About Adoption

We know that there is a lot of mystery around the process and misconceptions. We hope to be a resource to provide clarity. 

Types of Adoption

There are two over-arching types of adoption: open and closed. Each have its reasons, but Miriam’s Promise heavily advocates for some degree of an open adoption between birth families and adoptive families. 

Open adoption allows for some form of association among the birth parents, adoptive parents and the child they adopted. This can include picture and letter sharing, phone and video calls, or even intermediary or open contact among the parties themselves. Many adoptions of older children and teenagers are at least partially open since the children may already know identifying or contact information about members of their birth families, and may want to stay in touch with siblings placed separately.

This communication can also be facilitated through your case worker or Miriam’s Promise representative, if either part wishes to be somewhat removed from the process. 

 Closed adoptions are when no identifying information about the birth family or the adoptive family is shared between the two, and there is no contact between the families.  

As the adoptive family, you will receive non-identifying information about the child and birth family before he or she joins your family.  After your adoption is finalized, the records are sealed.  

Depending on local law and what paperwork was signed and filed when the adoption was finalized, these records may or may not be available to the adopted child when they reach 18.

Accurate Adoption Language

Words not only convey facts, they also evoke feelings. For example, when a TV show or movie contains language about a “custody battle” between “real parents” and “other parents”, this reinforces the inaccurate notion that only birthparents are real parents and that adoptive parents aren’t real parents. Members of society may also wrongly conclude that all adoptions are “battles”.

Accurate adoption language can stop the spread of misconceptions such as these. By using accurate language, we educate others about adoption. We choose emotionally “correct” words over emotionally laden words. We speak and write using appropriate adoption language in the hope of influencing others so that this language will someday become the norm. You can learn more about accurate adoption language on the National Council for Adoption website

ACCURATE LANGUAGE LESS-ACCURATE LANGUAGE
Birthparent/biological parent Real parent, natural parent
Birth child Own child, real child, natural child
My child Adopted child, own child
Person/Individual who was adopted Adopted child, own child
Born to unmarried parents Illegitimate
Make an adoption plan, choose adoption Give away, adopt out, give up, put up
To parent the baby/child To keep the baby
Child in need of a family Adoptable child/unwanted child
Parent Adoptive parent
Child who has special needs Handicapped child, hard to place
Was adopted Is adopted
Choosing an adoption plan Giving away your child
Finding a family to parent your child Putting your child up for adoption
Parenting the baby/child Keeping your baby
Confidential adoption Closed adoption
Unintended pregnancy Unwanted/problem pregnancy
Fully-disclosed adoption Open adoption
Semi-open adoption Open adoption