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Information on Adoption

Today is National Adoption Day

Adoption is the legal act of permanently placing a child with a parent or parents other than the birth parents. Adoption results in the severing of the parental responsibilities and rights of the biological parents and the placing of those responsibilities and rights onto the adoptive parents. After the finalization of an adoption, there is little or no legal difference between biological and adopted children.

Different jurisdictions have varying laws on adoption and post-adoption. Some practice confidential or closed adoption, preventing further contact between the adopted person and the biological parents, while others have varying degrees of open adoption, which may allow such contact.

The most common form of adoption is by a stepparent who assumes financial and legal responsibility for his/her spouse's child(ren), and the non-custodial parent is released from all parenting responsibilities. Procedures are generally simpler than for other types of adoption. However, stepparent adoption law varies from state to state. Relative adoptions, such as a grandparent adopting a grandchild, are also treated less formally than non-relative adoptions in most states. If you are considering adopting a stepchild or a child related to you, you may wish to contact a licensed attorney. You may also wish to locate your state or county court for more information on adoption procedures in your state.

The Child Welfare and Information Gateway (CWIG) is an excellent resource for information on adoption. The CWIG is a service of the Children's Bureau (CB). The CB is one of two bureaus within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This agency promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families by connecting child welfare, adoption and related professionals as well as concerned citizens to timely, essential information.

You may wish to contact the CWIG by phone at 1-800-394-3366 or 1-703-385-7565.

You may also wish to visit these online resources for more information:

Finally, additional resources are available:

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