Young Woman Discussing Problems With CounselorRecently, we’ve had a number of questions about how to use (and share!) positive adoption language.  Here are a few of the questions we’ve received, along with answers from our adoption coordinators.
Our parents and grandparents keep saying ‘put up for adoption’ when they talk about children.  We understand that this is tied back to slaves being put up on the auction block and have shared that with our family, but they keep saying it.  I cringe every time I hear it. Do you have any suggestions?
For many people, especially older generations, their words and perceptions are going to be hard to change.  If you have educated them by stating it, then try a different technique.  Before answering or engaging, confirm what they mean by saying “Are you referring to a woman placing a child for adoption?” or “Do you mean children available for adoption?”  Asking question like this will show your commitment to positive adoption experience and perception.
The birth mother we are talking to talks about ‘giving up’ her baby. Do we correct her or just let it go?
We wouldn’t recommend correcting her, but you can use positive adoption language in your conversation, such as “Yes, we are so grateful you are making an adoption plan.”   Do go overboard, but try to keep your words positive.
One exception to this might be if you are working with a developmentally delayed birth parent, which is rare.  In those cases, you may need to use the same language she is using in order for her to understand you.
During our fundraiser, we had a comment from a friend that we must be “buying a baby” if we have to raise money.  We tried to explain that adoption requires us to pay professionals and possibly medical fees, and that it is definitely not buying a baby. Is there something else we could have said?
You did great!  Many people like to say that “Adoption should be free,” and in a perfect world, that may be true.  Just as a biological pregnancy requires a financial aspect, typically mainly covered by insurance, adoption has a financial aspect as well, that is not covered by any insurance.  Even adoptions through the state that are “free”, are not free.  They are more expensive than independent adoptions, however, the financial burden is borne by taxpayers.
If you have questions or want more resources on positive adoption language, see this chart that provides positive alternatives.