Positive Adoption Language

MAA Picnic -Reunion 7.12 (91)International Adoption Definitions:

Race: the most widely used human racial categories are based on visible traits (especially skin color, facial features and hair texture), genes, and self-identification. Conceptions of race, as well as specific racial groupings, vary by culture and time, and are often controversial, for scientific reasons as well as because of their impact on social identity and identity politics. Some scientists regard race as a social construct while others maintain it has genetic basis.

Ethnicity: generally describes groups with a shared identity, shared origins, interests and codes; a given of social existence deriving from birth into a particular community of language, belief and social practice.

Culture: a social set of beliefs and practices shared by a group of individuals; people have cultural identities.

Bringing a child into your family of another race/culture/ethnicity changes your family forever. Even if the child placed with you bears a remarkable family resemblance, there is a difference. Madison Adoption Associates believes that such a difference should be acknowledged, respected and honored.

Positive Adoption Language
Our words convey our thoughts and values. By using positive adoption language, we promote adoption as a valued way to build a family, and not second-best to biological families. By using positive adoption language, we reflect the true nature of adoption. Words not only communicate facts, they also evoke feelings. We speak and write in positive adoption language with the hope of impacting others. By using positive adoption language, we educate others about adoption.

Positive Language  Negative Language
Birthparent Real parent
Biological parent Natural parent
Birth child Own child
My child Adopted child; Own child
Born to unmarried parents Illegitimate
Terminate parental rights Give up
Make an adoption plan Give away
To parent To keep
Waiting child Adoptable child; Available child
Parent Adoptive parent
International adoption Foreign adoption
Search Track down parents
Child placed for adoption Unwanted child
Court termination Child taken away
Child with special needs Handicapped child
Was adopted Is adopted

 Four Adoption Terms Defined

Natural child: any child who is not artificial.
Real parent:
any parent who is not imaginary.
Your own child:
any child who is not someone else’s child.
Adopted child:
a natural child, with a real parent, who is all my own.