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Oklahoma Adoption Terms to Know

By Felix Miyago 

Learning about adoption can be overwhelming for birth mothers considering giving their baby up for adoption. Adoption Choices of Oklahoma wants to help alleviate concerns and worries for mothers seeking unplanned pregnancy help. We have adoption agencies in Oklahoma with staff who are experienced in helping birth mothers find adoptive parents. 

It’s important to note, that for birth mothers conducting research about adoption and talking with adoption agencies, there is a lot of terminology used. To help address the concern, we’ve created a glossary to provide clarity and understanding. 

Adoptee – An individual who has joined a family through the adoption process. 

Adoption assistance – Adoption subsidy or adoption assistance, is when the federal or state government provides monthly subsidy payments to help adoptive parents raise their children with special needs.  

Adoption agency – A licensed organization legally authorized to help families seeking adoption for children and assistance with the adoption process. There are administrative staff, social workers, and adoption specialists involved in the adoption agency. 

Adoption disruption – Before the adoption process is finalized, the agreement is terminated or interrupted after the child is placed with the adoptive family. 

Biological child – The child is genetically related to the biological parent. 

Birth parent – The child’s biological parent, either the mother or father, who is genetically related to the child. 

Finalization – Legal process to complete an adoption; occurs after the period of foster care or guardianship. 

Foster – A child, qualifying as a minor, is placed in a caregiver facility that’s been state-licensed. The child is taken into the state’s custody and removed from their home due to safety issues with the parents. The safety concerns might include abuse, neglect, or an unsafe home environment for the child. 

Home study – This process for prospective adoptive families involves documents such as medical, employment, tax, marriage certificates, and background checks. All of these papers are necessary to ensure the family is suitable for adoption. In addition, there will be a follow-up for an in-person home visit to evaluate the environment and living conditions. 

Legal guardian – A trusted individual granted legal responsibility for the child if the child’s birth parents are absent. 

ICPC – Interstate Compact for Placement of Children, ICPC for short, tracks the movement of foster and adoptive children from state to state. This is an agreement from the agency to ensure there are requirements for the adoption process for the child. These measures are to ensure the child moving from state to state is safe and the process is approved. 

ICWA – Indian Child Welfare Act, ICWA for short, is a federal law enacted to grant sovereignty for the welfare of children as tribal members or eligible for tribal membership. 

International adoption – This type of adoption is when an individual or a couple becomes the permanent and legal caretaker of a child who is originally in another country. This means the adoptive parent(s) are residing in a different country from their adopted child. 

Kinship adoption – The child is adopted through a relative of the birth parent. This could include grandparents, aunts, uncles, or an older sibling. 

Legal guardian – A trusted individual granted legal responsibility for the child if the child’s birth parents are absent. 

Open adoption – Both the birth mother and adoptive family have each other’s personal information and the option to stay in contact.

Private adoption – Also known as independent adoption, this allows the adoptive parents and the birth parents to agree on the adoption without any agencies involved.

Relinquishment – Legal process when the parent voluntarily gives up their parental rights, so adoptive families can obtain rights. 

Semi-open adoption – The communication between the birth parents and adoptive family is limited and is typically facilitated through a third party. 

Transracial – The adoptee’s ethnicity or race differs from the adoptive parents. 

TPR – Termination of Parental Rights, TPR for short, is the legal process that requires the birth parent’s rights to their child to be removed. This is necessary for the adoption process to continue proceeding. 

If you are a birth mother looking to place their baby up for adoption, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma wants to provide resources about adoption. We want to support you in the adoption process and connect with prospective adoptive families for you. We want to help give you confidence and understanding when making your decision.

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