3 Adoption Terms to Know

Adoption, Adoption & Beyond News, Blog, Thoughts

Adoption is one of those pursuits that has, over time, developed its own language and terms to help adoptive parents understand different aspects of their adoption journey. It’s important to have clarity on what exactly some of these terms mean, and today I’d like to cover 3 of the most important terms.

We’re going to discuss the difference between a failed adoption, a disrupted adoption, and a dissolution. Much of the time, those words are used interchangeably, when really they are very distinct from each other, so let’s break down the differences:

  1. Failed Adoption
    This typically refers to when an adoptive family is matched with an expecting mom, she delivers, and she ultimately decides to parent her child. In this case, an adoption does not occur, so it’s considered a Failed Adoption.


  2. Disrupted Adoption
    This refers to when an adoption does not go through to finalization. There are many reasons why a placement is disrupted and the child is removed from the adoptive home prior to finalization. Some of the common reasons for disruption are:
    • The adoption was contested.
    • The adopted child has needs beyond what the adoptive family is able to parent.
  3. A Dissolution
    A dissolution refers to when a child is removed from an adoptive home after placement has been finalized. This typically occurs when a child has needs beyond what the adoptive family is able to parent, and there may be another home that is better equipped to parent the child. This is one of the most heavily criticized elements of adoption, but it is usually in the child’s best interest to be with a different family.

Each of these instances represents a difficult and challenging set of decisions for adoptive parents. We do everything we can to avoid these occurrences, but they do happen, and it’s important for the adoption community to have clarity around these terms and concepts.

Learn about adoption and all that comes with it by taking the All About Adoption 101 course.

This blog post is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Our services are not financial, business or legal advice. The information presented here is not a guarantee that you will obtain any results or earn any money using our content. Adoption & Beyond, Inc. owns all copyrights to the materials presented here unless otherwise noted.

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Steffany ave

Founder & Director


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Meet Steffany Aye, the heart behind Adoption & Beyond since its inception in 1998. Fueled by a deep passion for supporting both birth and adoptive parents, Steffany's journey as an adoptive parent has continued the foundation for this non-profit adoption agency.

Drawing from more than 25 years of dedicated experience, Steffany and her team are committed to crafting warm, thriving families through child-centered adoptions. Their inclusive services, free from any form of discrimination, reflect Steffany's unwavering dedication to the beautiful tapestry of adoption.

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