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Adoption Terms You Should Know

By Eric Somarriba

Adoption is a long and complex process for many reasons. When going through the process, you work alongside many people and make important decisions about you and your child’s future. But another reason is that there are many adoption terms and jargon you will hear throughout. 

It’s understandable to not know of every term thrown your way and to feel overwhelmed with hearing so many. That’s why we’re here to create a glossary of adoption terms you can refer to when needed. We want to ensure you’re aware of the meaning of all these terms so you can make properly informed decisions. Understanding these terms will help you better grasp the adoption process and will also help you better explain your desires.

Adoption Choices of Arizona is a licensed adoption agency dedicated to following our birth mother’s wishes. We want you to be properly informed about everything about the adoption process. This is your journey, and it’s our job to fulfill your adoption in Arizona properly. Trust us to provide the adoption help you need.

Adoption Glossary

Below will be a list of various terms you may hear during the adoption process in Arizona. This is a comprehensive list of common terms with a brief definition of each.

  • Adoptee: Adoptee is the formal term for a child that a family adopts.
  • Adoption Agency: An adoption agency is a licensed organization that performs your adoption. Agencies are responsible for matching birth parents to adoptive parents and managing the legal processes. Most agencies support birth mothers post-placement and connect birth mothers with any needed resources.
  • Adoption Counseling: Adoption counseling is an avenue of support adoption agencies can provide to birth mothers. In counseling, birth mothers receive support during their pregnancy for emotional challenges and questions about the adoption process.
  • Adoption Plan: The adoption plan is an outline that birth mothers create that guides the rest of the adoption process. In the plan birth mothers describe the ideal adoptive family they want to adopt their child. The agency then tries to find a family that aligns with that ideal. Also covered are other details such as any needed support resources and the birth plan.
  • Adoption Professional: Adoption professionals are specialists that work alongside birth mothers in the adoption process. They are there to offer support and be a consultant on the important decisions during adoption.
  • Adoption: Adoption is the process of legally transferring the care of a child from their biological family to a new family.
  • Adoptive Family: The adoptive family is the family that adopts a birth mother’s child. They receive parental rights and are, from that point, responsible for raising them.
  • Birth Father: The birth father is the biological father of the adoptee. If present, the birth father can have an equal say in the adoption process as the birth mother would.
  • Birth Mother: The birth mother is the biological mother of the adoptee. When working with an adoption agency the birth mother describes how they want their adoption to progress.
  • Birth Plan: The birth plan is the outline of the birth mother’s wishes for how their labor experience will go. Details include any desired medication, those present with them in the hospital, and any time with their baby before relinquishment.
  • Closed Adoption: Closed adoption is a type of adoption where there is no contact between the birth family and adoptive family. It also means that there will be no contact with the birth parents and the adoptee.
  • Facilitator: A facilitator is an unlicensed adoption professional that attempts to facilitate adoptions. They do not follow regulations or have access to any support resources. Working with facilitators comes with significant risks and many states have outlawed them.
  • ICPC: The ICPC is the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. It is a federal legal agreement between all American states and territories to provide safe placement of children across states. It applies to an adoption if the adoptive family will adopt the child across state lines.
  • Independent Adoption: An Independent adoption occurs when an entity not related to a licensed agency performs an adoption. This is most commonly done by an independent adoption attorney that the birth family and adoptive family hire.
  • Open Adoption: Open Adoption is an adoption type where there is frequent communication between the birth family and adoptive family. It also means that the birth mother will have communication with their child throughout their life.
  • Parental Rights: Parental rights are the legal rights a person or family has to raise their child and make choices for them. 
  • Positive Adoption Language: Positive Adoption Language is used by adoption advocates to describe adoption in a more positive light. An example includes saying “placing your baby for adoption” instead of “giving up your baby for adoption.”
  • Relinquishment: Relinquishment is the signing away of the birth parent’s parental rights and the transfer of them to the adoptive family.
  • Semi-Open Adoption: Semi-Open Adoption is similar to open adoption, but it means that there are more communication boundaries set up. The birth family and adoptive family work together to decide on these boundaries.
  • Unplanned Pregnancy: Unplanned pregnancy is an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy that a birth mother may face. 

Your Adoption With Adoption Choices of Arizona

We hope this glossary will be useful for you throughout your adoption in Arizona. Our job as an agency is to fulfill your wishes and perform your adoption the way you want. By knowing what all these terms mean it’ll allow you to better describe what your goals and wishes are. It’ll then allow us to better meet your expectations. 

We want the overall process to be as simple and understandable as possible for you. That way, you’ll have all the necessary information to make decisions that align with your wants and values. Never hesitate to ask any of the questions you have throughout the process, we’ll always answer them honestly.

If you need pregnancy help and want to pursue an adoption then connect with us as soon as you can. Search “adoption agencies near me” online or directly reach out to us at the Adoption Choices of Arizona website. We’ll work with you throughout every step of the way to reach the best out for you and your child. We can provide the support you need during your pregnancy and work to find a family for your child.