Adoption was extant as a legal institution in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean world. In most cases, the adoptee acquired the rights of a natural born child, especially to an inheritance, but in some cases, the adoptee obtained lesser rights than natural born children. Generally, adoptions created the bond of parent and child, but other kin relationships could have been formed. Abandoned youngsters were adopted, but often the adoptees were relatives or slaves of the adopter before the act of adoption took place. Adoption is to be distinguished from guardianship, a relationship in which a minor receives protection and support from an adult but is not considered the son or daughter of the adopter.