Language for Adoption
Common words used in the process
There are key words and phrases used in the adoption process. We’ve compiled a list of commonly used language to equip you along the journey.
Adoptee: person who has been adopted.
Adoption: a legal process involving the transfer of parental rights from a child’s birth parents to his adoptive parents.
Adoption Agency: state-licensed organization that facilitates the placing of children with prospective adoptive individuals or families.
Adoption Decree: court document issued to the adoptive parents after an adoption has been finalized.
Adoption Match: process in which adoptive parents connect with prospective parent(s)
Adoption Plan: legally non-binding arrangement between birth parents and adoptive parents regarding the placement and rearing of their child. Adoption Records: legal documents pertaining to an adoption.
Adoptive Parent: person who legally assumes responsibilities of parenting an adopted child
Adoption Profile: autobiographical letter created by hopeful adoptive parents for prospective birthparents.
Adoption Professional: individual providing adoption services.
Adoption Triad: three parties involved in an adoption relationship — birthparents, adoptee and adoptive parents.
Amended Birth Certificate: birth certificate issued to the adoptive parents after an adoption is finalized.
Biracial: person whose parents are of different races. Birthfather: biological father of the child placed for adoption.
Birth mother: biological mother of the child placed for adoption.
Birth father: biological father of the child placed for adoption.
Closed Adoption: adoption in which the adoptive parents and the birth parents do not communicate or communicate through an agency or attorney.
Consent Form: legal document signed by birth parents that terminates their rights over their child and transfer them to the adoptive parents
Cradle Care: both our Executive Director, Jessica, and our Director of Infant Adoption, Tammy, offer to provide cradle care when needed. This is a safe and loving home for your baby to be discharged to if you need extra time to make your decision.
Criminal Clearance: process used by police or FBI to determine whether the waiting parent has a criminal record.
Disrupted Adoption: adoption that fails before termination of parental rights.
Foster Care: temporary placement of a child through a public government office.
Home Study: process carried out by an adoption worker that assesses and prepares prospective adoptive parents for an adoption placement.
Hopeful Adoptive Parents: individual or couple that is approved to adopt but have not yet had a child placed with them.
Identifying Information: detailed information about adoptive parents or birth parents such as full names and addresses.
Independent Adoption: any adoption not overseen by an agency.
Infertility: inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term. International Adoption: also known as intercountry adoption, refers to any adoption from another country.
Networking: outreach efforts by waiting parents to spread the word about their desire to adopt.
Open Adoption: adoption where birthparents and adoptive parents exchange identifying information and keep in touch after the adoption.
Profile book: a book put together by a hopeful adoptive parent which is an introduction into their life, family and home.
Post Adoption Contact: (PACA): document signed by birth parents and adoptive parents that outlines the frequency and level of contact between them after the adoption takes place.
Private Adoption: An adoption arranged between 2 parties without the assistance of an agency.
Private Adoption Agency: a non-government stage-licensed agency that arrange adoptions.
Special Needs Child: child who may be physically, mentally and emotionally challenged.
Relinquishment Papers: legal documents that terminate birth parents legal rights to their child and transfers them to the adoptive parent(s).
Waiting Parent: another term for hopeful adoptive parents.