adoption,n.1.Family  law.  The  creation  of  a  parent–child  relationship  by  judicial  order

between  two  parties  who  usu.  are  unrelated;  the  relation  of  parent  and  child  created  by  law

between  persons  who  are  not in  fact parent and  child.  •  This relationship  is brought about  only

after  a  determination  that  the  child  is  an  orphan  or  has  been  abandoned,  or  that  the  parents’

parental rights have been terminated by court order. Adoption creates a par-ent–child relationship

between  the  adopted  child  and  the  adoptive  parents  with  all  the  rights,  privileges,  and

responsibilities that attach to that relationship, though there may be agreed exceptions. There is a

distinction between adoption and legitimation, and between adoption and fostering. Adoption usu.

refers to an act between persons unrelated by blood; legitimation refers to an act between persons

related by blood. Universally, a decree of adoption confers legitimate status on the adopted child.

See adopted child under CHILD. Cf. LEGITIMATION(2). [Cases: Adoption    1.C.J.S. Adoption

of Persons §§ 2–4.]

“Although adoption is found in many societies, ancient and modern, primitive and civilized,

and  is  recognized  by  the  civil  law,  it  was  unknown  at  common  law.  Accordingly,  adoption  is

entirely  a  creature  of  statute  ….”  Elias  Clark  et  al.,  Gratuitous  Transfers:  Wills,  Intestate

Succession,  Trusts,  Gifts,  Future  Interests,  and  Estate  and  Gift  Taxation  Cases  and  Materials

73–74 (4th ed. 1999).

adoption by estoppel. 1. An equitable adoption of a child by  one who promises or acts in a

way that precludes the person and his or her estate from denying adopted status to the child. 2. An

equitable decree of adoption treating as done that which ought to have been done. • Such a decree A

is entered when no final decree of adoption has already been obtained, even though the principal

has acted as if an adoption has been achieved. A petitioner must show an agreement of adoption,

relinquishment  of  parental  authority  by  the  child’s  biological  parents,  assumption  of  parental

responsibility  by  the  foster  parents,  and  a  de  facto  relationship  of  parent  and  child  over  a

substantial period. Such a claim typically occurs when an adoptive parent has died intestate, and

the child tries to be named an heir. In a minority of states, adoption by estoppel may be a basis for

allowing  a  child  to  participate  in  a  wrongful-death  action.  —  Also  termed  equitable  adoption;

virtual  adoption.  See  ESTOPPEL(1).3.  See  de  facto  adoption.  [Cases:  Adoption    6.  C.J.S.

Adoption of Persons §§ 25–40.]

adult adoption.The adoption of one adult by another. • Many jurisdictions do not allow adult

adoptions.  Those  that  do  often  impose  restrictions,  as  by  requiring  consent  of  the  person  to  be

adopted, but may not look too closely at the purpose for which adoption is sought.

agency  adoption.An  adoption  in  which  parental  rights  are  terminated  and  legal  custody  is

relinquished to an agency that finds and approves the adoptive parents. • An agency adoption can

be either public or private. In all states, adoption agencies must be licensed, and in most they are

nonprofit entities. Parents who voluntarily place a child for adoption most commonly use a private

agency. Cf. private adoption.

black-market adoption.  1.  An  illegal  adoption  in  which  an  intermediary  (a  broker)  receives

payment for his or her services. 2. Baby-selling.

closed  adoption.An  adoption  in  which  the  biological  parent relinquishes  his or  her  parental

rights and surrenders the child to an unknown person or persons; an adoption in which there is no

disclosure of the identity of the birth parents, adopting parent or parents, or child. • Adoptions by

stepparents, blood relatives, and foster parents are exceptions to the no-disclosure requirement. —

Also termed confidential adoption. Cf. open adoption; cooperative adoption.

cooperative adoption.A  process in which the birth parents and adoptive  parents negotiate to

reach  a  voluntary  agreement  about  the  degree  and  type  of  continuing  contact  after  adoption,

including  direct visitation  or  more limited arrangements such as communication by telephone or

mail, the exchange of either identifying or non-identifying information, and other forms of contact.

Cf. open adoption; closed adoption.

de  facto  adoption.An  adoption  that  falls  short  of  the  statutory  requirements  in  a  particular

state.  • The  adoption  agreement  may  ripen  to  a  de  jure  adoption  when  the  statutory  formalities

have been met or if a court finds that the requirements for adoption by estoppel have been met. —

Also termed adoption by estoppel. [Cases: Adoption    6. C.J.S. Adoption of Persons §§ 25–40.]

de facto stepparent adoption.See second-parent adoption.

direct-placement adoption.See private adoption.

embryo  adoption.Slang.  The receipt  of  a  frozen  embryo  that  is  implanted  into  a  recipient’s

womb. • Donors  must waive all parental rights before the recipients of the embryo assume legal

ownership or custody. The process is not considered to be a legal adoption because American law

does not treat embryos as children.

equitable adoption.See adoption by estoppel.

gray-market adoption.See private adoption.

identified adoption.See private adoption.

independent adoption.See private adoption.

intercountry adoption.See international adoption.

international  adoption.An  adoption  in  which  parents  domiciled  in  one  nation  travel  to  a

foreign  country  to  adopt  a  child  there,  usu.  in  accordance  with  the  laws  of  the  child’s  nation.  •

