For someone new to adoption, attempting to fully understand it may require a little more research than you might expect. As with most subjects, a good way to build a foundation for any additional research is by understanding the vocabulary that’s frequently used in that realm. To help build your foundation for further adoption information, we’ve compiled a few adoptive definitions—and gone a little more in depth with explanations than a dictionary typically will.
Adopting Definition/Adopt Definition
As per Merriam-Webster: To take by choice into a relationship; especially: to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one’s own child.
To define adoption as voluntarily taking on a child, however, is a bit simplistic. Adopting is growing your family. Adopting is, oftentimes, ending a painful battle with infertility and realizing that you can still have a baby—just not in the traditional method. Adopting is meeting a woman who’s in a painful position but is determined to do what’s best for her baby. Adopting is giving a child a chance at achieving any and all goals. To adopt isn’t to just voluntarily take on a child who happens to come your way; to adopt is to wait and to hope and to love.
As per Merriam-Webster: the act of adopting: the state of being adopted.
Again, the dictionary’s definition of adoption makes it sound pretty simple, but there’s a lot that goes into adoption. For adoptive families, it’s frequently a painful journey with infertility followed by a grieving process. And then there’s the initial decision to be made, an agency to find, home studies and adoptive family profiles to complete, figuring out how to pay for it all, and then waiting for a child. There’s a lot that goes into adoption.
For birth parents, as well, adoption is complex. Choosing adoption for her baby is the biggest (not to mention hardest) decision a woman will ever make. She then has to choose the family who will raise and love her child as their own and determine exactly how she’d like that process to happen. She must determine how much contact she’d like to have with her baby and his or her new adoptive family. She’ll go the rest of her life loving that baby and developing a relationship with the adoptive family she’s chosen.
As per Merriam-Webster:
- Made or acquired by adoption
- Of or relating to adoption
In the adoption realm, the word “adoptive” is typically followed by “family.” Adoptive families earn the title by adopting a child, but, again, it’s important to remember everything that goes into adoption.
We don’t need Merriam-Webster for this one. To be adopted is, obviously, to have been the child that was adopted in the adoption process. The simple definition of adopted doesn’t really say much, though. To be adopted is to know that your birth mother loved you so much that she made the ultimate sacrifice for you. To be adopted is to know that your parents waited and worked and hoped for you for a long time. To be adopted is to be surrounded by family — both birth and adoptive — who love you beyond words.
Adoption terms seem fairly straightforward when they’re defined in one sentence, but adoption is a complicated process. It’s important to remember that each of these terms mean so much more to those who have been a part of the adoption process. Simple definitions are a good place to start, but there’s so much more to learn about the beauty of adoption.