Select Page

Adoption Glossary for Birth Mothers

By Staren Henry

Dealing with an unplanned, unexpected, or teen pregnancy can be overwhelming for a birth mother. If you’re considering adoption, you may feel even more disoriented and stressed by the sheer amount of information out there. Perhaps you’re even worried that you’ll make a mistake when putting your child up for adoption. 

Take a deep breath! We at Adoption Choices of Texas want to make sure that you understand the terms used in your adoption. We will work with you to make sure you feel up to speed. Below are some common and important terms to know when placing your baby for adoption. Feel free to refer to this list as often as you need to. 

Glossary of Adoption Terms


This is when the birth mother, you, places your child in the care of another family (adoptive family). This includes willingly terminating your parental rights of your child. 

Adoption Agency

Adoption agencies (both private and public) are organizations that help guide the adoption process. Their goal is to help the mother through the adoption process with the resources she may need. In addition, they work with adoptive parents and children.

If you are considering adoption in Dallasadoption in Houston or adoption in AustinAdoption Choices of Texas can help you create an adoption plan.

Adopted Child

Any child placed with an adoptive family through the adoption process

Adoption Attorney

An attorney specializing in the legal side of adoption. They will guide you and the adoptive family in legal matters concerning the adoption, so you feel more at ease. 

Adoptive Parent/Family

The family you choose to raise your child. You will be given pre-screened families to choose from. 

Adoption Plan

Working with an adoption caseworker, the adoption plan is an outline of your wishes for your child’s adoption. 

Adoption Process

Refers to the steps followed to complete and finalize your adoption.

Type of Adoption

The 3 types — open, semi-open, or closed, refer to the amount of post-placement contact you’ll maintain with your child and their adoptive family.  

Closed Adoption

A closed adoption is an adoption where the identity of the birth parents is not given to the adoptive parents or the adopted child. There is also no maintained contact post-placement. 

Open Adoption

In contrast to closed adoption, contact information is shared between the birth parents, child, and adoptive family in order to maintain contact. 

Birth Father

The biological father of the child. 

Birth Mother

The biological mother of the child. In this instance, you. 

Birth Parent Counselor

Or adoption caseworker. They will aid you throughout the adoption process. This includes the creation of an adoption plan, providing pre-screened adoptive parent profiles, and facilitating any meetings with the couple or individual you choose to be your child’s adoptive family.

If you live in the Dallas area, we have adoption agencies in Dallas with excellent caseworkers ready to assist you.  

Foster Care

A form of adoption in which the child is removed from their birth parent’s care for abuse or other reasons. They are then usually placed in a group home or with a foster family. 

Foster Parent

They provide temporary care for a child in foster care and are typically licensed by the state or an agency. 

Transition Period

Thai refers to the time frame in which a child is placed with their adoptive parents, but the adoption is not yet finalized. 


The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is a set of laws concerning the movement of children across state lines for adoption. This is to ensure the welfare of the child and that all legal requirements of the adoption have been met. 


The legal process of completing an adoption, which includes obtaining the adoption decree. 

Adoption Decree

The adoption decree is a legal document that is issued by a court. This finalizes the adoption, stating that the adoptive parents have full legal and parental rights for the adopted child.

Relinquish or Relinquishment

Relinquishment is when you officially sign away your parental rights. This allows your child to be legally adopted by their adoptive family. No one can force you into this decision, and it is completely voluntary. 

We at Adoption Choices of Texas are Here to Help

It is easy to feel overwhelmed, but do know that we are here to support you. Adoption is an act of love and is not “giving up” your baby, and our agency is committed to making your plans a reality. If, at any point during your adoption, you feel that you need additional clarification, please do not hesitate to ask us. We assist birth mothers all across Texas, including adoption in Austin. As an expectant woman or birth parent, to learn more about adoption, contact Adoption Choices of Texas. You can call us at 945-444-0333, text us at 945-444-0333, or email us here. If you are hoping to adopt, please visit us here. We look forward to helping you through your adoption journey!

Contact Us 24/7

Call or Text Us:

Call or Text 24 hours a day,
including weekends.

Email Us

Share This

Serving Expectant Parents Statewide
Birth Parent Hotline: 945-444-0333 (Call  24/7)

 Or Text: 945-444-0333

Adoptive Parents instead, call: 832-971-1358

Para español llamar: 888-510-5029

With Offices in:
AustinDallasHouston | San Antonio
Email Us | LGBTQ Friendly