Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Adoption 102 (Positive Adoption Language)

I'm not into the idea of "political correctness" for the sake of being politically correct, but I do embrace new terminology for the sake of people who are hurt by old or colloquial terminology that undermines truth or reinforces negative stereotypes.

Consider the list of terms below that are used to describe elements of adoption and notice how the "positive adoption language" on the right helps to reinforce the positive aspects of adoption - namely that all people within an adoption plan are worthy of respect and families created through adoption are just as real and important as families created through birth.

Negative language   Positive language
Real parent   Birthparent
Natural parent   Biological parent
Own child   Birth child
Adopted child; Own child   My child
Illegitimate   Born to unmarried parents
Give up   Terminate parental rights
Give away   Make an adoption plan
To keep   To parent
Adoptable child; Available child   Waiting child
Begettor   Biological father
Reunion   Making contact with
Adoptive parent   Parent
Foreign adoption   International adoption
Adoption triangle   Adoption triad
Disclosure   Permission to sign a release
Track down parents   Search
An unwanted child   Child placed for adoption
Child taken away   Court termination
Handicapped child   Child with special needs
Foreign child   Child from abroad
Is adopted   Was adopted

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