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

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There are 10 names in this directory beginning with the letter O.
Occupational Therapy
The science of using everyday activities with specific goals, to help people of all ages prevent, lessen or overcome physical disabilities.

Open Adoption
An adoption plan in which identifying information about birth and adoptive families is openly shared, and there is ongoing contact after placement occurs.

Open Records
Accessibility to own adoption records by each member of the triad. This includes access to identifying information. In states where this is authorized by state law, adult adoptees over a certain age, usually over the age of 21, are able to obtain their original birth certificate without the requirement of a court order.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
A recurrent pattern of negative, defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior toward authority figures that persists for at least six months. This disorder is characterized by frequent occurrence of at least four of the following behaviors: frequent loss of temper, tendency to argue with adults, refusal to obey adult rules or requests, deliberate behaviors to annoy others, spiteful and vindictive behavior, being touchy or easily annoyed by others, being angry and resentful, use of obscene language and a tendency to blame others for mistakes or misbehaviors. Symptoms are less severe than those associated with Conduct Disorder but sometimes indicate the early stages of Conduct Disorder (CD) and may sometimes lead to the development of Antisocial Personality Disorder during adulthood.

Orientation meeting
An initial group meeting for prospective adoptive parents where information about the agency’s procedures and policies are explained and questions about adoption may be answered.

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

Orphan
Child from another country that has no parents or only one parent that cannot care for them.

Orphan (international adoption definition)
For immigration purposes, a child under the age of 16 whose parents have died or disappeared, who has been abandoned or otherwise separated from both parents, whose sole surviving parent is impoverished by local standards and incapable of providing that child with proper care and who has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption. To enter the United States, an orphan must have been adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen or be admitted to the United States for the purpose of adoption by a U.S. citizen.

Orphanage
Institution that houses children who are orphaned, abandoned or whose parents are unable to care for them. Orphanages are rarely used in the United States, although they are more frequently used abroad.

Out-of-Home Care
Child care, foster care or residential care provided by persons, organizations and institutions to children who are placed outside their families, usually under the jurisdiction of juvenile or family court.


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