By definition, adoption is an act of assuming the role of a parent for another individual, particularly a child, from the individual’s birth or legal parent(s). In doing so, all rights, filiation, and responsibilities are transferred to the person adopting from the biological parent(s). Adoption is different from other systems for the care of the young, including guardianship. With adoption, permanent change in status is the intended effect and societal recognition is required because of this (either through religious or legal sanction). In the past, specific laws about adoption had been established in the form of contracts specifying rights to inheritance but this was not accompanied with filiation transfer.
Modern systems of adoption arose in the 20th century with comprehensive statues and regulations governing it. Practices of contemporary adoption are divided into two categories: closed and open. Closed adoption is also known as secret or confidential adoption. In this case, all identifying information is sealed off so as to keep tit all a secret. The identity of the adoptee, their kins, and adoptive parents is not disclosed. Some non-identifying information such as medical history or religious and ethnic background, however, can be accessed by persons involved.
Open adoption makes way for both biological and adoptive parents to communicate related information. Open adoption can take shape of an informal arrangement, which leaves the adoptive parents capable of terminating said arrangement. In some cases, laws may help maintain the right of the adoptee to keep their birth certificates unaltered and records of adoption. Both the adoptive and biological parents can form an agreement that is binding and legally enforceable particularly on areas such as visitation, information exchange, or other interaction concerning the child. Twenty four US states agreed in February 2009 that enforceable contract agreement of open adoption must be included in the finalization of the adoption process.