Family to Family Adoptions has been placing babies for ten years and has completed over 250 adoptions, both international and domestic. Each adoption placement is different but one thing that remains true is that the process can be emotional for both the adoptive parents and the birth parents. This past year, Family to Family implemented a required training class for all adoptive families signing on to adopt through our agency. These training courses are designed to guide adoptive families through the various stages of the adoption process and help ease some of the emotions. One of the topics we cover at this training is using positive adoption language throughout the process including before, during and after placement.
Using positive adoption language will not only assist in making both the adoptive family and the birth family more comfortable but will also aid with many misconceptions that are related to adoption. For example, saying a birthparent is going to “terminate their parental rights” is considered a positive term whereas “giving up a child” is a negative term. Birth parents decide to make adoption plans for their child because they love their child and to say that they are giving a child away places judgment on a biological parent. Another way of saying this would be to “make an adoption plan” versus “give away”. On the flip side of that, a birthparent that changes their mind about placing a child decides “to parent” instead of she decides to “keep” the baby. It is also more appropriate to say “birthparent” or “biological family” instead of saying they are the “real parent”. If you would like a list of the terms we use in our training course, please contact Family to Family or you can find some listed at www.adoptivefamilies.com. You can also view more of these terms on this blog, Using Postive Adoption Language.
There are many other terms and phrases related to the adoption process but I hope that this just gives you a place to start thinking about how you will use positive adoption language in your adoption process. I also encourage you to discuss the idea of using positive language with your extended family and friends as well as your child. This is very important to ensure that your child sees their adoption story in a constructive light as well as it can help alleviate the common misconceptions of adoption and spread a more optimistic view on adoption in general. If you have questions about positive versus negative terms please contact us. I also encourage you to share, by leaving a comment to this post, some terms that you use in your family or used during your adoption process as well as please feel free to list any negative terms or phrases that you have heard people say about adoption. Keep an eye on this blog for how to address negative terms and phrases and misconceptions on the adoption process.