Domestic Adoption Glossary

A Child to Love

With over 28,000 Texas children in foster care, the need for a program such as "A Child to Love" is profound. The objective of this campaign is to find permanent homes for children currently in the Texas Foster Care System who are available for adoption. Waiting children are featured on Gladney's A Child to Love Web site.


A person who joins a family via adoption.

Adoption Caseworker

She is your advocate during your entire adoption experience at Gladney. She may visit with you during orientation. If Gladney will be conducting your home study, she may contact you to schedule your office interview once your file is complete. She will have reviewed your entire file prior to this interview. This meeting usually lasts four to six hours and includes a joint interview and individual interviews. Once your home study has been approved, she will help you in locating possible matches. She will provide placement preference guidance regarding a potential match. Your caseworker will also coordinate and/or conduct your home study, assist with adoptive placement, post-placement supervision and finalization of your adoption.

Adoption Decree

The document issued by the court upon finalization of an adoption, stating that the adoptee is the legal child of the adoptive parents.

Adoption Plan

The unique, individual plan a particular set of birth parents makes for the adoption of their child.

Adoption Triad

The three primary parties affected by an adoption: the birth parents, the child and the adoptive parent(s).


Adoptive Parent


Birth Parent

Closed Adoption

An adoption where there is no contact between birth parents and adoptive parents. Also called traditional adoption.


Crisis Pregnancy Centers (also known as Pregnancy Centers) are non-profit organizations established by pro-life supporters that work to persuade pregnant women to give birth rather than have an abortion. Most CPCs are in the United States, and are usually affiliated with pro-life Christian organizations.


The Child Protective Services Division investigates reports of abuse and neglect of children. It also:

  • Provides services to children and families in their own homes;
  • Places children in foster care;
  • Provides services to help youth in foster care make the transition to adulthood; and
  • Places children in adoptive homes.

Manager of Adoption Services

Supervises the adoption caseworkers for all Domestic infant programs. She assists the Executive Vice President of Adoption in problem-solving and staffing difficult cases. She is a resource for families, assists in matching as well as supervises the home study process.


A child leaves the adoptive home prior to the finalization of the adoption. This can occur in three situations: (1) the birth parents revoke their consent to the adoption; (2) the adoptive parents choose to return the child for reasons of their own; or (3) the agency disrupts the adoption if the adoptive parents are not complying with post placement requirements or are endangering the child in any way.


The court hearing which results in the adoption decree. This is the moment when the adoptee becomes the permanent, legally adopted child of the adoptive parents. In Texas, this cannot occur less than 6 months after the adoption.

Foster Care

A temporary arrangement whereby persons other than the birth parents care for a child for a period of time. This can be informal or arranged through the courts or a social service agency.

Foster Adoption

A form of adoption where a child is placed into a home as a foster child, but, is eventually, legally adopted by the foster parents.

Home Study

A three-part process required before a child can be placed with a family for foster care or adoption: (1) Written portion includes autobiographies, references, medical reports, financial statements, child abuse and criminal clearances and other written materials; (2) Social work process includes a series of visits in the applicants' home to discuss a variety of issues from the applicant's background to their motivations to adopt and their understanding of adoption and parenting; (3) Educational process includes training in adoption and parenting issues. The end result of this process is a written document completed by a licensed agency giving a summary of the applicant's family life. This document indicates approval of the applicant for adoption (or foster care). It must be updated annually.

Identified Adoption

In this type of adoption, the birth mother has identified the family whom she wishes to adopt her child.

Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)

The Interstate Compact is an organization with members in all 50 states that must give its approval to any child moving from one state to another for the purpose of adoption, foster care or residential care. The ICPC 100A form must be approved by both the child's state of origin (sending state) and the state where the child will live (receiving state) before the child can cross state lines. In an interstate adoption, the agency with custody of the child is responsible for processing the interstate paperwork.

Legal Risk Adoption

An adoption where the child to be adopted is placed with the prospective adoptive parents prior to the termination of the birth parents' rights. This means that the birth parents could revoke their consents to the adoption and the child would have to be returned to the birth parents.


National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is a nonprofit research, education, and advocacy organization whose mission is to promote the well-being of children, birth parents, and adoptive families by advocating for the positive option of adoption.

New Beginnings

The Gladney Center for Adoption extended its commitment to children and families in 2000 by creating the New Beginnings Program. We believe that all children deserve loving, permanent homes. The New Beginnings Program serves families who share this belief and are able to open their hearts and homes to a child who is:

  • Currently in state foster care in Texas and available for adoption
  • An older child, 5 years old and older, available for adoption
  • Medically fragile

Open Adoption

An adoption which allows for some form of association between the birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents. This can range from picture and letter sharing, to phone calls, to contact through an intermediary, to open contact between the parties themselves. Often last names, addresses, and telephone numbers typically are exchanged and the birth parent/s, the adoptive family, and, in some cases, the child may visit on a regular basis. In a fully open adoption, the birth parent/s and the adoptive family know each other and have ongoing communication about the child


Placement occurs when the child moves into the home of the adoptive parent(s).

Private or Independent Adoption

An adoption which is arranged without the involvement of an agency. Often an intermediary, such as an adoption attorney, is involved.

Program Assistant

She will process your adoption paperwork and prepare your adoption file for your home study. Files are distributed to caseworkers according to your location.

Putative Father Registry

A mechanism that allows birth fathers to identify themselves for the purpose of establishing their legal right to notifications should an adoptive plan be under consideration for their child


The giving-up of custodial and legal rights to a child by a birth parent. This is a legally binding, permanent procedure involving the signing of legal documents and court action.


Respite care is short term care that helps a family take a break from the daily routine and stress. It can be provided in the client's home or in a variety of out of home settings. Respite care is an essential part of the overall support that families may need to keep their child with a disability or chronic illness at home.

Executive Vice President of Adoption

Oversees all the Domestic Adoption and International Adoption programs.

Termination of Parental Rights

A process involving a court hearing whereby a judge enters a decree permanently ending all legal parental rights of a birth parent to a child. This must occur before a child is considered to be "legally free" for adoption.

To learn more about adopting from Gladney's Domestic Adoption Programs, please request one of Gladney's free, comprehensive Adoption Information Packets. Make your request on-line or by calling 1-800-687-3097.


Gladney Center for Adoption
6300 John Ryan Drive | Fort Worth, Texas 76132-4122

Headquarters: 817-922-6000   Pregnant?: 1-800-GLADNEY
International Adoptions: 1-800-INT-ADOP
Domestic Adoptions: 1-800-687-3097
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