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The adoption process is more than just the legal transferring of guardianship from birth parents to adoptive parents. It’s the creation or, rather, the expansion of family. Traditional definitions of family almost always include the child and his or her birth parents only. Today, that definition is expanding to include adoptive parents, creating an adoption triad.

This formation is a triangle symbol that demonstrates the relationship between birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees. In an open adoption, it represents the equal connection between the adoptee and his or her two families.

If you’re still confused, don’t worry! Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is here to explore each part of the adoption triad with you. Below, we break down all aspects of the triangle and explain its importance.

Members of the Adoption Triad

The adoption triad is composed of the three groups of people whose lives are joined as immediate members of an adoption family story.

  1. Adoptees – The most important part of the triad is the child placed for adoption. Adoptees are bonded and joined forever with both birth and adoptive parents. They have a connection to each set of parents in a deeper way than any other member of the triad could understand. From their adoptive parents, adoptees learn how to navigate through life. In contrast, they learn of their heritage through conversations or stories with their birth parents.
  2. Birth Parents – The birth parents, or sometimes referred to as “first” parents, are the biological parents of the adoptee. Sometimes there is not a lot known about them, but they’re still crucial to the triad. Without them, an adoption plan wouldn’t exist. Children who are placed for adoption will always be linked to their birth parents, for they are a massive part of an adoptee’s upbringing and existence.
  3. Adoptive Parents – These parents are the main caregivers of adoptees, and have crucial roles. With full parental and legal custody, adoptive parents are connected for life to their children through adoption. They are also forever linked to their child’s birth parents while navigating an open relationship.

While each member of the adoption triad experiences adoption in a different way, their roles are all equally important.

The Triad’s Importance

The adoption triad is a constant reminder of the components of adoption. It emphasizes the importance of putting the adopted child first. It shows that each member isn’t alone. Rather, they all share responsibility. The triad also displays that adoptive and birth parents are equal. No one is greater than the other! Here are the positives for each member of the adoption triad:

  1. Adoptees – In a working triad, adoptees are loved by so many. Their birth parents loved them enough to give them the best shot at life. Their adoptive parents love them with all their hearts. In open adoptions, children get to feel love from both sets of parents.
  2. Birth Parents – Birth parents do the best they can with what they have for their children. Choosing adoption is difficult, but they have to be strong and honest with themselves. Admitting that they are not in a position to care for their child takes an incredible amount of strength of character.
  3. Adoptive Parents – Adopting means fulfilling dreams of being a parent. Many adoptive parents have said that bringing home their adopted child was the happiest moment of their lives. Getting to share that love with their child’s birth parents makes the experience that much better.

The adoption triad forms a framework which ultimately provides a permanent placement that is in an adoptee’s best interest. While each triangle is unique, all three parties have a lifelong, unique relationship.

Adoption Choices of Oklahoma

If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).

Support Adoption Choices

CrowdriseAdoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.

However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.

About the Author

Patience Bramlett, a University of Southern Mississippi news editorial graduate, is a seasoned and award-winning freelance writer. She is also a passionate reader, whose only wish is to live life without fear of the unknown. Her motivation and inspiration to live her best life stems from the words of John Lennon:

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

This year, she’s officially joining Adoption Choices Inc. as a Content Writer. Fueled by her love of family, she hopes to educate those looking to grow their families through adoption.

When Patience is not exploring Colorado with her husband, she’s drinking coffee, forever figuring out how to tame her hair, growing her library, and trying to break into the publishing career.




“Adoption Triad Law and Legal Definition.” USLegal,

Anderson, Kristin. “The Adoption Triad – Adoption Magazine: Article, Adoptive Families, Parenting.” Adoption Magazine | Article, Adoptive Families, Parenting, 6 Oct. 2018,

“The Adoption Triad.” BraveLove, 9 July 2014,

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