Adoption Glossary: A Birth Mother’s Guide to Adoption Terms and Phrases

By Edward Harding

Placing your baby for adoption can be a confusing and, at times, overwhelming procedure. It’s critical for all parties to understand how adoption processes function in order to avoid future legal issues. However, educating yourself is the first step towards reducing the stress you may experience during this time. We at Adoption Choices of Colorado have prepared a handy list of the most common terminology. Using this guide will not only help you to better navigate through the process but feel secure in your decision.

If you need adoption help now, please call or text us at 303-670-4673 (HOPE) or visit us at Adoption Choices of Colorado.

Common Adoption Agency Phrases     

Are you pregnant and considering adoption? These are some of the most common phrases you will encounter when choosing adoption in Colorado.     

  • Adoption Plan: A customized document detailing the goals and desires of birth parents throughout the adoption process.   
  • Adoptive Family: The legal mother and father of an adopted child. Adoptive parents share no genetic traits.      
  • Birth Mother: Identified simply as the biological mother of a child. Birth mothers share genetic makeup with the child.     
  • Birth Father: The biological father of a child. Birth fathers share genetic makeup with the child.   
  • Birth Plan: An official document that details your desires during birth. Often birth plans will define specifics regarding child care. For example, you will be able to dictate how many contacts you have with your child before consenting to the adoption.
  • Home Study: An examination of a prospective adoptive family. Often home studies report on the family’s financial status, living situation, and marriage. In an open adoption, home studies are curated to the birth parent’s personal requirements in addition to state regulations.             
  • Post Placement Support: A variety of counseling services are offered by an adoption agency. Post-placement support is offered to birth mothers after a child has been placed under adoption. Adoption Colorado post-placement often includes support groups or one on one therapy. 
  • Relinquishment: The legally bonding cessation of parental rights voluntarily given up by a child’s birth parents. This is required for the adoption to take place.                     
  • Surrogacy: Another term for adoption. Birth parents agree to relinquish the care of a child to another family who becomes the child’s legal guardian.   

Types of Adoption in Colorado  

Gaining knowledge of these terms can help you to zero in on what type of plan may be best for you.        

  • Closed adoption: Birth parents who choose this plan to waive the right to know the adoptive family for their child. The birth mother will also have no further contact with the child after birth or with the adoptive family.  
  • Domestic Adoption: General classification for adoption by surrogate families or parents. 
  • Infant adoption: An option that places a child under adoption after birth. Infant adoption only applies to children younger than one year of age.    
  • Newborn adoption: With this method, birth parents declare intent to place a child under adoption upon birth.      
  • Open adoption: Choosing this plan gives you the right to know who the adoptive family is for your child. You will have a chance to meet the family in advance of placement. You can also choose to remain in contact after placement. We at Adoption Choices of Colorado specialize in this form of adoption plan.         
  • Semi-open adoption: Choosing this method allows for limited interactions between the adoptive family and birth parents. Future contact with the child is allowed but is controlled and often regulated by the adoption agency during planning.      

Colorado Adoption Laws

Colorado adoption agencies must comply with a variety of rules and regulations in order for the process to be valid under Federal law. Here are some of the most common legal terms and laws that will come up during your adoption planning.         

  • Adoption Finalization: A court proceeding that transfers legal custody of a child to the adoptive family. Evidence of this proceeding is signified by the adoption certificate, which is awarded to the new adoptive family.
  • ICPC: The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children. This law regulates the transfer of children across state lines and is observed by every state in the U.S. Each state requires specific documentation that must be submitted in order to verify the child will be placed into a secure new home.  
  • ICWA: Indian Child Welfare Act- Enacted in 1978, this law applies additional regulations to childcare court proceedings involving children from recognized Native American tribes. The law serves to protect from systematic abuses and removal of Native American culture by adoption agencies.         
  • Interstate Adoption: The transfer and eventual placement of a child in a state outside of its birth.     
  • The Secure Act: Enacted in 2020, this law allows for penalty-free withdrawals from retirement plans that are used solely to pay for adoption costs. The withdrawal is only covered under the law in amounts of $5,000 or less.    

Considering Adoption in Colorado?

If you have any further questions regarding adoption terms not listed, don’t hesitate to ask your adoption specialist for clarification. At Adoption Choices of Colorado, we believe in full transparency and understanding for all parties involved in the adoption process. We want your experience with us to be a positive one. As a result, we will always strive to provide you with the best information possible.   

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and want to learn more about your adoption options, contact Adoption Choices of Colorado by email, phone, or text: Email Us, Text us: 720-371-1099, Call us: 303-670-4673 (HOPE). If you are hoping to adopt, please contact us here.

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