From Heart to Home Kansas Infant Adoption Program
Common Adoption Terms
Adoption: A legal process in which parental rights of a child are
granted to adoptive parents.
Adoptee: A person who is legally placed with an adoptive family.
Adoption agreement: The agreement in which the adoptive parent(s)
and birth parent(s) put into writing their understanding of the terms of an adoption
– including the degree of communication and contact they will have with each other
and with the adopted child.
Adoption Attorney: A professional who handles the necessary legal
functions involved with the placement of children with families or individuals who
are approved for adoption. In most instances, attorneys are able to provide additional
adoption related services such as re-adoption.
Adoption Certificate/Decree: Also known as the Certificate of Adoption,
this is the document that is signed by the presiding Judge upon finalization of
the adoption. This official document allows for a new birth certificate to be issued
for the adopted child by the appropriate authority. This new birth certificate will
reflect the child’s new information (name, adoptive parents, etc.) and will replace
the original birth certificate.
Adoptive Parent: An individual who is granted parental rights for
a child through a proper legal channel.
Birthfather: Any man that is the biological father of a child that
is placed for adoption.
Birthmother: Any woman that is the biological mother of a child
that is placed for adoption.
Finalization: The stage in the adoption process when the court
awards the Petition to Adopt to the adoptive parents. For international adoption,
finalization means that the judge has granted the adoptive family parental rights
to the child – the adoption is finalized.
Home Study: The in-depth review prospective adoptive parents must
go through to be able to legally adopt. A home study typically includes evaluations
of the adoptive parents’ relationship, inspections of their residence, parenting
ideals, medical history, employment verification, financial status, and criminal
Matching: The process of combining the best interest of the child
with qualified adoptive parents. The best interest of the child is determined by
the birthparent or legal guardian of the child.
Non-Identifying Information: Secondary information that is made
available to adoption-related parties that does not include identifying information.
Open Adoption: Birthparents and adoptive parents in the process
of an adoption are given information that could be used to identify them.
Placement: Describes the point in time when the child goes to live
with his/her legal adoptive parents.
Post-Placement Supervision: Upon placement, a caseworker will be
assigned to complete post-placement supervision of the adoptive family. The caseworker
will visit the home several times during a set period of time (according to state
requirements) to determine if adoption of the child was in the “best interests of
Placing for Adoption: The birthparents decide to make their child
available for another family to adopt. This decision can be extremely difficult,
and friends and family around the birthparents often add pressure both for and against
such a decision. When deciding what to do, the birthparents will often use the services
of a social worker.
Relinquishment: When a birthparent voluntarily forfeits his or
her parental rights to a child. The parental rights are typically transferred to
an agency, rather than directly to the new adoptive parents.