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Ever since the Pharaoh's daughter plucked the baby Moses from the bulrushes of the Nile and raised him as her son, adoption has been a part of our civilization (Lasnik 5). Every parent possesses certain rights and responsibilities to his or her child. The law grants these rights and imposes these responsibilities from the moment the child is born. If a parent does not wish to fulfill these obligations, they may opt to place their child up for adoption. Adoption is the legal process by which these rights and responsibilities are given to a person to whom is willing to take that child as their own, and love and care for that child that was not born unto them (Sifferman 1). Adoption is a topic that many are uniformed on. To truly understand adoption, one must understand topics such as, why people adopt, who can adopt, special adoptions, the overall adoption process, and post-adoption adjustments.

One specialist talked about why someone would choose to adopt by saying "often times couples choose to look into adoption for a variety of reasons." One reason may or may not be because a couple are not able to

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have a baby together and want to love and care for a child. Sometimes couples already have children of their own, but still want to adopt another child because they love children so much (Luther Online). Another specialist once emphasized that most adoptions are made because couples want to either start a family or expand a family. Although some adoptions take place because a couple may want to get a child out of a particular lifestyle and give him or her better opportunities in life (Goldstein 36).

Sifferman has often commented on why a parent might choose to place their child up for adoption. There are many reasons why birthparents choose adoption. Many singles mothers feel their child could benefit from having two stable parents, so they choose to put their child up for adoption. Some couples choose to put their child up for adoption because they feel they don't have the financial resources to raise a child. Others feel they are too young or their education needs to come before children so they opt to put their child up for adoption (3).

There are relatively few legal restrictions on who may adopt. States most frequently regulate age, residence and marital status (Lasnik 13). Most states allow any adult determined to be a "fit parent" to adopt. However, factors such as marital states, age, race, and religion may affect whether a court finds the potential adoptive person a fit parent or determines the

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adoption to be in the "best interest" of the child (Sifferman 4). In reality, adoption be single adults is approved only in exceptional circumstance

(Lasnik 15). When adoption agencies look for "fit parents", they tend to look for couples married at least two years, between the ages of 25 and 40, and have some sort of reliable income (Eades Online).

Various factors may define a child as a special needs child. These factors may include racial or ethnic origins, or physical, mental, or developmental disability. If a child is more than six years old, then the child also may be characterized as a special needs child because of age (Sifferman 58). Sifferman also expanded by saying, "the eligibility criteria for adopting parents are not their financial circumstances, but the circumstances of the child." The circumstances of the child include that the child cannot be returned to the birth parents, that the child is unlikely to be placed for adoption without a subsidy, and that reasonable efforts have been made without providing assistance. Because the demand or special needs children is often so low, many adoption standards are lowered significantly for anyone willing to adopt a special needs child (59).

Sifferman commented that early adoption laws usually did not require an investigation or evaluation of the fitness of the potential parents. It was not until the end of the nineteenth century that states began to show concern for the welfare or "best interests" of the child who was being adopted.

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Because of the new effort to



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