When we speak, the words we use express our values and thoughts and feelings. It is important that we consider the words that we choose to use. The words we use have can carry a certain connotation and emotion to the listener. It is import especially in the way we communicate with children in the case adoption or otherwise. Positive adoption language is necessary in order to reduce prejudice or feelings of inadequacy our children learn. There are numerous suggested phrases that can be used to express yourself on the topic of adoption in a positive and considerate manner.
The people that are affected the most by discussions of adoption are those children who have been adopted. It is import to help remove feelings of rejection with positive adoption language. By using negative words about their birth parent or the choice they made we reinforce these feelings rather reducing them. Instead of using words like “your real mom gave you up” or “put you up for adoption”, use words that reinforce the importance of the decision their birth parent had to make. It is important to emphasis the amount of thought and emotion that was involved in the process of their parent choosing an adoption plan in order to put the needs of their unborn child first. Even though the biological parent gave up their parental rights does not mean they gave up their feelings of love or hope for the child they brought into this world.
It is suggested that we examine the cliché terms that we use in reference to adoption and look to more positive adoption language. For example rather than using terms such as natural parent or real parent use terms such as biological parent or birthparent. The term real parent also infers that the adoptive parent is not a true parent. When referring to the adoptive parent why must we use a label? Positive adoption language would suggest using the term parent, after all that is what they are. It is just as important that individuals do not emphasize on such distinctions as my own child, my adopted child or use the phrase a child of my own. It is important that every child feel equally loved and valued now matter how they became a part of that family. Using labels only allows for feelings of inadequacy and awkwardness.
A professor of mine once said, “Once you take a child’s self-esteem away you can never give it back. That it something only they can do and it is a lot more difficult to regain your self-esteem than it is to maintain it.” It is our role to guide our children and to love them. For a child who has been adopted that self-esteem can be much harder to maintain without the use of positive adoption language. As with any child positive language of any sort will help them to feel better about themselves and the world around them.