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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Adoption Language - what and why?

The words we use convey to others many ideas - some intended and some not. In discussing adoption with our children, friends, and families, it is important to think about the words we use. Some words convey a sense of otherness to adopted children, while other words change can convey inclusion and acceptance. Of course, you want to use language that supports the adoptive family. And really, using the right vocabulary, can acutally change people's impressions about adoption!

Here's a quick tutorial of common adoption language:

Use BIRTH OR BIOLOGICAL parent instead of REAL OR NATURAL parent. Parents who have adopted their children are just as real and natural as those who have give birth.

Use BIRTH OR BIOLOGICAL child instead of REAL OR OWN child. Children are their parents' own whether part of the family by birth or adoption.

Use WAS adopted rather than IS adopted. Once a child has been adopted into a family, it is over and done with.

You can read further about adoption language here and here, if you are interested in learning more.