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Adoption is a legal process in which a child is permanently placed with new parents. The adoption process is completed in court when the adoptive parents are given all of the rights and responsibilities of legal parents, and the child becomes a family member. The rights of the adoptive parents are assumed only after the court has determined the rights of the biological parents have been voluntarily relinquished, or were terminated by the court.
At the finalization hearing, the judge will review the adopting parents information, as well as ask questions of the adopting parents, and the child (if he/ she is old enough). It the judge approves, the adoption is finalized and an Adoption Decree is issued. In most cases, the court orders that a new birth certificate be issued with the child's new name and the names of the adopting parents.