or alcoholic, or that child has been subjected to physical or emotional abuse. When these events occur, often a petition is filed to terminate the rights of the offending parent.