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Positive Adoption Language

The way we speak has a great impact on those who hear it. Sometimes words can be hurtful, whether intentionally or not, and can cause pain if not used correctly. Adoption can be a sensitive subject for some; therefore, the terms and/or phrases we use should be chosen wisely. 

What is Positive Adoption Language?

Your choice of words can set a positive or negative tone in conversations between you and the adoptee. Using respectful language when discussing the adoptee’s birth family and/or adoptive family is important. 

Below are some examples of positive adoption language that can help facilitate positive communication:

  • Place a Child for Adoption vs. Giving a Child Up for Adoption. As a birth parent, you’re not “giving up” or “giving away” your child. Acting with the child’s best interest in mind, you’re choosing adoption and placing him or her with a family who has both the resources and the strong desire to raise a baby. There is a big difference between giving a child up for adoption and placing a child for adoption.
  • Birth Mother vs. Real Mother. Your place as a biological mother can not be changed or taken away. You and the adoptive mother are both quite real; specify with the term “birth mother” or “biological mother” instead of “real mother.”
  • Son or Daughter vs. Adopted Son / Adopted Daughter. When adoptive parents become the legal parents of a child, the word “adopted” doesn’t need to be said when introducing him or her to family or friends. Putting this word in the mix can cause the adoptee to feel different or unwanted.
  • Was Adopted vs. Is Adopted. An adoptee will make questions about their adoption story. He or she will want to know about their birth mother and the reasons she placed them for adoption. Be sure to use positive adoption language and say that your child “was” adopted instead of the present “is” to show how much you love them and that they fit into your family.

Adoption Choices of Nevada would love to answer any of your questions about our program, and to assist you in making an adoption plan that will work for you.