Adoption is a process in which a person assumes the parenting role of another, usually a child, from that person’s biological or legal parent or parents. This permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities, along with filiation, from the biological parent(s) to the adoptive parent(s). Unlike guardianship or other systems designed for the care of youth, adoption is supposed to affect a permanent change in status and requires societal recognition, either through legal or religious sanctions.
Some societies have enacted specific laws governing adoption. Others have tried to achieve adoption through less formal ways, such as notable contracts that specify inheritance rights and parental responsibilities without an accompanying transfer of filiation. Modern systems of adoption tend to be governed by comprehensive statutes and regulations.