When a pregnant woman contacts Adoption STAR for help with making an adoption plan, we recognize that the decision to contact us in and of itself can be both very emotional and difficult. Adoption STAR works with pregnant women to explore adoption (as well as other options) in an effort to help women make a final decision.
In Adoption STAR’s eyes, clients that are pregnant women are typically referred to as “expectant parents,” as pregnancy itself is a form of parenting. Adoption STAR encourages expectant parents to be as involved in the adoption process as they wish to be and views the creation of an adoption plan for a child as a form of parenting, too. However, until the baby is born and the legal paperwork is signed, the pregnant person needs to be considered an “expectant parent.”
If a client gives birth and does decide to complete their adoption plan (by ultimately signing the legal paperwork involved and placing the child), then they become known as “birth parents.”
Throughout our website and in our print materials, you will see that both “expectant parent” and “birth parent” are terms used throughout to respect the different stages our clients may be at and to emphasize the important of receiving services before and after birth.
Different people have different comfort levels with various adoption-specific terms. Regardless of individual feelings about a term or terms, we feel it’s important to draw a distinction between a woman who is pregnant and considering adoption versus a woman that’s ultimately placed a child for adoption. From our perspective, referring to a pregnant woman who’s considering adoption as a “birth parent” is presumptuous and inaccurate.