Just as with everything else these days, there are “PC” terms to use in the adoption world. While it may seem insignificant, the words you use when referring to your child’s adoption will greatly affect their self-esteem and self-image.
Your child/ren will learn to speak about their adoption based on the words they hear you using, so it’s important to use the correct terms from the beginning. It’s also important to talk to your friends and family about positive adoption language so they will know the correct terms to use as well. This will help them not only be good examples for your child, but will also put their minds at ease as to what the correct terms are to use. It can also take away any uncomfortable feelings they might have when talking to you and your family about adoption.
Some examples of positive adoption language are using the word “place” instead of “give up” when referring to your child’s birthparent’s choice to make an adoption plan. You usually “give up” things that are bad-you give up smoking, drinking, gambling, etc. Using that term could make your child think they are bad and that’s why they were “given up”. If instead you use “placed for adoption”, it acknowledges the loving, thoughtful choice that the birthparents made to find the perfect family for their child. Some other terms to keep in mind are: “parenting” vs. “keeping”; “birthmother” and “birthfather” vs. “real parents”; and “adoptee” vs. “adopted child”.