This 'help' page is not intended to be a FAQ - (a comprehensive document of Frequently Asked Questions).
It is intended to give some basic terms of reference for those new to the Adoption Process.


Family - A grouping with identifiable members that belong together, through birth and/or legal heritage.

Adoptive Family - exactly like family, but with particular reference to those family members who have arrived through the legal Adoption Process.

Adopter - Those adult's who have legally adopted.

Adoptee - All those who have been legally Adopted.

Birth Family - Families who have had children placed for legal Adoption.

Adoption Circle - The main respondants (Adopters, Adoptees, Birth Families, Professionals), of the Adoption Process.

Legal Adoption - Adoption that will be or has been ratified by the Courts.

Social Workers - those Professionals involved in dealing with, amongst many other things, children and their families.

Adoption Agency Professionals - those Professionals specialising in the whole legal Adoptive Process, (pre- and post-adoptive), and concerned with supporting all the various respondants in the Adoption Circle. They may also be and frequently are employed as (in the UK) Local Authority Social Workers.

Local Authorities - For the UK, the country is split into geographical areas named Local Authorities. These Authorities have certain statutory legal obligations regarding the children living within their boundaries. These obligations extend to all children, no matter where they may be officially domiciled.

Most of these Local Authorities also manage their own Adoption departments. All have their own Fostering departments. Sometimes, for expediency reasons, the two departments are combined. This does not mean that Fostering and Adoption are the same. They are not.

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