International  adoptions  first  became  popular  after  World  War  II  and  escalated  after  the  Korean

Conflict because of the efforts of humanitarian programs working to find homes for children left

orphaned by the wars. More recently, prospective parents have turned to international adoption as

the  number  of  healthy  babies domestically  available for  adoption  has  steadily  declined.  —  Also

termed  transnational  adoption;  intercountry  adoption.  See  MULTIETHNIC  PLACEMENT  ACT

interracial adoption.See transracial adoption.

interstate  adoption.An  adoption  in  which  the  prospective  parents  live  in  one  state  and  the

child  lives  in  another  state.  See  INTERSTATE  COMPACT  ON  THE  PLACEMENT  OF

joint  adoption.An  adoption  in  which  the  prospective  parents  apply  as  a  couple  and  are

approved or rejected as a couple, as opposed to filing separate and individual applications to adopt

a child. • Although the term most often applies to adoption by a married couple, it also applies to

an adoption petition by two unmarried partners who are adopting a child.

open  adoption.An  adoption  in  which  the  biological  mother  (sometimes  with  the  biological

father) chooses the adoptive parents and in which the child often continues to have a post-adoption

relationship  with  his  or  her  biological  family.  •  Typically  the  birth  parents  meet  the  adoptive

parents and  participate in  the  separation  and  placement  process.  The  birth  parents relinquish  all

legal, moral, and nurturing rights over the child, but usu. retain the right to continuing contact and

to knowledge of the child’s welfare and location. Cf. closed adoption; coop-erative adoption.

posthumous  adoption.An  adoption  that  becomes  legally  final  after  the  death  of  either  an

adoptive parent or the adopted child. • Few states recognize posthumous adoptions; most require

all parties to an adoption to be alive at the time the final judgment is rendered.

private adoption.An adoption that occurs independently  between the biological  mother (and

sometimes the biological father) and the adoptive parents without the involvement of an agency. •

A  private  adoption  is  usu.  arranged  by  an  intermediary  such  as  a  lawyer,  doctor,  or  counselor.

Legal custody — though sometimes not physical custody — remains with the biological parent or

parents  until  the  termination  and  adoption  are  complete.  —  Also  termed  private-placement

adoption;  direct-placement adoption;  direct  adoption;  gray-market adoption; identified  adoption;

independent adoption. Cf. agency adoption.

private-placement adoption.See private adoption.

pseudo-stepparent adoption.See second-parent adoption.

second-parent  adoption.An  adoption  by  an  unmarried  cohabiting  partner  of  a  child’s  legal

parent, not involving the termination of a legal parent’s rights; esp., an adoption in which a lesbian,

gay man, or unmarried heterosexual person adopts his or her partner’s biological or adoptive child.

See Restatement (Third) of Property: Wills and Other Donative Transfers § 2.5 cmt. i. • Although

not  all  jurisdictions  recognize  second-parent  adoption,  the  practice  is  becoming  more  widely

accepted. See In re Adoption of B.L.V.B., 628 A.2d 1271 (Vt. 1993); In re Adoption of Tammy,

619 N.E.2d 315 (Mass. 1993); In re Adoption of Evan, 583 N.Y.S.2d 997 (Sur. Ct. 1992). — Also

termed de facto stepparent adoption; pseudo-stepparent adoption. Cf. stepparent adoption.

stepparent  adoption.The  adoption  of  a  child  by  a  stepfather  or  stepmother.  •  Stepparent

adoptions are the most common adoptions in the United States. Cf. second-parent adoption.

transnational adoption.See international adoption.

transracial adoption.An adoption in which at least one adoptive  parent is of a race different

from that of the adopted child. • Under federal law, child-placement agencies may not use race as

a  factor  in  approving  adoptions.  42  USCA  §  5115a.  —  Also  termed  interracial  adoption.  See


virtual adoption.See adoption by estoppel.

wrongful adoption.See WRONGFUL ADOPTION.

2.Roman law. The legal process of creating a parent–child relationship with a young person

who  is  still  under  the  power  of  another  father.  •  The  adopted  person  became  part  of  the  new

paterfamilias’s  agnatic  family  with  exactly  the  same  standing  as  children  (or  grandchildren)  by

blood. This was later modified by Justinian. 3.Contracts. The process by which a person agrees to

assume a contract previously made for that person’s benefit, such as a newly formed corporation’s

acceptance  of  a  preincorporation  contract.  Cf.  ADROGATION.  [Cases:  Corporations    448(2).

C.J.S. Corporations §§ 70–71, 73.] 4.Trademarks. The mental act necessary to acquire legal rights

in a trademark, consisting of knowledge and intention to use a trademark on or in connection with

a   product   or   service   in   commerce.   [Cases:   Trade   Regulation      63.C.J.S.   Trade-Marks,

Trade-Names,  and  Unfair  Compe-tition  §§  31,  35,  37.]  5.Parliamentary  law.  A  deliberative

assembly’s  approval  or  endorsement  by  vote  of  a  motion  or  report.  —  Also  termed  acceptance;

consent; passage; ratification. — adopt,vb. — adoptive,adj. [Blacks Law 8th]