Accurate Adoption Language
Words Convey Important Messages!
Words not only convey facts, they also evoke feelings. For example, when a TV show or movie contains language about a “custody battle” between “real parents” and “other parents”, this reinforces the inaccurate notion that only birthparents are real parents and that adoptive parents aren’t real parents. Members of society may also wrongly conclude that all adoptions are “battles”.
Accurate adoption language can stop the spread of misconceptions such as these. By using accurate language, we educate others about adoption. We choose emotionally “correct” words over emotionally laden words. We speak and write using appropriate adoption language in the hope of influencing others so that this language will someday become the norm.
|ACCURATE LANGUAGE||LESS-ACCURATE LANGUAGE|
|Birthparent/biological parent||Real parent, natural parent|
|Birth child||Own child, real child, natural child|
|My child||Adopted child, own child|
|Person/Individual who was adopted||Adopted child, own child|
|Born to unmarried parents||Illegitimate|
|Make an adoption plan, choose adoption||Give away, adopt out, give up, put up|
|To parent the baby/child||To keep the baby|
|Child in need of a family||Adoptable child/unwanted child|
|Child who has special needs||Handicapped child, hard to place|
|Was adopted||Is adopted|
|Choosing an adoption plan||Giving away your child|
|Finding a family to parent your child||Putting your child up for adoption|
|Parenting the baby/child||Keeping your baby|
|Confidential adoption||Closed adoption|
|Unintended pregnancy||Unwanted/problem pregnancy|
|Fully-disclosed adoption||Open adoption|
|Semi-open adoption||Open adoption|
National Council for Adoption 2007