The process of adoption permits an individual (or individuals) to assume the roll and responsibility that a birth parent would typically maintain with respect to their natural born child. This legal process creates a permanent parent-child relationship upon the entry of a Decree of Adoption. The laws pertaining to adoption are intended to protect the "best interests" of the adoptive party.
There are several forms of adoption including private adoption, open or closed adoption, step-parent adoption, and same-sex couple adoption. The process of adoption culminates with a formal adoption Hearing. At that time the Court must determine whether all necessary consents, if required, have been given, whether adoption is in the child’s best interest, and must ensure that all of the legal requirements have been met. Upon the determination by the Court that adoption should be granted, the Court will enter a written Decree of Adoption.
Thereafter, a new birth certificate shall be issued by the State Department of Health indicating the adoptive parent(s) as the legal parent(s) of the child.