I can't tell you how many times I have been asked, "do you know your real parents...mom...dad?" or "do you know why you were put up for adoption?" Growing up, I thought this terminology was normal and I asked myself these same questions. As I have embraced my adoption and become an advocate for the blessings that adoption brings, I know that there is a better way to communicate on the subject of adoption.
Over time, adoption has become an open topic in the media and a very common option for families to grow. Although this kind of coverage is great exposure for waiting children and the acceptance from those that aren't familiar with adoption, it is still misunderstood, often leading to stereotypes and myths.
Adoption is now, more than ever an everyday part of families all over the world. Even so, it still brings doubts to the unfamiliar and to those that once viewed adoption as a secret or something to be ashamed of.
This brings me to the introduction of Positive and Negative Adoption Language. The way in which we speak and the words we choose to use are a deep reflection of how we feel and view others. When Positive Adoption Language is used, it is sharing with others that adoption is another way to create a family unit, as is building a family by birth. Positive Adoption Language shows that either by birth or adoption, each are important.
Positive Language: Negative Language: Adoption triad Adoption triangle Biological parent Natural / real parent Birth child Own child Birth father / mother Real / Natural father / mother Birth parent Real parent Born to unmarried parents Illegitimate Child from abroad Foreign child Child placed for adoption Unwanted child Child with special needs Handicapped child Court termination Child taken away Make an adoption plan /
Give away / give up Intercountry adoption Foreign adoption Interracial Mixed race Making contact with Reunion My child Adopted child Parent Adoptive parent Search Track down parents To parent To keep Waiting child Adoptable child; Available child