“ADOPTION-ESE” is a challenging language to master. And because it can be so emotionally loaded, we end up being on high-alert, eager to get it right. Here are a few basic definitions to help you navigate the adoption maze:
Expectant or Birth Parent
Basically, until baby is born and has been legally placed for adoption, we refer to a pregnant woman contemplating adoption, as an “Expectant Parent.” After placement, the term “Birth Mother” is typically used.
Placing Baby for Adoption
When an Expectant Mother chooses to make an adoption plan, she’s “placing her baby” for adoption, not “giving up her baby.” She’s making a deliberate and thoughtful choice to place her child into the care of the adoptive family she has chosen.
There are varying degrees of open adoption. In the most general sense, “open adoption” simply means that the Birth Mother and the Adoptive Parents know one another. It may also mean that they have agreed to exchange emails, phone calls and perhaps in-person visits until the child turns 18.
Be careful here, though. Just because Adoptive Parents say they want an “open adoption,” doesn’t necessarily mean they desire ongoing contact with you. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, we recommend that a “Post-Adoption Contact Agreement” (sometimes referred to as a “PACA”) be drafted. This document would contain the specific terms governing contact and would be drafted by a legal professional, reviewed with your attorney and signed by both the Adoptive Parents and the Birth Mother. Some states regard these agreements as legally enforceable, but many do not.