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Positive Adoption Language

Positive Adoption Language


What is positive adoption language and why is it important? Words have power in every aspect of life, words convey messages and feelings, and the way people choose words can indicate their true thoughts and values. When it comes to adoption, many people are not familiar or connected to the adoption process and may be less familiar with adoption terms. As adoption can be an emotional topic, it is important to make sure the terms used are positive. Changing the way the public refers to adoption can play a big role in helping change any negative stigma surrounding adoption. Even small changes can have a profound effect to help people better understand the process of adoption.

Below are common terms used in adoption that can be avoided and the positive terms that can be used in their place.

Terms to avoid:                                                                                Positive Adoption Language:

Real Parent                                                                                         Birth Parent/Biological Parent

Unwanted Pregnancy                                                                         Unplanned Pregnancy

Give baby up/Give away baby                                                            Make an adoption plan/place child for adoption

Adopted child                                                                                      My child

To keep                                                                                               To parent

Adopt out my baby                                                                              Place baby for adoption

Positive adoption language encourages the world to view adoption as a positive option for those who cannot or are not ready to parent. By using positive adoption language, it is a way to honor and show respect to birth parents for making a loving, courageous, and selfless choice. For adoptive parents, using positive adoption language strengthens their role as their child’s forever family. Most importantly for the child, using positive adoption language gives them confidence about their story.

Whether you are an expectant or birth parent, a waiting adoptive family, clinical professional, or even just a friend to an adoptive family, it is crucial that you familiarize yourself with positive adoption language.