Adoption Terms


Adoption Plan – All the details involved in placing a child for adoption – from choosing the adoptive family to the level of contact you would like to maintain after the adoption is final.

Adoption Triad – There are three parties involved in every adoption – the child, the birth parent(s) and the adoptive family. When a child is placed for adoption, a kinship network is formed that includes the extended family of everyone in the triad. As with any family, simply being part of the network does not mean you are close to or communicate with every member of that network.

Birthmother – The woman who gives birth to the child being placed for adoption.

Birth plan – Details of the birthmother’s wishes for labor, delivery and the time following the birth.

Closed adoption – An adoption where there is no communication between the birth family and the adoptive family and child. Identifying information is not given to either party.

Kinship adoption – Where a member of the immediate or extended family of the child becomes the adoptive parent(s).

Home study – The process by which a potential adoptive family is screened and licensed.

Open Adoption – Where there is some degree of contact between the birth parent(s), adoptive family and child.

Post Placement Plan – The agreement reached between the birthparent(s) and the adoptive family regarding communication once the adoption is final.

Surrender – The official document signed by the birthparent(s) that transfers parental rights. This is the form that “finalizes” the adoption.

Temporary Care – Placement of the child with a licensed foster family for a short period, while an adoption plan is being considered.

Waiting Families – Potential adoptive families who have already been screened and licensed.