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Adoption is the legal and emotional acceptance into a parent’s family of a child not born to the parent(s). The child will have the parents’ name and the same legal rights as a child by birth. After an adoption is approved by a court, the parents will receive an official decree and a birth certificate with the parents’ name listed as the parent. Each state has its own adoption law, though adoption might affect Federal Social Security law. As a general rule, an adult must be a fit parent to adopt a child – and the parents do not have to be married. However, it is generally much more difficult for unmarried couples or same-sex couples to adopt, as adoption agencies are often biased towards married couples.

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