Adoption is a process which terminates the parental rights of the biological parents and gives those rights to the adoptive parent(s). At the end of the adoption process, an adoptive parent will receive a court order and the child’s new birth certificate, replacing the birth parents’ information with the adoptive parents’ names. Adoption ends the legal relationship between a child and his or her birth parents. Some caregivers may want to create a stable relationship to care for a child without terminating the biological parents’ rights. In those cases, the caregiver should speak with an attorney about getting an order of custody, guardianship or KinGap (a permanency option for some children in kinship foster care) for the child. Also, some people raising undocumented children can address the child’s immigration concerns without having to legally adopt the child.

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Last Reviewed: September 28, 2015