I’m a word girl (obviously). Our words have the power to encourage, tear down, inspire and destruct. Our words—the way we talk and write—are indicative of what we think about and value. Words are powerful.
That is why it is important to think about the words you’re using when discussing adoption. Positive adoption language—words and phrases that highlight the beauty of adoption—helps people get rid of the notion that adoption is “second best.” It’s a reminder that adoption is simply another way to build a family. One way is not better than the other.
For example, I’m often asked if we’re going to have children of “our own” one day! I have to laugh, because I think to myself, “Um, duh. What do you think this adoption process is about?!?” But I know that’s a (uneducated) way of asking if we have plans to have biological children. I don’t know if that will happen one day or not, but I can tell you that every child—no matter how they come into our family—will be “our own.”
Some of the negative language—give up, an unwanted child, etc.—can also paint the birth family in a negative light. I never want my child to be told that his birth mother “gave him up.” I want him to understand and know that his birth mother loved him so much that she made a plan for him. I never want him to feel like he was unwanted and loved—I want him to know and understand just how much he was wanted and loved.
Here are some more examples from Adoptive Families magazine (a fantastic resource!).