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MarkLaurie

Positive Adoption Language

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I thought it would be helpful to share some of the positive adoption lingo with any "Newbies" out there. These are some of the things Abrazo teaches at orientation. I also can remember some terms from the forum that I was unfamiliar with in the beginning.

Positive Language/Negative Language

Birthparent/Real Parent

My child/Adopted child

Terminate parental rights/Give up

Make an adoption plan/Give away

To parent/To keep

Was adopted/Is adopted

Here are some of the abreviations used on the forum:

AP - adoptive parent (AM & AF)

BP - birthparent (BP & BF) - contrary to my initial guess when I was new, BP is

not the "Bowel Movements" of newly adopted children

...Well, I am starting to go blank. Any other forumites able to add to the list?

Edited by MarkLaurie

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BP - birthparent (BP & BF) - contrary to my initial guess when I was new, BP is

       not the "Bowel Movements" of newly adopted children

25423[/snapback]

Not to add fuel to the fire, but I prefer to type 'birthparent' b/c it looks more appealing to the eye. I just don't care to use the abbrevations that refer to body functions...something strange but as a nurse, it wigs me out, wink.gif.

Also one thing to ponder is these are our children's birthparents not our birthparents. Yes, these precious souls are like angels to us b/c they have allowed us to become parents, but they are not our birthparents....does that make sense. Just something to think about.....

Edited by dbugsma

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BP - birthparent (BP & BF) - contrary to my initial guess when I was new, BP is

       not the "Bowel Movements" of newly adopted children

25423[/snapback]

Not to add fuel to the fire, but I prefer to type 'birthparent' b/c it looks more appealing to the eye. I just don't care to use the abbrevations that refer to body functions...something strange but as a nurse, it wigs me out, wink.gif.

Also one thing to ponder is these are our children's birthparents not our birthparents. Yes, these precious souls are like angels to us b/c they have allowed us to become parents, but they are not our birthparents....does that make sense. Just something to think about.....

25429[/snapback]

Amy,

I agree...I always try to refer to my son's birthmom as "my son's birthmom." She isn't MY birthmom because she didn't give birth to me.. biggrin.gif

Also, I don't know if Elizabeth or a birthmom mentioned on the forum a long while back that the abbreviation BP is offensive to some birthmothers because of exactly what Laurie was thinking!!

Edited by suebee

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Add to the list:

BOG: Baby-on-the-ground (a child already born and being placed for adoption)

Failed placement/match v. disruption or dissolution: Elizabeth can correct me on this one if I get it wrong, but I believe the correct terminology for an adoption plan that falls through PRIOR to the child being placed in the adoptive home is termed "failed." This quote about "disruption/dissolution" is from one of Elizabeth's posts elsewhere on the Forum: "Placement disruption and adoption dissolution, called "failed adoptions" by the general public, are essentially the same thing: what it means is that a child who went home with a prospective family was returned, before or after finalization."

Edited by FeelingBlessed

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Amy,

Thanks for bringing up the "our Birthparent's" issue. I had not even really thought about it. You are right. They aren't ours to claim.

Thanks for the help,

Claudia

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For more info about positive adoption language, please see the following Forum topics:

Adoptees->Heart to Heart->ADOPTESE

Homestead->Family Room->Positive Adoption Language Primer

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I don't take offense to being claimed as "my birthmom"

It's kind of like "my sister" or "my family"

I can't even think of how Jennifer refers to me other than just Amanda.

Way to go on the correct verbage practices!! Kudos to all!

hugs-

Amanda

Laney's birthmother. biggrin.gif

Edited by Amanda Mc

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actually a lot of support sites for women who have lost their children to adoption find the term "birthmom" offensive. it points out that the mothers purpose was only in "birthing" the child.

see on one hand i see this- if i had had colby, and then died in a car accident when he was 2 days old, and then my family placed him for adoption would i still be refferred to as his "birthmom" who died as so he was placed for adoption, or his mother who died so he was placed for adoption

but on the other hand i understand that it would be more confusing to refer to me as his mother and angie as his mother, but then again arent we both his mother anyway?

im not too sure where i stand on this, but i do know that i think it is offensive that the adoption agencys refer to women who are still pregnant as birthmothers. why are you trying to instill that sole role in their minds?

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Hi Kristal,

You have some good points. I think sometimes it just gets confusing because different people have different likes and dislikes etc. I hope we will all do our best to be sensitive to oneanother.

I did want to let you know that we are going to spend some time with Dante's other mother and father this weekend. If you have not spoken to her yet, I can send her a message for you. This will be the first time his other father will meet him and the first time she has spent time with him since the summer. I can't wait to see all of us together. Take Care and say hi to your mom for us.

