Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Positive Adoption Language

I've posted this list before...but now that adoption is a reality in our lives I think it is even more important for this list to reach all those we know and love.  We haven't been on the receiving end of too many hurtful comments...but when we first got Miles I can't tell you how many times close friends and family said things like "Did you meet his real mother?" or "He is so cute, how could she have given him away?" or "I love my babies too much...I could never give them away like that."  Right now it's just ME that gets my feelers prickled...but in a few years when Miles starts hearing this kind of talk...that will make me one pissed off momma bear.  He was NOT given away...his birthmom DOES love him...and {{I}} am his REAL mother (seriously...I have a court document that says I'm a you??  he he...I jest.  Kinda)

So here is a list Adoptive Families Magazine put out a few years ago.  It's simple...and has most of the offensive phrases.  You love us?  Ok..maybe, but I KNOW you love Miles.  :)  Read it.  Pass it along.  


Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal said...

I've been told that I offend people by posting things like this, and that I should be "more forgiving" to those who use hurtful language. But you're right, we need to teach others so that they don't hurt our children. And that's the most important thing.

Anonymous said...

As a 26 year old adoptee, I can think of several times in my life when insensitive comments by my peers stung a little.

Nowadays, however, I'll sometimes intentionally use the inappropriate words to describe my own adoption; it adds a kind of shock-value comedic effect, particularly when I joke about my "born to unmarried parents" origins.

The Haws House said...

We recently adopted 5 children from Ethiopia and it was been painful at times to hear the comments people make about adoption. Can I repost this chart on my blog? A little education on such matters can go a long way.

Holly said...

@Haws House - yes, you can definitely repost the chart.

Anonymous said...

***posting this under the correct post this it makes more sense... :O)

When I read this I was thinking how can people ask such or say such things? How terrible. But then I thought maybe to them they didn't think it was so bad. Which made me think, would it be wrong to ask someone (that you know well, not like a stranger or mere acquaintance)that was or had adopted if it was open? And if not, why not? Because that would be something that I would ask or want to ask.


Oh! Your little boy is a DOLL!!! :O)

Anonymous said...

I have one question and hope it doesn't come across disrespectful (because it isn't intended to be) .. why would it be wrong to call a birth parent, a real parent? I mean, I feel that both the birth/first parents and the adoptive parents are "real" parents. Am I wrong?

Holly said...

@First Anonymous - I think asking how open a relationship is would be fine...if like you said, that you know them. I would definitely not ask a stranger. But be prepared...some people just aren't as open as others and they may not feel comfortable answering. I'm very honest and open (even with a point) because I want people to see the REAL face of adoption, not what is sensationalized on TV & in movies.

@Second Anonymous - Not disrespectful at all. :) I think the problem is that by calling birthparents the real parents you are (intentionally or not) implying that adoptive parents are not real (fake) parents.

I think the reason it's always listed in tables like this as the negative to "birth parent" is that most times it is heard when strangers (or even friends or's happened to us) say things like "What is his real mother like?" (calling birth parents real parents) It hurts like you wouldn't imagine to be loving this child, acting like a mother in EVERY aspect of the only be called a fake-mother.

I don't walk around calling myself his real mother...because that would also be offensive to his birthmomma. I'm simply his mom.

And I do agree with you that both birth moms and adoptive moms are real. Their roles in the child's life are different, but both very important. I just hate when people use the term real...and most of the time I believe it isn't done to be spiteful, it's just ignorance.

Sparklee said...

Thanks for posting this. We learned about positive and negative language in our adoption training classes. I think most people don't mean any harm, they just don't think about the way things sound. Still, it's important to educate people, because our kids will be listening and we want to protect them from hurt.