Letter to the editor: Be sensitive to adopted children

Be sensitive to adopted children

In honor of November being National Adoption Awareness Month, the Christian Child Placement Service where I intern would like to draw attention to the importance of positive adoption language.

People with the best intentions can cause harm by using ill-informed words regarding those who have been involved in the adoption process.

If people will change their vocabulary, everyone may feel more respected.

For example, if someone regards the biological parent as the “real parent,” it can imply the adoptive parent is illegitimate. A more positive approach would be to regard them as “biological.”

Another example is when people say a child was “given up for adoption.” This can imply to the child they are not valuable. A more positive approach is to say the child was “placed” for adoption.

When in doubt you may want to ask the people who have been involved in adoption what makes them feel respected.

Here are some examples provided by Adoptive Families Magazine of how to change your vocabulary to positive adoption language.

• Birthparent instead of real parent;

• Biological instead of natural parent;

• Birth child instead of own child;

• My child instead of adopted child or own child;

• Born to unmarried parents instead of illegitimate;

• Terminate parental rights instead of give up;

• Make an adoption plan instead of give away;

• To parent instead of to keep;

• Waiting child instead of adoptable child or available child;

• Making contact with instead of reunion;

• Intercountry adoption instead of foreign adoption;

• Adoption triad instead of adoption triangle;