Examples of Adoption-Friendly Language

September 8, 2015 | Posted In Featured | Share

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The way we talk about adoption can impact the way we and others around us perceive adoption. It can be very important to use positive adoption language whenever you talk about these very sensitive subjects. Below are some examples of positive ways to talk about adoption:

 

Positive Language

Negative Language

Child Adopted Child
Biological parent Natural/Real parent
Birth child Own child
Birth parent Real parent
Born to unmarried parents Illegitimate
Child from abroad Foreign child
Make an adoption plan/choose adoption Give away/give up
To parent To keep
Waiting child Adoptable child/available child
Search Track down parents
Adoption Triad Adoption Triangle
Making contact with Reunion
Interracial Mixed race
Inter-country adoption Foreign adoption
Child with special needs Handicapped child/special needs child
Child placed for adoption Unwanted child
Court termination Child taken away

*Adoption Options: A Fact Sheet for Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Child Welfare Information Gateway 2010. Web. May 30, 2012.

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  • Thank you for this list. We have an open adoption with our children’s first (birth) families. From being involved in a number of discussion groups, I’ve learned some first parents now prefer the term “first” families to “birth” family, especially with open adoptions. The idea is that “birth” happens once and that there is an ongoing relationship so there is much more to the relationship than just the birth.