1. What is adoption? Expand Adoption is the legal process by which a child or siblings who cannot be brought up within their birth family become full, permanent and legal members of their new family. Adopters become the child's legal parents with the same rights and responsibilities as if the child was born to them. Most adopted children have lived in foster care for part of their childhood. Most foster placements are with foster families rather than in foster homes. Time spent in foster care can range from days to several years, and many children have more than one foster placement before being placed for adoption. Children who are adopted tend to have better outcomes than children who remain in foster care or spend their childhoods in and out of care.