Adoption ends all rights and responsibilities between the birth parents and the child, including inheritance and visitation rights. The legal relationship with all other relatives will also end. When you adopt a child, your legal relationship with that child is the same as with a child born to you. An adopted child becomes your own child in all respects.
Since adoption is the most permanent plan for a child, it is often the preferred plan. There are government programs (Adoption Assistance) that can provide financial help and services for children with special needs who are adopted. You may want to discuss this option with your Social Worker or Attorney.
Guardianship, on the other hand, suspends the rights and responsibilities of the birth parents. A child may still inherit from the parents if a guardianship exists. The court may order visitation with the parents of other relatives as part of its decision. While a guardian has the same responsibilities as a parent to care for and control a child, a guardian can be removed or the guardianship itself can be terminated by court order. A guardianship usually ends when the child becomes an adult at 18 years but you always remain the parent of your adopted child.
You can obtain additional information about these programs from your child’s Social Worker or your local Child Welfare Agency.