Some of the terms related to the adoption process can be confusing. Here is a list of several terms that can help you understand the language associated with adoption.

Adoption Decree: A legal order that finalizes an adoption to the adoptive parents

Adoption Plan: The expectations and intended outcome of the adoption. An arrangement made by the birth parents, which can state their wishes, such as open or closed adoption, and how much involvement they want with their child.

Adoption Triad: The child, birth parents, and adoptive parents make up the triad.

Birth father: The biological father who has consented to the adoption plan.

Birth mother: The biological mother who has consented to the adoption plan.

Finalization: The adoptive parents appear in court, asking to become the child’s legal parents. The judge grants the request if all is in order with the supervision, background, and so forth.

Home Study: Assessment of the adoptive parents’ ability to provide a healthy home. This provides information on the couple’s health, home life, financial standing, background information, and even about their extended families. The assessment is done by a licensed social worker and submitted to the agency and court as part of the adoption decree.

ICPC: ICPC stands for Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. When the birth mother and adoptive family reside in different states, both states must agree to the transfer before the adoptive family can take the child out of the state where he/she was born.

Matching: The process of linking the birth family with prospective adoptive families is usually based on the birth mother’s requests.

Putative Father Registry:  A putative father is a man who claims or is alleged to be the father of a child but has not established a legal relationship.

Relinquishment/Termination Papers: Legal documents that the birth parents must sign showing that they choose to place their child for adoption, and they terminate all legal rights to the child. These papers are signed no earlier than 48 hours after the child is born.