A-Z Glossary

Many adoption, foster care and child welfare vocabulary are subject to interpretation. This glossary identifies commonly held definitions for terminology that can be found in the field. It defines common acronyms and provides comprehensive definitions for a broad range of terms. The glossary will be updated as new terminology emerges in the field and as new legislation is enacted.

There are 13 names in this directory beginning with the letter E.
Eating Disorder
An eating disorder is a psychological disorder characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. Eating disorders are a group of serious conditions where the individual is preoccupied with food and weight. The most common types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. Most people with eating disorders are females, but males can also have eating disorders. An exception is binge-eating disorder, which appears to affect almost as many males as females. Eating disorders can cause serious physical problems and can be life-threatening. Treatments for eating disorders should involve psychotherapy, nutrition education, family counseling, medications, and may require hospitalization.
Emancipation from foster care occurs when young people have "aged out" of out-of-home care and left the foster care system.
The United States has an Embassy or Consulate in countries where it currently maintains diplomatic relations. An Embassy can fulfill all exit requirements/visas for an adopted child. A Consulate can handle most of the exit requirements and the adoptive family may need to travel to the country’s US Embassy later to complete exit requirements.
Emotional Disturbance
Severe, pervasive or chronic emotional condition that prevents a child from performing everyday tasks. This condition is characterized by an inability to build or maintain relationships, inappropriate behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances, a pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression or a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears related to personal or school problems. Children may require special classrooms and teachers trained to help children with these special needs. School systems may have varying "levels" and processes for educational planning.
Employer Assistance
Adoption benefits provided to employees by employers which may include direct cash assistance for adoption expenses, reimbursement of approved adoption expenses, paid or unpaid leave, (beyond federal leave requirements established through the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993) and resource and referral services. For a list of employers who provide benefits, call the National Adoption Center at (800)-TO-ADOPT.
Epilepsy is a disorder that results from the surges in electrical signals inside the brain, causing recurring seizures. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others have convulsions. It is not uncommon to experience an unprovoked seizure once in one’s lifetime. Having one seizure does not mean someone has epilepsy or another seizure disorder. Epilepsy affects 1-2% of the population of the United States. About 125,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed each year, and a significant number of children and adults that have not been diagnosed or treated have epilepsy. Treatment usually includes medications. Some children show no symptoms as they get older and some develop epilepsy later in life.
Equitable Adoption
The legal process used in some states to establish inheritance rights of a child, when the prospective adoptive parent had entered into an oral contract to adopt the child and the child was placed with the parent but the adoption was not finalized before the parent died.
An individual or group who supervise the transit of children from sending to receiving countries.
Evaluation of Family Progress
The stage of the CPS case process where the CPS caseworker measures changes in family behaviors and conditions (risk factors), monitors risk elimination or reduction, assesses strengths and determines case closure.
Exempt Provider
A social work professional or organization that only performs a home study or a child background study in the United States in connection with a Hague Convention adoption, and does not provide any of the other adoption services. However, the home study performed, must subsequently, be approved by an accredited adoption service provider.
Exit Visa/Process
The process/paperwork required for a child who has been adopted and now needs travel and immigration documents from the source country and the US Embassy before leaving the country (passport) and entering the US (immigrant visa). As a part of the immigrant visa application/exit process, the child will be examined by a U.S. approved foreign physician, to ensure that the child does not have a medical condition that the adoptive parents were uninformed about.
Expectant Parent
The term "expectant parent" is the preferred term over birth parent. One becomes a birth parent when their parental rights have been terminated. At Adoption STAR, if you are pregnant, then you are considered an expectant parent. Pregnancy in itself is a form of parenting. Adoption STAR encourages expectant parents to cherish their pregnancies and birth experiences and to be as involved as they wish in the adoption process.
Extended Family
A child’s relatives (other than parents) such as aunts, uncles, grandparents and sometimes close friends or birth family members.

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