Informal Adoption

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informal adoption

The rearing of a child as one's own, without benefit of legally adopting the child through the courts. Ever since and even before the pharaoh's daughter chose to raise Moses as her son, informal adoption has been a constant in our society. No longer popular among whites, it appears that many blacks still rely on informal adoptions. (This may be partly a function of necessity rather than desire. See BIRTHMOTHER.)

The problem with an informal adoption is that the child has no rights to the "adoptive" parents' social security benefits, inheritance, and so forth, and the "parents" have no legal status as parents unless or until they formally adopt the child. In addition, birthparents and relatives may come back months or even years later and reclaim the child, with no recourse to the informal adopters. (See also RELATIVE ADOPTIONS.)

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