BACK TO HOME PAGE

ADOPTION GLOSSARY
*Disclaimer: The following terms are intended as a guide only to help define
common terms used in Adoption Law. For specific questions and clarity please contact us.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to the
appropriate section in the glossary.

  -A-  
  ADOPTEE An adopted person.
 
  ADOPTION: A court action in which an adult assume legal and other responsibilities for another, usually a minor.
 
  ADOPTION DISRUPTION: The interruption of an adoption prior to finalization, this sometimes is called a failed adoption or a failed placement. The child would return to foster care and/or be placed with another adoptive parent.
 
  ADOPTION DISSOLUTION: The interruption or 'failure' of an adoption after finalization that requires court action (The child would return to foster care and/or be placed with another adoptive parent.)
 
  ADOPTION EXCHANGE: An organization that recruits adoptive families for children with special needs using print, radio, television, and Internet recruitment, adoption exchanges can be local, state, regional, national or international in scope.
 
  ADOPTION PETITION: The legal document through which prospective parents request the court's permission to adopt a specific child.
 
  ADOPTION PLACEMENT: The point at which a child begins to live with prospective adoptive parents or, in the case of foster adoption, the point at which the status of the placement changes to adoption; the period before the adoption is finalized.
 
  ADOPTION PLAN: Birth parents' decision to allow their child to be placed for adoption.
 
  ADOPTION SUBSIDIES: Federal or state adoption benefits (also known as adoption assistance) designed to help offset the costs associated with adopting children who need special services.
 
  ADOPTION TAX CREDITS: Non-refundable credit which reduces taxes owed by adoptive parents who claim adoption expense reimbursement.
 
  ADOPTION TRIAD: The three major parties in an adoption: birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted child; also called 'adoption triangle', or 'adoption circle'.
 
  ADULT ADOPTION: The adoption of a person over the age of majority (as defined in state law).
 
  AGENCY ADOPTION:


Return to Top
Adoptive placements made by licensed organizations that screen prospective adoptive parents and supervise the placement of children in adoptive homes until the adoption is finalized.
 
 
-B-

 
 
  BIRTH PARENT:

Return to Top
 
A child's biological parent.
 
-C-

 
 
  CLOSED ADOPTION: An adoption that involves total confidentiality and sealed records.
 
  CONCURRENT PLANNING: A process used in foster care case management by which child welfare staff work toward family reunification and, at the same time, develop an alternative permanency plan for the child (such as permanent placement with a relative, or adoption) should family reunification efforts fail; planning intended to reduce the time a child spends in foster care before a child is placed with a permanent family.
 
  CONFIDENTIALITY: The legally required process of keeping identifying or other significant information secret; the principle or ethical practice which requires social workers and other professionals not to disclose information about a client without the client's consent.
 
  CONSENT TO ADOPT OR CONSENT TO ADOPTION:

Return to Top
Legal permission for the adoption to proceed.
 
-D-
 
 
  DISCLOSURE: A legal order that finalized an adoption.
 
  DOSSIER:

Return to Top
A set of legal documents which are used in an international adoption to process a child's adoption or assignment of guardianship in the foreign court.
 
 
-E-


Return to Top

No definitions at this time.
 
 
-F-

 
 
  FINALIZATION: The final step in the adoption process; involves a court hearing during which the judge orders that the adoptive parents become the child's legal parents.
 
  FOSTER ADOPTION:


Return to Top
In this type of placement, foster parents agree to adopt the child if/when parental rights are terminated. Social workers place the child with specially trained foster-adopt
 
  -G-

Return to Top
 
No definitions at this time.
 
  -H-
 
 
  HOME STUDY:

Return to Top
 
A process through which prospective adoptive parents are educated about adoption and evaluated to determine their suitability to adopt.
 
  -I-
 
 
  IDENTIFYING INFORMATION: Information about birth parents that discloses their identities.
     
  INTER-COUNTRY OR INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION:

Return to Top
The adoption of a child who is a citizen of one country by adoptive parents who are citizens of a different country.
 
 
-J-
No definitions at this time.
  Return to Top
 
 
  -K- No definitions at this time.
  Return to Top
 
 
  -L-
 
 
  LEGAL RISK PLACEMENT: Placement of a child in a prospective adoptive family when a child is not yet legally free for adoption. Before another family can legally adopt a child, parental rights of his or her birth parents must be terminated.  In a 'legal risk' placement either this termination of parental rights has not yet occurred, or it is being contested.
 
  LEGALLY FREE:


Return to Top
 
A child whose birth parents' rights have been legally terminated so that the child is 'free' to be adopted by relatives or another family.
 
  -M-

Return to Top
No definitions at this time.
 
 
-N-

 

 
  NON-IDENTIFYING INFORMATION: Facts about the birth parents or adoptive parents that would not lead to their discovery by another person.
 
  NON-RECURRING ADOPTION COSTS:




Return to Top
One-time adoption expenses, which, through the provisions of the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, may be at least partially reimbursed by states up to a maximum limit of $2000 to families adopting children with special needs. Allowable expenses for this reimbursement benefit can include the cost of a home study, adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, physical and psychological examinations, travel to visit with the child prior to the placement, and other expenses related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs.
   

-O-
 

 
  OPEN ADOPTION: An adoption that involves some amount of initial and/or ongoing contact between birth and adoptive families, ranging from sending letters through the agency, to exchanging names, and/or scheduling visits.
  Return to Top
 
 
  -P-  
  PATERNITY TESTING: Genetic testing that can determine the identity of the biological father; paternity testing can be done with or without access to the biological mother.
 
  PERMANENCY PLANNING: The systematic process of carrying out (within a brief, time-limited period) a set of goal-directed activities designed to help children live in permanent families by providing continuity of relationships with nurturing parents or caretakers and the opportunity to establish lifetime family relationships.
 
  PLACEMENT DATE: The time at which the child comes to live with the adopting parents, or in the case of "foster adoption", the point at which the formal status of the placement changes to adoption.
 
  POST-LEGAL ADOPTION SERVICES: Services provided subsequent to legal finalization of the adoption, which may be provided by social service agencies, private therapists, mental health clinics and self-help groups.
 
     
  POST-PLACEMENT SUPERVISION:


Return to Top
 
The range of counseling and agency services provided to the adoptive parents and adopted child subsequent to the child's adoptive placement and before the adoption is legally finalized in court; social worker reports of this "required supervisory period" are forwarded to the court.
 
  -Q-

Return to Top
 

-R-
 

No definitions at this time.

 

  RELINQUISHMENTS:


Return to Top
Voluntary termination of parental rights; sometimes referred to as a surrender or as making an adoption plan for one's child.
 
-S-


 
  SEARCH: An attempt, usually by birth parent, adopted person, or adoptive parent (but sometimes by volunteers or paid consultants) to make a connection between the birth parent and the biological child.
 
  STEPPARENT ADOPTION:

Return to Top
The adoption of a child by the new spouse of the birth parent.
     
  -T-  
  TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS:

Return to Top
The legal process that involuntarily severs a parent's right to a child.
 
-U-


Return to Top

No definitions at this time.
 
  -V-

Return to Top
No definitions at this time.
 
  -W-

Return to Top
No definitions at this time.
 
  -X-

Return to Top
No definitions at this time.
 
  -Y-

Return to Top
No definitions at this time.
 
  -Z-

Return to Top
No definitions at this time.
 


| Home | Family Law | Adoptions | Criminal Defense | Estate Planning | Mediation | Business| Contact Us |


Whitby Law Firm, P.A. 2008 <> Privacy Policy <>Terms of Use<>