Adoption law is the branch of law relating to voluntarily taking a child of another parent as one's own child. Adoption starts with terminating the legal rights of the birth parents and forming the legal bond with the adoptive parents.
The adoption process often involves placement agencies. Placement agencies are typically required to be licensed by the state in which they operate. Most states also allow private or independent placement agencies to facilitate adoptions. A few states prohibit private or independent placements.
There are a number of factors that can impact the placement of children. These factors include the race, religion, national origin, and sexual preference of the adoptive parents.
The adoption process is usually voluntary. This requires the birth parents to give valid consent. Consent may be invalid in cases where there is duress or the formalities have not been followed. In other cases, the consent may be revoked during some period of time.
The adoption process may also be involuntary. Involuntary adoption often results in cases of child neglect and abandonment. The courts try to look to the "best interests of the child" in involuntary adoption cases.
Adoption law is set out in statues. State probate courts typically handle adoptions.