A distinction is made between intrafamilially and extrafa-milially adopted children. In intrafamilial or kinship adop tion, children are adopted either by blood relatives or by family members by marriage, frequently a stepparent of the adopted child. Agenuine desire to adopt is, normally, not the primary motivating force in kinship adoptions, except when childless family members adopt. The classical intrafamilial adoption occurs (a) to protect children whose parents are not available to care for them, (b) to prevent children from ever being returned to an unfit parent (addiction, violence, etc.), or (c) to change the legal status of stepchildren. The majority of adoptions are extrafamilial ones, whose goals include building a family (e.g., in the case of infertile couples), balancing a single-gender sibling constellation, or making a foster child or a child in need into a family member. Selfish goals include securing cheap labor, acquiring a permanent baby-sitting service for younger siblings, or, in the worst-case scenario, acquiring a sex object.
Known or presumed reasons for the adoption can play a major role in the parent-adoptee relationship. Complications in stepchild adoptions can be predicted when a child resents the family merger and insists on keeping the biological father's name or when a reluctant stepparent fears adverse financial consequences. Children deal well with unequal status among siblings, if it is a result of the children's own choices. Equal treatment of children in daily life is more important than equality of legal status.
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