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7 Adoption Definitions and Terms You Should Know

The adoption process and the terms associated with it can get pretty technical at the start. But, the whole journey can be rewarding once you hold your child in your arms for the first time.

This guide will give you a detailed rundown of seven adoption definitions you should know to help ease your mind and make every step as smooth as possible.

If you would like to know how to adopt a baby in Texas, then you can contact us online or call us at 1-800-ADOPTION to get free adoption information now. In the meantime, continue reading to learn some important adoption terminology.

The Definition of Adoption for Adoptive Parents

Adoption is the path adoptive parents take to start, grow or complete their family. Every adoption story is different, and it can start from various situations, such as:

Many adoptive parents describe their adoption as a gift.

Although some people choose adoption because it’s their only way to become parents, many others choose adoption with American Adoptions of Texas as a way to provide a loving home for a child whose birth parents cannot provide one themselves. 

Adoption can be challenging, but it can also be fulfilling. Your child is a daily reminder of the loving, selfless choice one birth mother made to give their child a better life.

6 Additional Adoption Definitions to Know

Just as there is no single definition of “adoption,” many other terms associated with the process have different meanings to different people. Below are six more important adoption definitions and terms you should know:


Being an adoptive parent is an identity that many wear with pride and love. This term also helps distinguish between parents who gave birth and parents who have chosen to adopt.

“Adoptee” or “Adopted”

Being an adoptee or “getting adopted” is when a family — other than the biological parents — legally adopts a child or adult.

In other words, the term “adopted” means loved because the birth mother made the enduring decision to give their child a life they knew would be best for them.

“Adoption Agency” or “Adoption Professional”

That’s who we are!

American Adoptions is a full-service, fully licensed national adoption agency ready to help you through every step of your adoption process.

We work throughout the country to create families. That means our families experience better adoption opportunities and receive greater financial assistance.

An adoption professional should be there for you every step of your adoption journey, offering encouragement, helpful advice and resources to ensure your process is as smooth as possible.

American Adoptions does just that. We can provide you with all the necessary resources and services for a successful infant adoption, such as:

“Home Study”

All hopeful adoptive parents must have an approved Texas home study before they can finalize the adoption of the infant.

The home study includes:

  • An in-home inspection

  • A review of documents, including birth certificates, health records and more

  • Background checks

  • Interviews with a social worker

  • And more

As a fully licensed adoption agency, American Adoptions can be the professional you need to complete your home study in Texas.

 “Adoption Disruption”

Though rare, an adoption disruption is the interruption of an adoption before finalization. Sometimes called a "failed adoption" or a "failed placement," this can happen for many reasons. But, one of the most common examples is when a prospective birth mother decides they want to raise the child themselves.

If this is the case, then an adoptive family may have already invested considerable money into the adoption.

Fortunately, American Adoptions is respectful of the prospective birth mother’s choice and protects the financial investment of hopeful adoptive families. You never have to worry about losing significant amounts of money because of our Risk-Sharing Program.

Since it began, this one-of-a-kind program has saved hopeful adoptive families more than $4.6 million.

An adoption disruption will be emotionally difficult, but, with American Adoptions, it doesn’t have to be financially difficult, too.

 “Open Adoption”

An open adoption can take on many forms of communication. It begins when a prospective birth parent chooses a family to adopt their child but doesn’t necessarily end after placement.

No two open adoptions are alike. An open adoption relationship can include:

  • Conducting pre- and post-placement visits

  • Exchanging pictures

  • Making regular video or phone calls

  • Writing each other emails or letters

  • Or whatever the prospective birth mother feels comfortable with

American Adoptions requires all our hopeful adoptive parents to agree to some level of openness with the prospective birth mother. This is so that the love and healthy relationship can carry on throughout the child’s life.


Adoption definitions may seem straightforward at first, but it’s important to remember that each term holds a special meaning for those involved in the process.

Adoption-related terms mean something different to everyone, but the adoption definitions in this article are a great place to start when you’re trying to understand more about the process.

If you have any further questions about how to define adoption and what the process is like, then you can contact us online or call us at 1-800-ADOPTION today to get more free information now.

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