Adoption A - Z

As with any formal process, there is plenty of jargon and acronyms. We created this glossary of the main terms that we heard until they became part of our own vocabulary. Other glossaries exist as does our trusted pal, Google, but this glossary will hopefully be a useful starter for prospective adopters in particular.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

 

ADM

The ADM is the Agency Decision Maker. This is the person who rubberstamps your approval as adopters. It usually takes around 2 to 4 weeks for your approval to be made official.

Approval Panel

A panel of professionals THAT you will go before in order to have your application for adoption approved. Led by a chair, the exact number of people will vary but expect at least 8.

Agency

This is the organisation you choose to adopt through. It could be a Local Authority Agency or a Voluntary Agency (like Barnardos)

 

Attachment

An emotional bond between one person and another, not always reciprocal. Attachment theory is concerned with relationships between humans and the secure and insecure attachments our experiences lead to.

Adoption Order

The adoption order gives adoptive parents full parental responsibility. The child(ren) must have lived with you for at least 10 weeks before you can apply for the adoption order.

B

 

Birth (parent)

This is the biological, rather than the adoptive parent.

 

C

Care order

A care order places a child under the care of the local authority.

 

D

 

DBS

A DBS is a mandatory Disclosure and Barring Service check that you will need to complete early in your assessment. It was previously known as a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau check).

F

Foster carer

Children removed from birth families are placed with foster carers until they are matched to adoptive parents. They are an incredibly important part of the children's lives and you will spend a lot of time in their home during introductions.

 

Family finding team

The family finding team are the social workers of children awaiting matches and placement.

 

G

 

Global development delay

Global development delay refers to a delay by children in hitting their physical and cognitive milestones. The categories under this umbrella term are social and emotional development, motor skills, cognitive skills, and speech.

I

 

Introductions

When you have been matched with a child or children, you will have a plan for introductions. Over the course of 7 to 14 days you will increase contact with your match and on the final day, they will move in and become part of your family.

 

Insecure attachment

The bond between the parent and child is based on fear.

L

 

Lifestory book

A life story book shares the history and significant events of a child's life. It is started by the child's social worker and is added to and developed by parents after the adoption placement.

 

Link maker

Link maker is an online portal of profiles for children and approved adopters seeking matches.

 

Looked after children

A child who is in the care of their local authority is known as a looked after child.

 

Letterbox contact

This is a formal and agreed arrangement of contact between birth parents (and sometimes other relatives) and adoptive parents. It's commonly an annual letter (non-personalised and non-identifiable) to provide progress updates. The letter is passed between the agency, who screen them before passing on.

 

M

Matching Panel

This is the panel that will approve the match between adopters and a child, or children. Present will be the adopter's social worker and the child's social worker.

 

N

 

Nurtured baby

A nurtured baby has experienced love, security and had their needs met since birth.

 

Neglected baby

A neglected baby has had only some, or none, of their needs met, have insecure attachments and may have experienced various levels of physical, social, or emotional abuse since birth.

P

 

PFAS

Partial fetal alcohol syndrome occurs when there is a history of prenatal alcohol exposure and some of the abnormalities are shown but the criteria for full diagnosis has not been met.

 

Parental responsibility

These are the rights and responsibilities of the parent, to their child(ren).

 

Placement order

A placement order is a court order that authorises a local authority to place a child for adoption.

 

Panel

You will go before two panels on your way to becoming a parent through adoption. First is the approval panel at the end of your assessment period, and second is matching panel when you have been linked to a suitable child or children.

 

PAR

PAR stands for Prospective Adopters Report. It is a long document your social worker writes at the end of your assessment sessions. You have the chance to read it and provide feedback before it is submitted to the approval panel a week or two before your panel date.

 

Post-adoption support

Additional support provided by agencies once a child has been placed and for the many years after placement.

 

PACE

PACE is a parenting approach focused on the whole child, not just behaviour. It stands for Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, and Empathy.

S

 

Secure attachment

A secure attachment occurs when a child feels protected by their parent or carer, knowing they will return.

 

T

 

Therapeutic parenting

Therapeutic parenting is a parenting style based around nurture. It is especially effective for children who have experienced trauma or have shown attachment difficulties.

 

Time-in

Time-in is the time between the child and parent when they have displayed negative behaviours. Rather than isolating them through time-out, time-in allows the child to discuss their feelings with their parent or caregiver.