Adoption can be both an exciting and confusing time in your life. As you explore the Adoption option, you will find many new and unfamiliar words. This adoption dictionary includes commonly used adoption terms that Birthparents and prospective adoptive families need to know.
Commonly Used Adoption Terms and Definitions
- Adoption Agency:
- Adoption Attorney:
- Adoption Facilitator:
- Adoptive Parent:
- Birthparent(s):The biological parent(s) of a child. This term is typically only used in the context of adoption where the child is subsequently adopted by another family.
- Closed Adoption:an adoption where the adoptive parents and the Birthparents have no information about each other that could be used to identify them. This term is considered offensive to some people and has been replaced by "Confidential Adoption".
- Confidential Adoption:a more up-to-date term for closed adoption.
- Consent Form:is the legal document Birthparents sign to terminate their parental rights over their child.
- Dear Birthmother letter:most families (especially in an open adoption) will write a letter of introduction for Birthparents to read. It typically contains insights into their lifestyle, hopes, dreams, religion and other things they think a Birthparent will want to know. (also known as a "Dear Birthparent" letter or adoption profile)
- Home Study:the process most prospective adoptive parents must go through to be able to legally adopt. Usually includes evaluations of their relationship, inspections of their home environment, employment, financial status and criminal background checks as well as counseling.
- Open Adoption:an adoption where Birthparents and adoptive parents exchange information that could be used to identify them. May include agreements for future contact and visits.
- Revoke Consent:the decision by either Birthparent to withdraw their consent for termination of parental rights. Where they live determines how long after placement this decision can be made.
- Social Worker:a person (usually with a Masters Degree) who provides services to prospective adoptive parents and prospective Birthparents Services are usually provided on behalf of an adoption agency or attorney and typically include counseling and homestudy preparation.
- Special Needs Adoption:an adoption where it is known or suspected that the baby may have a physical, mental or emotional disability. Includes medical conditions as well as babies exposed to drugs or alcohol.
- Termination of Parental Rights:a legally binding action that is put into effect when the Birthparents sign a consent form. Termination of parental rights ends all of the legal rights and responsibilities of the Birthparents for the baby. The form, processes and associated laws are generally different in every state.