The way we talk — and the words we choose — say a lot about what we think and value. When we use positive adoption language, we say that adoption is a way to build a family — just as birth is. Both are important, and neither is more important than the other.
Choose the following, positive adoption language instead of the negative talk that helps perpetuate the myth that adoption is second best. By using positive adoption language, you will reflect the true nature of adoption, free of innuendo.
Born to Unmarried Parents
Terminate Parental Rights
Make an Adoption Plan
Birth Father; Biological Father
Making Contact With
Permission to Sign a Release
Child Placed for Adoption
Child with Special Needs
Child from Abroad
Adopted Child; Own Child
Adoptable Child; Available Child
Track Down Parents
An Unwanted Child
Child Taken Away
Words not only convey facts, they also evoke feelings. When a TV show or movie talks about a “custody battle” between “real parents” and “other parents,” society gets the wrong impression that only birth parents are real parents and that adoptive parent’s aren’t real parents. Members of society may also wrongly concluded that all adoptions are “battles.”
Positive adoption language can stop the spread of misconceptions such as these. By using adoption language, we educate others about adoption. We choose emotionally “correct” words over emotionally-laden words. We speak and write in positive adoption language with the hopes of impacting others so that this language will someday become the norm.