― Some people seem to think that “adoptive” is just a more fancy word than “adopted” and write about “the adoptive child.” But the two words have different meanings. Parents who do the adopting are adoptive, children are adopted. Don’t call people adopting children “adaptive,” though. Adaptive parents would be parents that could adapt themselves to changing circumstances. When a city, club, or other organization adopts you, it also is adoptive. ∙ With Benefit .