Monday, October 25, 2010

positive adoption language

I can't tell you how many times I have been asked, "do you know your real" 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 triadAdoption triangle
Biological parentNatural / real parent
Birth childOwn child
Birth father / motherReal / Natural father / mother
Birth parentReal parent
Born to unmarried parentsIllegitimate
Child from abroadForeign child
Child placed for adoptionUnwanted child
Child with special needsHandicapped child
Court terminationChild taken away
Make an adoption plan /
choose adoption
Give away / give up
Intercountry adoptionForeign adoption
InterracialMixed race
Making contact withReunion
My childAdopted child
ParentAdoptive parent
SearchTrack down parents
To parentTo keep
Waiting childAdoptable child; Available child

This is a wonderful topic to discuss with your children as they may know other kids in school or various social activities that are adopted, have an adopted sibling or might even be in foster care. These children are no different and by educating them on Positive Adoption Language, they can have a greater understanding and respect for those individuals.

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