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.

A-Z Glossary – Choose a Letter

All | # 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 | Submit a name
There are 14 names in this directory beginning with the letter B.
Background Check
There are several kinds of background checks and clearances that may be required. Most states require a state criminal and child abuse clearance for people wishing to adopt usually done by submitting fingerprint cards or getting electronically fingerprinted. In addition, for international adoption, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service (BCIS) conduct their own criminal clearance checks through the FBI. In addition to any state required fingerprinting, adoptive parents will be fingerprinted at the BCIS regional/sub office closest to their home.

BCIS
Acronym for Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. On March 1, 2003, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its functions were divided into various bureaus of that department. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services deals with those who are processing an international adoption. Because adoptive parents will be bringing a citizen from another country into the US when they adopt, that child is considered an immigrant and therefore subject to all immigration requirements of the BCIS. Adoptive parents will work through your regional BCIS office/sub office at various points in their adoption process: to get initial approval to adopt a child from abroad (I-600a, to include fingerprints, FBI background check). Adoptive parents will deal with the US State Dept. (US Embassy) who acts as BCIS representatives abroad and handles various requirements while they’re in the country. Adoptive parents will again deal with their regional BCIS when they return home and if they want to obtain a certificate of citizenship for their child.

Best Interests of the Child
When used in the adoption world, the term "best interests of the child" is a lawful determination by the law of the State with jurisdiction to decide whether a particular adoption or adoption-related action is in a child's best interests.

Bi-Racial
Refers to a child that has heritage of two races, usually African-American and another race.

Biological Child
The child of parents by birth.

Bipolar Disorder
A category of mental illnesses in which mood and affect are disturbed characterized by irregular cycles of mania and/or depression. During manic periods, the individual may be in a very elevated mood and exhibit symptoms of hyperactivity, wakefulness and distractibility or irritability. In very severe episodes, psychotic symptoms may also be present. Individuals experiencing depressive periods can exhibit sustained symptoms of depressed mood, diminished pleasure or interest in most activities, fatigue, sleep disturbance (either insomnia or hypersomnia), weight loss or weight gain and slowed thinking.

Birth Certificate
Original) Legal document issued at time of birth with the child’s biological history including the identity of one or both biological parents.

Birth Father
Biological father of a child that is adopted or planning to be adopted.

Birth Mother
Biological mother of a child that is adopted or planning to be adopted.

Birth Parent
Biological (or genetic) parent of a child.

Black Market
Illegal buying and selling of children

Boarder Babies
Infants abandoned in hospitals because of the parents’ inability to care for them. These babies are usually born HIV-positive or drug addicted.

Bonding
The process of developing lasting emotional ties with one’s immediate caregivers; seen as the first and primary developmental task of a human being and central to the person’s ability to relate to others throughout life.

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS)
On March 1, 2003, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its functions were divided into various bureaus of that department. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services deals with those who are processing an international adoption. Because adoptive parents will be bringing a citizen from another country into the US when they adopt, that child is considered an immigrant and therefore subject to all immigration requirements of the BCIS. Adoptive parents will work through your regional BCIS office/sub office at various points in their adoption process: to get initial approval to adopt a child from abroad (I-600a, to include fingerprints, FBI background check). Adoptive parents will deal with the US State Dept. (US Embassy) who acts as BCIS representatives abroad and handles various requirements while they’re in the country. Adoptive parents will again deal with their regional BCIS when they return home and if they want to obtain a certificate of citizenship for their child.


Submit a name

If you’d like to contribute to our glossary, click the link above.