Adoption Terms You Must Know!

By Syd Sukalski

Are you an expectant mother thinking about adoption? Maybe you’re already into the adoption process, but you don’t understand all the adoption jargon everyone around you uses or why they use it. If you’re considering adoption in Nevada, you’ll want to understand all proper adoption terminologies. You’ll need to comprehend the process as it moves forward and ensures your language maintains respect for everyone involved. After all, adoption is about building a family. It’s about creating relationships and fostering a loving environment. We have to use Positive Adoption Language (PAL) so everyone involved feels comfortable and respected.

Before we talk about PAL and other necessary adoption vocabularies, let us introduce ourselves.

Adoption Choices of Nevada maintains adoption agencies all across the state. Our caring professionals want to help you create an adoption plan that best suits your needs and desires. Search for baby adoption in Reno, or check out our adoption agencies in Las Vegas to get started.

What is PAL?

Positive Adoption Language is the terminology we use during the adoption process to ensure that you, your birth child, and their new parents all feel valued and respected. PAL helps us see adoption optimistically, as we should. After all, adoption is an act of love. We want to make sure our language conveys that.

Placing Your Baby for Adoption

Let’s be clear: you are not “giving up a child for adoption.” Creating an adoption plan takes time and effort, thought, and care. By placing your baby for adoption, you are doing anything but “giving up.” So give yourself some credit! Don’t say you’re “giving your baby up for adoption.” Say you’re placing your baby for adoption or creating an adoption plan! We also avoid saying that you’re “putting your baby up for adoption” because this paints your child as an object. We want to steer clear of that too. In saying that you’re placing your child for adoption, you respect yourself and your child.

Parenting Your Child

Sometimes, if a birth mother decides that she would like to try raising her child rather than placing them for adoption, she or those around her say that she chooses to “keep her child.” This statement equates the child with a possession. So, instead, we say that the mother decides to “parent her child.”

Birth Parents

A child’s birth parents are their biological parents, not “real” parents. Adoptive parents, and birth parents, are all real. They all affect the child’s life. 

Birth Child

Your birth child is your biological child, and, as with the phrase “birth parents,” we use this instead of the term “real child.” Real parents, real children, nobody is “fake.”

Unexpected Pregnancy

You may have an unplanned pregnancy or an unexpected pregnancy, but you certainly don’t have an unwanted pregnancy. You may not be in a place where you can support a child, and that’s okay! But there is always someone out there who wants to love your child and bring them into their family. Every child is wanted and deserves to feel that way.


The ICPC, or Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, is a federal law. It is an agreement between all fifty US states to preserve the best interests of the adopted child if the child’s adoption takes them across state lines. 

Open Adoption

Open adoption is one of the three types of adoption, which differ in the level of communication between the birth parents and the adoptive parents. An open adoption allows the birth mother to select which family will adopt her child. She also gets to communicate openly with this family after the adoption is complete. In an open adoption, the birth mother and her child’s parents will work together to determine boundaries and schedule visits.

Closed Adoption

A closed adoption is the opposite of an open adoption. In a closed adoption, the birth mother has no contact with the child or their parents after the adoption. Your adoption agency holds the identities of the adoptive parents and birth parents confidential. This type of adoption is a good choice for a birth mother who feels that her child would benefit the most from an entirely fresh start in their new life.

Semi-Open Adoption

A semi-open adoption is the final type of adoption. In this type of adoption, all communication between the adoptive parents and birth parents occurs through the adoption agency. Semi-open adoption is for a birth mother who doesn’t want to be heavily involved in her child’s life but would like to check on them every once in a while.

Private Adoption

Contrary to how it sounds, private adoption is not a type of adoption. It is a type of adoption agencyAdoption Choices of Nevada is a private adoption agency, meaning that the state of Nevada has licensed us to help birth mothers create adoption plans and find new homes for their children. The alternative to private adoption is “public adoption,” also known as court termination.

Court Termination

Court termination is the Positive Adoption Language term for the common phrase “her child was taken away.” But this phrase connotes a shamefulness that should not be impressed upon the birth mother. It implies failure where there is none. Not everyone can take care of a child, and that’s okay.

Understanding PAL

Adoption is a beautiful thing. It creates families and spreads love and joy. By placing your baby for adoption, you do a noble, generous, and loving thing for everyone involved. So, give yourself and everyone else the proper credit and use Positive Adoption Language. 

If you have questions about Positive Adoption Language or baby adoption in RenoAdoption Choices of Nevada is here to help. We respect and value you and want to help you in any way we can. So please, give us a call.

Adoption Choices of Nevada has been providing adoption and surrogacy services across Nevada since 2012. You can call us to speak to someone now. Contact Us 24/7: 855-940-4673 (Toll-Free) | 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas) | 775-825-4673 (Reno) | 775-884-4673 (Carson City).