Claudia tongue.gif

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Ok, I thought for a while on how to respond to this one, so pardon the fumbles.

When I decided that I was going to place Delaney with an adoptive family-my mind was made up.

I think that I spent a lot of energy convincing myself that this was the right choice. There's just no way to kitty-cat-foot around saying that.

I think that with any life changing decision, you weigh the action to reaction ratio for every single option. I know that I did. I disappeared from Abrazo's radar for, like, a month. Then I saw a commercial for a Disney Cruise and I thought to myself--I won't ever be able to do that. There is no way on earth that I will ever be able to even relax with my family-I can hardly support myself and I work out of town!!!and I can't breathe..

The thought of placing my child was very comforting. I just had to think about the real of it. ya know?

I will elaborate later-gotta go to work!

hugs-Amanda

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im not too sure where i stand on this, but i do know that i think it is offensive that the adoption agencys refer to women who are still pregnant as birthmothers. why are you trying to instill that sole role in their minds?

Kristal, I understand completely where you're coming from, because we too struggle with the question of "labelling" people who come to us seeking different services.

I do recognize that the semantics are a hot issue on birthparents' rights websites, but I really don't think that agencies use the term "birthmother" before birth as a conspiracy to brainwash women into thinking adoption is their only option. I realize that many women who are pregnant and don't want to be do not want to consider themselves "mothers" and therefore find even that portion of the term "birthmother" awkward. Maybe it comes down to a question of whether you identify with "mother" as noun or a verb? Is it who you are or what you do? Or both? Maybe every woman who gives birth is a birthmother; do those who parent then go on to become Moms?

If you have any good ideas of what else we could use in place of the "B" term, please help us! "Expectant-woman-considering-adoption" is too unwieldy... "Prospective adoption planner" is too impersonal... "Firstmother" again uses the word mother (offensive to some) and implies that any other mom is second best... "Tummymummy" is just plain goofy... "Lifegiver" seems too abstract... and "Precious preggo" just doesn't sound right, either!!! wink.gif

By the same token, isn't it just as inconsiderate to refer to parents who originally adopted as "adoptive parents"? I'd hate to think that this phrase is part of any conspiracy to brainwash loving parents who adopted into thinking they are anything less than "real" parents, thus instilling that sole role in their minds.

Even worse, to some, is referring to people who were--on one day of their lives, adopted-- as "adoptees", like it's some condition that cripples them forever. Yet I've struggled with this myself; here on the Forum, we do have a section for "Adoptees" just because we couldn't come up with a better way to title that area (maybe "Children & Adults Who Were Once Adopted"?)

Language is soooo important, and these are sensitive issues! How we talk about adoption has a huge impact-- it's not "just talk." Let's keep this dialogue going and maybe, just maybe, together we can come up with new solutions for a very old problem!

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Dante's Birthmom did not really like that title either. Since, my sister is Dante's Godmother, we thought it was really nice if his Birthmother could be called Godmommy. I know this would not be appropriate for everyone, but we thought it was cute and loving, and she liked it!

Claudia

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Our children do have two mothers - me, and the mother who gave birth to them and gave them a wonderful start in life - So in very many important ways I do think of Carmen and Net as our birthmothers - because they are the ones who gave birth to our family.

Right now we are refering to Elizabeth's mother as Mama 'Net and I am just mama or mommie. I think there are a lot of families who might call the birthmother Mom and the forever mother Mommie or something similar. I don't think that is confusing to the child - they accept it just like they accept anyone's name and to them Mom is a different name/person from Mama or Mommie or Mother or ...

It seems to me that where it gets confusing is in trying to explain it to someone else, usually someone outside the family, without going into either tons of detail or an elaborate explanation. And I honestly don't know what the answer is - if you were talking about parent who has been remarried you would just say, oh I'm his mother and Susan is his step mother (what does the step in step parent mean, anyway?).

How DO we find a term that will honor the important role played by the other mothers in our lives and the lives of our children?

And if WE can't agree on a term, is it any wonder the rest of the world is having difficulty?

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I love that I am Delaney's Birthmother. I am honored to hold this "title."

You say potato.

I say potato.

(that is really a funny word)

Later in her life, when she talks about our relationship, I would love for her to refer to me as Amanda, her birthmommy (mother) whatever. Just as long as she refers to me.

...which I know that she will...

hugs to all-

Amanda

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Grace Ann calls her birthmommy Mommy Monica. Just today someone commented about her hair and Grace Ann said "I get my pretty hair from my Mommy Monica, I lived in her belly!" She then pointed at me and said" This is my Mommy Mommy, her belly is broken!" tongue.gif

Edited by melissamerritt

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Melissa,

That is too precious! biggrin.gif

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okay i was thinking about it and i find it appropiate for angie and wade to refer to me as Colbys birthmom. when i talk about myself i just call myself his mom. i think adoption agnecies should refer to women as just plain mothers, the mothers support group, doesnt sound as demeaning and negative, and all the women are mothers of other children, or prospective birthmoms, or women who have placed, all of whom are MOTHERS.

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I prefer birthmom or even Diana. I mean yes I will give birth to Tucker, BUT I wont be the one to see him smile, or walk. I wont potty train him or teach him how to ride a bike or drive a car. I wont be there when he graduates kindergarten, goes on his first date. Things like that. Ashley is his mom, Ted is his dad. Im the one who gave him a chance to do all of these things.

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I prefer birthmom or even Diana.

Im the one who gave him a chance to do all of these things.

30339[/snapback]

Diana,

I think this is how our daughter, Shayla's birthmother thinks of herself.

We didn't have the chance to meet her before Shayla was born & unable to be there for the birth. We arrived when Shayla was 2 days old & still in the hospital. Shayla's birthmom took us into the nursery, telling the staff....her parents are here!

May your relationship w/ Ashley & Ted continue to blossom over the years.

God bless!

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Thank you for your post!!!! As I was telling Ted and Ashley when they were down to visit, I really dont like calling them the Adoptive parents. They are the parents. Plain and simple. When we first met, we met at IHOP and my mom and I had gotten them some things for Tucker and put them in a HUGE Its a Boy bag. When the waitress came over and asked who was expecting, I pointed to Ashley. It was funny cause she was pointing at me. We got a big kick out of it. Tucker will always know who I am and the roll I play in his life and I will always be there for him. But Im not his parent, thats what I picked 2 wonderful people for. Im glad your BP was the same way. Its peaceful in a way.

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Diana - I always enjoy reading your posts. Your journey through this process has been a joy to witness as it has been expressed in the forum. Despite the tough situations, the wisdom that you have exhibited in coping and keeping your thinking so positive is awesome. Your forum community is rooting for you and your family. smile.gif

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Just bumping up another topic for any newbies out there who are still exploring adoption and learning the ropes - this is a great intro on positive adoption language.

-Lisa :)

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I am a it more bold when it comes to positive adoption language now. I think when we were first entering the process I noticed when others used neg. adoption lang, but I sometimes was almost embarrassed to lovingly correct them thinking...It isn't like I am an adoption expert or anything!

I don't feel like that anymore. I still realize I am by no means an adoption expert, but if I can help educate others, then that is my responsibility.

I cringe when someone makes a comment or uses neg .adoption lang. in front of the girls. This actually just happened at church on Sunday. Although, the girls are still young...I don't need to wait until they are "big girls" to start taking seriously what others choose to say in front of them.

Sunday was our first day at church with Angel. For the most part it was just lots of hugs and congratulations. There was one lady that was full of nosey questions and used negative adoption language. I lovingly corrected her and told her that Angel's background information belongs to her and no one else. I did this with a smile on my face and walked away!!! B)

Each time I am put in this position it gets a bit easier. Practice makes perfect...I guess!

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This is a particularly brilliant post from elsewhere on the Forum that just has to be reprinted here, because it sums up so beautifully why HOW we talk about adoption truly does matter:

Amanda, I can completely understand what you are saying about the use of "giving up and giving away." The more I hear it, the more it makes me sad. You typically do not hear these terms used with something so precious. I mean, you might "give up" eating sugar or fattening foods. You might "give up" golf or another pasttime. You might "give away" clothing when you clean out your closet. You might "give away" a piece of furniture you no longer need. Using these terms to describe the loving, selfless act of an expectant parent to make an adoption plan for their child just completely minimizes what adoption is. This term is unfair to both the birthparents and the child. It makes it sound as if on a whim an expectant parent just decided to "give away" their child. As if it was easy. As if they just didn't need it. Last I checked, a child is much more precious than any piece of clothing. Certainly not something you could just "give up." I'm pretty sure most people haven't grieved over the last shirt they gave away when they cleaned out their closet. Please people, don't equate adoption with something so trivial.

Sorry for the ramble, but we all have our things that bug us and this is mine. I cringe whenever someone says, "I could never just give away my children." Well, birthparents do not just give away theirs either. It is just not that simple.

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