Monday, March 15, 2010


I just emailed another reporter and sent her an article about positive adoption language. She wrote an article about a pregnant girl "...who is deciding whether to keep her baby or put it up for adoption."

What is this, 1950? "put it up for adoption" -- like she's posting an ad or craigslist or something? (uh, if craigslist existed in know what I'm trying to say)

I can assure you that pregnant girls/women who are considering adoption do not do so lightly. It's hurtful to both the birth mother and to adopted children to speak about the process as if one is throwing an object up on a shelf somewhere for someone else to pick up. The correct term is "make an adoption plan."

I have once before written a reporter about this (yes, politely), and he was very gracious in his response. I might come across here like I'm angry about it (because I kind of am; more so annoyed), but have written to reporters in the spirit of educating them, as I have been educated along the way.

Here's what I sent them, from Adoptive Families Magazine:

"The way we talk—and the words we choose—say a lot about what we think and value. When we use positive adoption language, we say that adoption is a way to build a family just as birth is. Both are important, but one is not more important than the other. Choose the following positive adoption language instead of the negative talk that helps perpetuate the myth that adoption is second best. By using positive adoption language, you’ll reflect the true nature of adoption, free of innuendo."

[then there's a list of positive and negative language that I can't seem to paste in here, but it includes things like using the term "birth parent" instead of "real parent"--if you're interested in the list, go here.

More from Adoptive Families magazine:

"Words not only convey facts, they also evoke feelings. When a TV movie talks about a "custody battle" between "real parents" and "other parents," society gets the wrong impression that only birthparents are real parents and that adoptive parents aren’t real parents. Members of society may also wrongly conclude that all adoptions are "battles." Positive adoption language can stop the spread of misconceptions such as these. By using positive adoption language, we educate others about adoption. We choose emotionally "correct" words over emotionally-laden words. We speak and write in positive adoption language with the hopes of impacting others so that this language will someday become the norm."

*Update* Just got this from the reporter:
"Thank you so much for the correction. I'll make sure to change it immediately. I really do appreciate it. Thanks and have a great day."



luna said...

kudos to you, kris! that kind of thing really bothers me, but I don't always take the time to do the educating. good for you.

Other Mother said...

I agree with your sentiment. Language is so important as it sets the tone for what you are trying to communicate. "Put it up for adoption" is so painful and negative. I placed my child for adoption with a loving family that can provide to him what I am not able to do so myself at this time. I literally placed my child lovingly in the arms of someone else, I didn't, "put it up for adoption", that kind of language negates that I discarded him like he wasn't important. On the contrary, he is the most important person in my life and he always will be and that's why I gave him better than myself. Good for you. So much education needs to occur on the world of adoption and what it is. Good for you. And, thank you.