Act of Love Adoptions promotes positive adoption language to send affirming messages to those involved with an adoption plan; those considering adoption, birth parents, child and adopting family. Because adoption is a highly-sensitive and personal decision, creating a non-judgmental, safe environment is critical to those choosing adoption. Using positive adoption language and educating others will assist in promoting adoption as a positive and loving choice and avoid pain and grief from the result of an unintended message.
Words that are meant to send a positive message can sometimes be received with an unintended negative message. For example, the word “give” generally has a positive meaning. However, when used in the context of adoption such as “gave-up”, “giving up” or “gave away” it can be received as a negative message. Act of Love prefers “placed for adoption” to prevent the feeling of unworthiness, discomfort or uneasiness a child or birth parent may feel. Choosing words carefully creates a positive message and self-assurance. While a person using the words “a real child” certainly does not intend harm, it can greatly affect a child’s self-image to feel they may not be “a real child” or as “real” as a biological child.
Adoption is a beautiful, loving and incredibly unselfish decision. As a society, it is important to value adoption, promote adoption as a positive choice and commend those involved. Let’s celebrate the beautiful option of adoption! One way is to use the positive adoption language below.
NEGATIVE LANGUAGE / POSITIVE ADOPTION LANGUAGE
Birth mom / Birth parent is both birth mom and dad
Real child / Biological child and adopted child
Real parent, natural parent / Biological parent or birth parent
Their adoptive parent / Parent
Your adopted child / Your child
Own child / Biological child
Child placed for adoption / Adoptee
Giving up your baby, gave up for adoption / Placing your baby for adoption
Unwanted child / Child placed for adoption
Keeping child / Choosing to parent child
Was adopted / Is adopted
Adopted / Placed for adoption
Where did you get your child from? / Where was your child born
Child taken away / Parental rights terminated
Signed their child away / Relinquished their parental rights
Gave baby away, didn’t want the child / Chose adoption or made an adoption plan
Illegitimate / Child born to unmarried biological parents
All the people involved / Adoption Triad
Mistake, accident / Choice
Hard to place child, child with a handicap / Special needs child