It is very important to use positive adoption language with our families and friends. Using this type of language shows respect for all members of the triad. Most of us don’t know anything about adoption and feel self-conscious when we are confronted with some one who was adopted or a couple who is in the process of an adoption. I would like to give you a little guidance in choosing words to make the members of the adoption triad feel a little more comfortable. This isn’t ‘political correctness’! This is simply using common sense when in an awkward situation.
First of all, adoption is simply a legal way of creating your family. When a child is adopted, his ‘parents’ are his legal parents through adoption, so they are his ‘real parents’ as well as his ‘adoptive parents’. His ‘biological parents’ are his birth mother and birth father, not his ‘natural parents’ or ‘real parents’. In cases of voluntary termination of parental rights, the ‘biological parents’ have ‘terminated their parental rights’, not ‘given up their child for adoption’. These loving parents have ‘made an adoption plan’ for their unborn child, not ‘given away’ their child. In the type of open adoptions which are most common in the United States today, the child will usually ‘make contact with’ his birth parents, not set up a ‘reunion’. He will do this through a ‘search’, not by ‘tracking dow his real parents’.
These are just a few of the words and phrases that can help us all feel more comfortable when discussing adoption with those people who don’t understand the process in which many of us have created our families.