Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A type of adoption in which the child is placed with the prospective adoptive parents before the birth parents have legally given up their rights or had their rights terminated. If the termination of rights doesn't occur, then the adopting parents must give the child back. This is a risk for the adopting parents, who may lose a child to whom they've become attached. Legal risk placements are sometimes used in the case of foster children when the expectation is that the parents' rights will be terminated.