The legal transfer of all parental rights and obligations from one
person or couple to another person or couple.
An individual or couple who have chosen to adopt and have received
attorney that specializes in adoption. Some attorneys will process the
paperwork required for adoption only. Other attorneys will provide
advice on how to locate a birthmother, how to talk to her on the
phone, request medical history of the birthparents, get the
birthmother legal representation and counseling, and provide in depth
adoption related services.
Adoptive parents can work with either public agencies or private
agencies that offer a variety of services. There are international,
domestic infant and special needs adoption programs. Requirements and
services can vary amongst programs within the same agency.
Assisted Adoption: An
agency adoption where the agency will help the prospective adoptive
parents with locating a birthmother, possibly answering the phone and
providing a variety of services to the birthmother and the adoptive
parents. Most agencies today provide this type of adoption for
domestic infant adoption. If a birthmother approaches an agency, the
birthmother can review prospective adoptive parents biographies. The
prospective adoptive parents will do networking and advertising in an
effort to locate a birthparent will the help of the agency.
Facilitator: An un-licensed
or individual acting in behalf of adoptive parents to introduce
birthmothers to prospective adoptive parent to create an adoption
commitment between the parties. Facilitators usually find a suitable
birthmother to agree upon an adoption, and may or may not help
complete the adoption. They do not perform legal services,
counseling or home studies. Laws very state to state about their
many instances, their own life experience has brought facilitators
into the adoption field and have proven to be a valuable asset.
An individual or couple who has temporary care of a child, but has no
legal rights in determining many aspects of a child's life. Sometimes
foster parents become adoptive parents. The goal of foster care is to
return a child to their birth home unless the courts decide this is no
longer in the child's best interest.
A social investigation where a social
worker interviews prospective adoptive parents concerning their
background and their ability to raise a child. Often this is done in
a series of interviews, with at least one interview in the home. It
can also include information to help an individual or couple to
prepare for adoption. Homestudies can become "outdated". There is a
time period, usually 18 months, before a homestudy needs to be
Adoptive parents and birthparents find each other first and then go to
an agency or to an attorney to complete the adoption process.
An adoption that is not arranged by an agency is an independent
adoption. Independent adoption is legal in most states, but not all
states. With the advice of an attorney, a prospective adoptive parent
becomes pre-certified for adoption, sets up a phone line in their
home, does networking and advertising. The birthmother will contact
the prospective adoptive parents. An adoption attorney will speak to
the birthparent and help the birthparent find their own lawyer, and
assist with the legal aspects of the adoption. International
adoptions can also be independent adoptions.
Adoption: The adopted child comes from another country. The
countries with the most international adoptions are China, Russia,
Korea, Romania, Guatemala, India, Vietnam, Colombia, Philippines, and
Paraguay. Travel by the adoptive parents may or may not be required.
International adoption can be done with an agency or independently.
Approval must be obtained from both domestic and foreign governments.
The legal agreement between the states concerning a child living in
one state and going to another state to be adopted. Adoption paperwork
such as homestudies must be reviewed by the state the child is
residing in before the child can leave the state for its new home. An
attorney can file the paperwork.
An adoption that has identifying information shared. This can be at
the time the adoption takes place and/or while the child grows up. It
can be any where from minimal information like a photo and letter
being exchanged at the time of birth, to regular contact between
birthparents and adoptive parents and child. Open adoption occur with
Independent and Agency adoptions.
The legal process where prospective adoptive parents(s) submit to the
court their: homestudy, references, child abuse clearance,
fingerprints, medical status, employment verification and other
documents for the court to review. The court then approves the
prospective adoptive parents and issues a certificate that the
person(s) can adopt a child. The certificate stays with the court. The
is done for independent adoption. The paperwork is submitted by the
attorney. The same paperwork is usually required by an agency adoption.
Refers to many categories of children, including those with physical,
emotional, and medical disabilities, children over the ages of five,
or those in foster care. Special Needs children can also refer to
siblings that are trying to be placed together.
of parental rights: This
can be done as a voluntary process when birth parents consent to an
adoption. Termination of parental rights can also be done against the
will of the parents, if a state determines that it is in the best
interest of the child. A termination of parental rights is a legal
process and must be done before an adoption can be finalized.
An agency does all the work in locating a birthmother, counseling her
and providing all the necessary help for adoption to take place. The
birthmother may or may not pick the prospective adoptive parents from
biographical resumes. The adoptive parents may or may not have contact
with the birthparents.
Another term for children with special needs, especially children who
are in need homes to be adopted into. Usually the children are five
years old or older.
list of definitions are limited and only provides the basics for
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