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Adoption is a legal concept of ancient origin, which allowed a person who had no heirs to “choose” one. Over time, the rules on adoption have changed a lot: today, the law provides several forms of adoption and very specific rules govern the adoption of minors in order to protect the child, including in the period preceding the actual adoption.
The law stipulates specific requirements for those wishing to adopt a child: they must be spouses who have been married for at least three years and they must be persons who are suitable for raising, educating and maintaining the children they plan to adopt. Age also must be taken into consideration: between adopters and adopted the difference in age must be between a minimum and a maximum.
The adoption procedure is detailed: the law provides for temporary or interim measures to deal with the immediate needs of children in difficulty and then a process of stages that leads only at the end to adoption itself. During the process of adoption the ties are loosened between the minor being adopted and the family of origin (parental authority/responsibility is suspended and the court appoints a guardian for the child).
Other rules govern international adoptions, adoptions in special circumstances and the adoption of persons over 18 years of age. This is a very sensitive area in which it is always advisable to be very cautious so as to avoid engaging in procedures that may be incorrect due to inadequate information.
By adoption the adoptee acquires the status of a legitimate child of the adopters whose surname he takes and passes on. The equivalence between an adopted and a legitimate child is also relevant in terms of inheritance.