Adoption Friendly Language

Adoption has come along way over the last 60 years.  Gone are the days when women were sent off to “live with family” for 30-ish weeks, birth a child in a hospital room only to have their child whisked behind a curtain never to know if that child was a boy or girl, healthy, black, white or purple.

In today’s world the majority of adoptions are considered open.  An Open Adoption can mean a variety of things.  But what it basically means is that it is not a traditional Closed Adoption.  A Traditional Closed Adoption meant that the birth parents had no idea whom the baby was going to, nor had any say in the selection of the adoptive parents.  It also meant that they had no contact with the child through that child’s life, nor received any information or updates on the health and well-being of that child.

An Open Adoption can vary from a Semi-Open adoption to very Open Adoption (we’ll define them below).  But, what you need to know as the supporter of an adoptive parent (or even just as a voting constituent) is that most adoptions in today’s society are some level of an Open Adoption.

I’m going to break this next section up.  First, I’m going to share with you positive Adoption Language.  These are terms that should be used when speaking of an adoption.

Birth Mother- The biological creator of said adoptive child.
Terms that will make an Adoptive Parent cringe when referring to a Birth Mother: Real Mother, “Your babies mom”, “Your child’s real mom”

Placing a Child for Adoption– The act of placing a child for adoption.
Other positive terms: Creating/Created an Adoption Plan
Terms that will make an Adoptive Parent/Birth Parent cringe when referring to this act: Gave her/his/their baby up

Biological Child (Bio Child)- A child adoptive parents have biological connections to.
Terms that will make an Adoptive Parent Cringe: Real Child, Child of your own

Semi-Open Adoption- An adoption where the birth parents have selected the adoptive parents.  Updates are sent to the birth parents monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

Open Adoption- An adoption where birth parents know substantial information about the adoptive parents including first and last names, city and state where they live.  Adoptive parents and Birth Parents may exchange phone calls, text messages, and even meet up in person.

Adoption Plan- The act of creating a plan to place a child for adoption.

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