Adoption Glossary: Terms and Phrases You Need to Know Choosing Adoption in Florida
For birth mothers and adoptive parents alike, doing research about adoption can be tricky, even in today’s technology-savvy society. Nowadays, we have a wealth of information at our disposal, all of which is in the pocket-sized computers we carry around with us 24/7. But how much information is too much? Sometimes all you need or want is one simple, straightforward answer, especially when doing research about adoption.
The thing about adoption is this: every case is unique. Each child, birth mother and set of adoptive parents is different, which can make it difficult to find that one simple answer or easy understanding about terms associated with adoption.
To help you out, Adoption Choices of Florida has compiled a list of some of the most common adoption terms, so you don’t feel overwhelmed as you continue to learn more about the world of adoption!
Adoptee - A child or person who was adopted.
Adoption Process - The journey in which a birth mother chooses to place her baby for adoption and selects her child’s adoptive parents.
Adoption Agency - A public or private organization, generally licensed under adoption laws created by each state, that oversees the adoption process and offers adoption services and other resources to adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents.
Adoption Attorney - A professional who specializes in the legal aspects of the adoption process. Sometimes, adoption attorneys or lawyers arrange or help arrange adoptions.
Adoption Disruption - Also referred to as ‘failed adoption’ or ‘failed placement,’ adoption disruption is an interference in the adoption process that occurs before the adoption is finalized.
Adoption Match - Refers to the process of searching for and finding potential adoptive parents suitable to a waiting child’s specific needs. The phrase ‘adoption match’ is commonly confused with the phrase ‘adoption placement,’ which is where the adoptee begins to live with their adoptive parent(s).
Adoption Plan - A plan created by the birth mother with the help of an adoption professional and/or social worker who outlines how they’d like their adoption process to look, and what kind of life they’d like to give their child.
Adoption Professional - An individual within the field of adoption who works for a legally licensed adoption agency and has been trained to assist children, birth parents, and adoptive parents with any adoption services or other adoption-related needs.
Adoption Triad - In the world of adoption, the ‘adoption triad’ consists of three parts: the child, the birth parent(s), and the adoptive parent(s).
Adoptive Parent/Family - The person or people who legally adopt the adoptee, and who are chosen by the birth mother in the matching process.
Agency Adoption - Adoptive placements made by legally licensed -- public or private -- adoption organizations that help birth parents create adoption plans, evaluate potential adoptive parents, match waiting children with adoptive parents suitable to the specific needs of those children, and oversee a child’s placement in a home before their adoption is finalized.
Birth Parent/Family - The biological parent of a child who was adopted or who’s going to be adopted.
Adoption Finalization - The final step in the adoption process in which a court judge grants legal parental custody of a child to the adoptive parents.
Home Study - Adoptive parents are required to go through a home study, usually conducted by a social worker, that ensures their home environment is safe for a child.
LGBT Adoption - The adoption process in which a child is adopted by a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) or other same sex adoptive parent(s).
Relinquishment - When a birth mother signs away her parental rights, allowing the adoptive parents to legally adopt the child.
Revocation - Occurs when the birth parent(s) of a child suspends their consent to adopt or consent to adoption.
Adoption Reunion/Search - The process in which a child, with or without the help of their adoptive parent(s), decides to locate their birth parent(s).
Social Worker / Adoption Caseworker - A professional who works for or with an adoption agency and, among other duties, conducts home studies of potential adoptive parents. Social workers and adoption caseworkers can also assist throughout the adoption process by providing children, birth parents and adoptive families with access to therapy or counseling-related services and other helpful resources.
Transracial Adoption - The adoption process in which the race of a child is different than that of their adoptive parent(s).
Types of Adoption - Open, semi-open, and closed adoption. Open adoption allows for the most communication; semi-open allows for mediated communication, which is usually coordinated through the adoption agency; and closed adoption, which allows for little to no communication between the adoption triad. For more information on the open, semi-open, and closed adoption, visit the Adoption Choices of Florida blog on the three types of adoption.
Don’t Overwhelm Yourself with Information!
It’s easy to overwhelm yourself with information when you start doing research about the adoption process. But with so much to learn and know when it comes to adoption, it’s important for you to not put too much pressure on yourself to become an expert. Of course, understanding the basics is always helpful; but, if you have specific questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to an adoption agency for help!
The adoption process certainly has its ups and downs, and it will, without a doubt, test your emotional strength. But, it will be fun, life changing and worthwhile, too! If you stress yourself by packing your brain with too much information, you’ll miss out on the best parts of the adoption process, which are the moments -- and the memories -- you won’t ever want to forget!
If you are a birth parent considering adoption, and have any questions or concerns about the process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. For more information on adoption, visit us at Adoption Choices of Florida or call us at: 800-985-8108