Adoption Glossary

Adoption, Blog

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If you’ve made the decision to adopt, you are probably well aware that it isn’t a simple process. In fact, adoption is rather complex! To help you understand some of these processes, it would help to have a better understanding of common vocabulary. I have put together a list of terms that will be helpful for you in your adoption journey.

  • Adoptee: A person who has been adopted. Sometimes you will hear this as an “adopted child” or “adult adoptee”
  • Adoption Attorney: An individual who is licensed in one or more states and specializes in adoption. Usually, it falls underneath family law. Not just any attorney should be hired to do your adoption, it should be someone who specializes in adoption specifically. When looking for a professional to work with, look for an adoption attorney!
  • Adoption Triad or Adoption Constellation: Adoption triad is specifically the adopted person (adoptee), the birth parent, and the adoptive parent. The adoption constellation includes more than three Individuals. This can include the birth grandparents and the adoptive extended family. The adoptive constellation is more inclusive in recognizing that adoption impacts a lot of different people in your life, not just the three individuals in the adoption triad.
  • Agency Placement: When adoption is done through an agency, the expecting parents have relinquished their consent to their adoption through an agency and the paperwork is signed by the agency.
  • Birth Mother or Birth Father: Those are the individuals who have relinquished a child for adoption and this is typically what they are called after the placement has occurred.
  • Consent to Adoption: That is the document the expecting parent signs to relinquish their child for adoption to either an adoptive family or an adoption agency.
  • Disruptive Adoption: This is when adoption is not able to be finalized. This can occur before the baby is placed with you or after the child is placed with you in your home.
  • Domestic Adoption: Typically describes adoptions that happen here in the United States with the birth parents and the adopting parents.
  • Expecting Parent: That is someone who is pregnant and considering placing their child for adoption. They haven’t relinquished their rights yet but they are making an adoption plan for their child.
  • Family Profile: A document that families will put together for expecting parents. This document allows expecting parents to be able to look at your family to learn more about you and be able to make a decision on placing their child with your family.
  • Finalization: The court hearing you go through to be able to finalize your adoption and receive your adoption decree.
  • Interstate Compact (ICPC): Documents that need to be prepared in order for a child to cross from one state to another state for the adoption process.
  • Open Adoption: When there is communication between the birth family and the adopting family before and after placement.
  • Post-Adoption Contract Agreement (PACA): This is a legal document that is drafted with the attorneys between the adopting family and the expecting family in anticipation of what kind of contact there will be with each other following placement.
  • Post-Placement Visits: These are visits that occur before your adoption is finalized. Each state requires a different number of post-placement reports. There can be anywhere between 3-6 reports from the agency that did your home study.
  • Punitive Father Registry: Some states have registries that a man who believes he is the biological father needs to register, in order to assert his parental rights in case an adoption process is occurring.

Sometimes a little knowledge can go a long way! The adoption process can be complicated but a little guidance can relieve some of that stress. What other burning questions do you have about adoption? Would you like to know all the ins and outs of the process? Check out my comprehensive course, All About Adoption 101.

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