An organization, usually licensed by the State, that
provides services to birth parents, adoptive parents, and children
who need families. Agencies may be public or private, secular or
religious, for profit or nonprofit.
A legal professional who has experience with filing,
processing, and finalizing adoptions in a court having jurisdiction.
For an adoption attorney referral in your state, you
can look in your phone book under "American Bar Association" or
American Academy of Adoption Attorneys
P.O. Box 33053
Washington, DC 20033-0053
World Wide Web:
Phone Number (202) 832-2222
Anyone who helps with the placement of a child, but
specifically someone who makes it his or her private business to
Individual whose business involves connecting birth
parents and prospective adoptive parents for a fee (only allowed in
a few States).
The point at which a child begins to live with
prospective adoptive parents; the period before the adoption is
The three major parties in an adoption: birth
parents, adoptive parents, and adopted child. Also called "adoption
triangle" or "adoption circle."
A child's biological parent.
An adoption that involves total confidentiality and
Consent to adopt (or consent to adoption)
Legal permission given by the birthparent for the
adoption to proceed.
Voluntary termination of parental rights; sometimes
referred to as a surrender or as making an adoption plan for one's
Decree of adoption
A legal order that finalizes an adoption.
The final legal step in the adoption process;
involves a court hearing during which the judge orders that the
adoptive parents become the child's legal parents.
A feeling of emotional deprivation or loss. Grief
may be experienced by each member of the adoption triad at some
An adoption facilitated by those other than
caseworkers associated with an agency. Facilitators may be
attorneys, physicians, or other intermediaries. In some States
independent adoptions are illegal.
A feeling of emotional deprivation that is
experienced at some point in time. For a birth parent the initial
loss will usually be felt at or subsequent to the placement of the
child. Adoptive parents who are infertile feel a loss in their
inability to bear a child. An adopted child may feel a sense of loss
at various points in time; the first time the child realizes he is
adopted may invoke a strong sense of loss for his birth family.
Residences for pregnant women. The number of homes
has decreased over the past three decades, and existing homes often
have a waiting list of women. The women who live in a maternity home
may pay a small fee or no fee to live in the home and they often
apply for public assistance and Medicaid payments.
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
Genetic testing that can determine the identity of
the biological father. Paternity testing can be done with or without
access to the biological mother.
Post-legal adoption services
Services provided subsequent to legal finalization
of the adoption. There are primarily four types of post-legal
service providers: social service agencies, private therapists,
mental health clinics and self-help groups.
Generally regarded to be true.
Legal term for the alleged or supposed father of a
Putative father registries
Registry system that serves to ensure that a
birthfathers' rights are protected. Some states require that
birthfathers register at these facilities, while other states
presume that he does not wish to pursue paternity rights if he
doesn't initiate any legal action. We can provide you with a list of
states that have putative father registries.
This material has been
reproduced from the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse.