Jump to content
MarkLaurie

Positive Adoption Language

Recommended Posts

You are so welcome :D Hope Sloane is going well. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, my! There's a counterpoint to everything, it seems, and for those who see adoption as being no better than abortion, there's now even a so-called movement, "Honest Adoption Language," that's campaigning against positive adoption language.

The argument goes like this... "Putting adoption and those involved in it in positive terms is an evil tool of the adoption industry so better to use cold, harsh terminology to reflect the dangerous, reprehensible practice that it truly is."

Here's their official press release: Adoption / Legalized Lies.

Your thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow!

The ones that come to mind because I would be appalled if someone referred to me or my child (or if I were a birthparent) as them;

Adoptive caregiver - sounds like I'm just a babysitter.

Exiled parent or simple parent - exiled really - it sounds like their in some early century being sent out of a country never to be returned or something and simple parent - who would really want to be associated with these terms????

The last one that really caught my eye was the "lost to adoption" referring to our children. Are they missing do we need to write a police report, did we lose them at the playground?

Like I said WOW - I would be shocked if anyone ever made use of these "Honest Adoption Language" terms in my presence!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! I am almost completely dumbfounded! :huh::o I have never heard so much negativity about adoption until I read this article. They imply like the baby was just taken in the night from the first parents without a say of any kind. I know Abrazo is different but is it that different? I am so fortunate that we never used another agency so we did not experience anything remotely like this. Does this really happen to first parents?? I am just in total shock. And the implication (if that is the right word) that we should not be called our child's mother but just merely a "caregiver". Are they basing this information on how it used to be before semi and open adoption came into the main stream? It almost makes me feel like those parents that did choose an adoption plan for their children are being criticized for their decision. Are these people nuts?! :angry: <_<

Donna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wexiled really - it sounds like their in some early century being sent out of a country never to be returned or something and simple parent - who would really want to be associated with these terms????

The last one that really caught my eye was the "lost to adoption" referring to our children. Are they missing do we need to write a police report, did we lose them at the playground?

Like I said WOW - I would be shocked if anyone ever made use of these "Honest Adoption Language" terms in my presence!

Thankfully the relationship I have with my son's family has always been open, but I could definitely see how a woman who placed her child and was completely cut off form them would feel that sh had lost her child, because she would have. I could also see how the term exiled would be fitting in that situation too.

You have to remember that adoption isn't this joyous celebration on the end of the family that is placing their baby. Even when the triad members are friends and they keep contact adoption is still extremely hard. Like I said I have an open relationship with my son and his family but there are days when I just miss him so much. I don't know how women who are cut off from the children they place out of love handle it. I can completely see why people in that situation feel like adoption is evil.

And in a way isn't it? What does it say about a culture that says we need all this junk to be good parents when all you really need is love and time and milk. Diapers, formula, $15 toys are Western necessities, they aren't really required to be a good parent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Krital! And yes adoption is really that different with other agencies. Many,many first families are coerced into relinquishing their rights because everybody around them is telling them it's the right thing to do. Nobody tells them there are other options. And no not just abortion. Just because one parent has more money does not make them better or more fit. And exiled is exactly how I felt and sometimes do still feel. And in my opinion in almost all situations(notice I say almost all) a child is better off with their first families. It may be harder on the first family and may make life harder in general or life different but that doesn't mean it's bad or wrong.it is still best for the child. No matter what. It is still best to stay with your first family whenever possible. People need to stop thinking that adoption is warm and fuzzy in the end. It's not and no matter what it always hurts,even to the few who made the choice with knowing all the options and no coercion. It still hurts.Adoption is a business.Abrazo is one of the very few who try to make it a little better. It is honestly very rare. This article made a lot of sense to me and I actually think it is a good thing. I can see where adoptive parent's would be angry but again it is something they need to see. These are "real live feelings and thoughts of MANY people. Most of these coming from bastard nation who are ADOPTED children who feel like this. It's real and it's out there. It's not pretty,it's not sugar coated it's real.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wexiled really - it sounds like their in some early century being sent out of a country never to be returned or something and simple parent - who would really want to be associated with these terms????

The last one that really caught my eye was the "lost to adoption" referring to our children. Are they missing do we need to write a police report, did we lose them at the playground?

Like I said WOW - I would be shocked if anyone ever made use of these "Honest Adoption Language" terms in my presence!

And in a way isn't it? What does it say about a culture that says we need all this junk to be good parents when all you really need is love and time and milk. Diapers, formula, $15 toys are Western necessities, they aren't really required to be a good parent.

Just because one parent has more money does not make them better or more fit.

I guess I am a little confused so please help me out. Is the only reason why first parents place their children for adoption because they don't have money? Both Kristal and Jada made the comment so I guess I wanted some clarification from a first mother's point of view. I was under the impression, at least with Dora, that she placed Ethan and Gavin with us because she wanted them to have a mother and father together in the same home and many other reasons besides money. :unsure:

Donna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's their official press release: Adoption / Legalized Lies.

Your thoughts?

Every coin has two sides: heads and tails, good and bad, positive and negative. Each can be viewed from literally thousands of degrees or angles. Then there is the issue of how close or how far from which the coin is being viewed; is it big or little... and the "familiarity" aspect cannot be forgotten either: regular, occasional, rare, or no interaction.

...but ultimately this debate isn't about some philosophical, intangible idea of "adoption" or the language or labels used to discuss the people involved. We are not considering cold, hard facts, "honestly" "positively" or otherwise. What is really being discussed is people's lives, the events and experience that have developed people's feelings and emotions - that are sometimes injured and remain raw even after several decades. We are dealing with the complexity of personal decisions made that dramatically impact the lives of many others - decisions that are each unique in their own right, with a single event that makes them "similar" to one another. We label this event "adoption."

Labels are dangerous things, though, because the label I apply might have a completely different context for someone else. The dangerous side of the communication coin! But the only alternative to labels is to simply not communicate, and then where would we be? Isolated. Alone. Uniformed. Ignorant. Afraid?

I will admit that at first some of the labels applied in Honest Adoption Language made me wince... but then I began to try and sincerely appreciate why someone might hold to that perspective, and I paused and let the loss become my own for a moment... and I was thankful for the grace I have received, for the good fortune given to me, for the privilege and honor of becoming a part of someone else's life at the point of such a complex decision.

Every adoption is different just as every person is unique. So whether I choose to use Positive Adoption Language or Honest Adoption Language, or both as the situation dictates, I hope I am able to always use Gracious adoption language. I do not want to offend the people involved with, or distort the realities of adoption. I doubt anyone on this forum would, considering we are all involved one way or another with adoption. I want to always be truthful, accurate, curtious, and considerate.

I guess there are good adoption situations and bad ones, good agencies and not so good ones, honorable motivations and selfish ones. How one views the language of adoption is all about personal experience with adoption. Thus the need for grace and truth.

-Dale

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will admit that at first some of the labels applied in Honest Adoption Language made me wince... but then I began to try and sincerely appreciate why someone might hold to that perspective, and I paused and let the loss become my own for a moment... and I was thankful for the grace I have received, for the good fortune given to me, for the privilege and honor of becoming a part of someone else's life at the point of such a complex decision.

Every adoption is different just as every person is unique. So whether I choose to use Positive Adoption Language or Honest Adoption Language, or both as the situation dictates, I hope I am able to always use Gracious adoption language. I do not want to offend the people involved with, or distort the realities of adoption. I doubt anyone on this forum would, considering we are all involved one way or another with adoption. I want to always be truthful, accurate, curtious, and considerate.

I guess there are good adoption situations and bad ones, good agencies and not so good ones, honorable motivations and selfish ones. How one views the language of adoption is all about personal experience with adoption. Thus the need for grace and truth.

-Dale

I completely agree. At first I thought "Oh no, here we go again" and then I tried to look at it from all perspectives, without my emotions as best I can. Then, it wasn't so bad to hear some of these labels. For some reason, natural parent doesn't bother me anymore, because at least when you say it, everyone knows you mean biological connection (through the course of nature). Of course I say this while feeling like I, too, am a natural (nurtural? not sure this is a word but maybe it could be) parent by adoption (through the course nurture). Anyway, I do not feel like an un-natural parent by using this label when referring to my child's birthparent. I am not sure what has changed for me.

Always striving to find and use the most gracious adoption language too.

Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Donna,I do not believe money is the only reason why people place their babies. Not at all.There are many women (and men) who place after thinking everything over and deciding parenting is not a good option for them at that time. And that is perfectly fine. But it seems that most people believe if you do not have money and can't give your child a life filled with lots of "stuff" and if you can find parent's who can then they are better off with the ones who have more money. Not all people think this way but many do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nurtural is a word, and it'd be the proper one to use too!

NURTURAL Adj 1. resulting from nurture

nonheritable, noninheritable - not inheritable

I try not to use adoptive parents or birth parents because it just seems so... rude. Like birth parents just makes me feel like I was just there for the birth I popped him out and things were done. And adoptive just seems to unnecessarily reinforce that they aren't biological. I've always like the sound of natural mother, but because it seemed so out of place next to adoptive it made the alternative unnatural, which is even more rude. But natural and nurtural go well together. I think you just might be on to something!!! B) If you don't mind I think I might start using that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked it up too and was surprised to find this word existed, however the definition needs to be expanded to include a legal parent, though not by origin.

So my children do not inherit my DNA but they inherit my heart (and everything I have in this world)! It works for me.

I also think it's good to use "natural parents" interchangeably with birthparents so that our children hear the work natural, because most assuredly they are perfectly natural too!

(But I am not sure this is looked upon as positive adoption language?)

Any newbies have any opinions on this subject?

Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I appreciate honest adoption language, this is about the child. Adoption is about the child, and the fact that they were once adopted...we can't make that out to be negative and I think honest adoption language is doing just that. There is a line between honest and hurt. I don't think that using some of those words are any more honest than the positive adoption language, and with positive we are telling the child that it's positive (wether or not the adoption was a negative experience or not for the birth parent, we still owe it to the child to make it out to be positive as much as we can IMO, or at least while they are young). We can't forget that positive language isn't about offending certain people, it's about the child and how they feel about it, or at least that is how I see it.

I still hate the word natural. Telling my child that his "natural parent" is his birth parent also tells them that since they are not parenting them at the time we are an "unnatural" family. While I appreciate that adoption isn't "natural" I also believe very much that God had his hand in it, which makes it natural, just as anything God creates is. For me, I'm simply mom, or the parent. He is my son, not my adopted son, and she is thier birth or better yet FIRST parent. She is also just mom if he chooses, and I sometimes even use that, but she also is very respectful to us so that makes a huge difference in feeling threatened, etc).

Positive adoption language isn't about making adoption appear to be this glorious love story, instead it's about making the child feel like it is a positive thing. It's about the child.

Edited by Runyan2002

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Natalie, I agee it's about the child, and it's also about significant people in the child's life who need to feel validated as "real parents" as positively as possible.

By incorporating the term "nurtural parents" it does not add any negativity (as I see it), it is honest about the relationship. It is not the opposite of natural, they simply go hand in hand.

Because most of us parents, by adoption or by birth, feel like we are natural and nurtural, so it's just a way to define the origins of the legal relationship. We can still feel both. One does not take away from the other.

It's also another idea in trying to make birth certificate more inclusive, more honest, more open by including both, parents of origin (natural parents if you will) and nurtural parents.

Let's keep talking because everyone's point of view is important!

Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because most of us parents, by adoption or by birth, feel like we are natural and nurtural, it's just a way to define the origins of the legal relationship. We can still feel both. One does not take away from the other.

I agree, in the end it's about whatever you are most comfortable with. I just believe the first and most foremost opinion should be the child's. I personally don't really like nurtural either. I don't know, it makes me feel more like I'm a foster parent than just mom. I just can't imagine saying "natural mom" to my son without a big slap in the face reminder than I am not his "NATURAL" mom and that adoption is so very "unnatural". That really isn't needed IMO, where first parent you are honoring thier role in your child's lives, even birth parent...I guess I don't understand how birth parent and natural parent are different? With birth you are saying you just gave birth, with natural you are saying you are only his natural mom, assumably by birth. I just wonder how natural parent is going to make the child feel.

Again, I respect everyone's opinion and enjoy this conversation very much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again Natalie, for sharing morning tea with me. I appreciate your honesty in saying how you feel. I value this conversation too.

Let me clarify my comment about using natural parent interchangably with birth parent because my feeling is my children need to feel "natural-ness" even though they do not live with their first parents. The general public uses this language therefore I need to be able to use this term without it threatening who I am to my children. And it doesn't have to imply we are an un-natural family. Because my feeling is, it doesn't. But I've had lots of years to come to this realization. And that's not to say your opinion should be discounted because it's just as important as mine.

I dont' know, maybe I'm way off base.

There just has to be a way for everyone to have a label/term of endearment that's comfortable; honest and respectful of everyone in the triad.

Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do agree very much Karen - I have to find a way to accept the usage of the word. I had to do this with many things, people calling thier birthparents mom and dad, to people saying adoption is unnatural. It's hard at first but then you grow to appreciate and it doesn't hurt so much anymore when people say these things. I actually feel that way about mom and dad. I think I'd cringe less if people called M or N Mom vs Natural Parent. I'm not sure why that is?

Maybe it's as you say - I'm seeing it as saying we are un-natural and I need to do some soul searching and tell myself that's not really the case. I guess maybe it's yet another reminder of how my family is not a natural family, and being a transracial family on top of an adoptive family I think I am constantly bombarded with reminders of that. Yup...I think that is my issue with natural parent. I understand I'm not natural, but it gets really hard to hear it all the time. I think I'm fully confident in my role as mom to these two beautiful black boys until something like this pops up and I realize just how tiring it can be. For some reason natural parent on a legal document isn't nearly as offensive as using the words every day to me...I'm not sure why that is?

Now, that being said this is my own personal fight, my own insecurities I need to pan out. When it comes to my boys I will tell them the positive meaning natural can have, and I will supress my feelings as much as possible, especially if they choose to use this terminology.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I definitely don't think there is a "one" answer fits all in this circumstance. Something that might offend me might not offend the next 'adoptive' mother or something that might offend Dora might not offend the next 'birth' mother. I think it is something where we have to determine what fits in our relationship with our child(ren)'s first family and vice versa and then all other people around us have to accept that this is what we have decided for terminology for each other. People are all so different that this might be the only way to have a clear cut answer.

My two cents for whatever that is worth. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...wether or not the adoption was a negative experience or not for the birth parent, we still owe it to the child to make it out to be positive as much as we can

I dont think placing a child for adoption is a positvive experience for the majority of women in that posiyion. However I do think the nutural/adoptive parents play a huge role in weither or not the natutal/birth/first parents veiw it poistivly, by keeping the agreed upon contact and presenting them in a way they want to be toward the child they placed. I know that this wasn't exectly what most people have in mind when they consider adoptiong but by ensuring that the birth/narutal/first parents are comfortable with their decision the adoptive/nutural parents actually help their child have a more positve veiw of having been placed for and subsquently adopted.

...it's also about significant people in the child's life who need to feel validated as "real parents" as positively as possible.

This is exactly what I'm talking about. :D

It's also another idea in trying to make birth certificate more inclusive, more honest, more open by including both, parents of origin (natural parents if you will) and nurtural parents.

Man from my preseceptive this would be a dream come true! I know the birth certificate is "just a sheet of paper" but still, it hurts to technically not exisit to the child you love

I definitely don't think there is a "one" answer fits all in this circumstance. Something that might offend me might not offend the next 'adoptive' mother or something that might offend Dora might not offend the next 'birth' mother. I think it is something where we have to determine what fits in our relationship with our child(ren)'s first family and vice versa and then all other people around us have to accept that this is what we have decided for terminology for each other. People are all so different that this might be the only way to have a clear cut answer.

True!

I love when the exchange of ideas on here goes this way!! B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kristal, I was hoping you'd come back to this topic.

I encourage others to chime in!!!! This is an important discussion for all of us touched by adoption.

Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whoops!! I just noticed all the typos! Karina was helping, she doesn't really have that down yet though! Sorry, I hope you can understand what I meant though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not quite sure where to put this, but I'm FLABBERGASTED by the language on this facilitator's homepage: http://www.heartfeltadoption.com/newbabies.htm. I cringe at the use of "available" to refer to "birthmothers" who haven't placed yet, but I my jaw just dropped at this:

"OH WHAT A HAPPY DAY!! This birthmother is pregnant again and her estimated due date is April 2010. My first choice is to try and keep these two babies together in the same family. Therefore, I have contacted the couple and they are talking about it. Some of these birth mothers are simply the best little baby makers!! I am thankful for everyone of them. I call them professional birth mothers because they perform this task so well."

Editing to add this:

"If you follow my web site, I am sure you realize that they come in, get matched, have their baby and go on their way. Just like a revolving door, birthmothers and adoptive couples are constantly coming and going."
Edited by Calix

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seriously, is this for real??? The link did not work for me.

My hand actually went up to my mouth, and I gasped after reading the quotes.

Just makes me ill. Who in their right mind would think this way??????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×