WHAT IS AN ADOPTION?
When a child’s parents have died, when the parents cannot continue to provide for their child’s care or custody, or when the court terminates (ends) the parents’ right to continue having responsibility for the care and custody of their child, the child may be adopted. In an adoption, the birth parents’ rights are ended and the court gives permanent legal responsibility for the child to other persons—people who then become the child’s legal parents. Children 14 years of age or older may not be adopted without their consent.
Adoptive parents can be any of the following people: (1) an adult unmarried person; (2) a married couple; (3) two unmarried adult intimate partners; (4) an adult married person who is separated from his or her spouse under a decree or judgment of separation or a written and notarized separation agreement; or (5) an adult married person who has been living apart from his or her spouse for at least three years before the adoption case is filed.