Adoption is a form of fictive kinship in which an individual or a couple assumes the parental status of a child who is frequently not biologically related. In legal adoption, the biological parents relinquish all legal rights to the child; these rights are transferred to the adoptive parents. Because of the permanent and legally binding nature of adoption, the child is socially recognized as “belonging” to the newly constituted family unit and theoretically acquires the same status as the other family members, regardless of whether ties are established on the basis of biological reproduction or not.

Formal adoption differs significantly from other forms of childcare in which the child is raised outside of the biological parent-child dyad, such as guardianship and crisis and voluntary fostering, as ...

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