Adoption in Reno, BM Blog

By Adoption Choices of Nevada

How to Use Adoption Positive Language on Your Adoption Journey

If you are a birth mother seeking real choices for adoption in Nevada, you may come across a lot of different terminologies and discussions around adoption. Positive adoption language, or PAL, is the best kind of language to center the adoption conversation. Adoption Choices of Nevada is an adoption agency that focuses on making the adoption process as respectful and supportive for birth mothers as possible. Positive adoption language are words that remove the stigma and negative connotations from the adoption process and are focused on showing respect for all individuals involved, from birth mother to adoptive families. Read on to learn more about ways to use positive adoption language and its benefits.

Examples of Negative Adoption Language and Why You Should Replace Them with PAL

Negative adoption language includes phrases like “put up for adoption”, “give up baby” and “real mother.” These words have an implied harmful meaning that can make all parties in the adoption process feel uncomfortable. Birth mothers can feel more judged and guilty about their choice. It can make them feel like a failure or that they are “giving up” their child like an object. This underlying message is very harmful not only for the mindset of the birth mother, but also for the child being placed for adoption, if they hear these words when they get older.

Similarly, negative adoption language can also cause the adoptive parents to view the birth mother and her situation more negatively. This can cause them to stigmatize the adoption process and have prejudices about birth mothers. Additionally, adoptive parents may also feel more emotions of pity or sadness about the adoption process instead of joy or gratefulness. They may begin to feel like they are “taking in” a baby that was “put up” or “given up” instead of what’s actually happening: giving a deserving baby a loving home.

Positive adoption language is important because it reframes the mindset and attitudes around the adoption phenomenon for all parties involved.

Positive adoption language destigmatizes the adoption process and puts the focus on the good deeds being done. It also helps frame the adoption process in a more neutral way as well. For example, the term “placing a baby for adoption” describes the act as more neutral than negative. Similarly, “choosing adoption” serves to describe the situation as a well thought out course of action that a birth mother actively chose for her baby.

The Benefits of Using PAL for Birth Parents, Adoptive Parents, and Adopted Children

Positive adoption language also has benefits for all the parties involved in the adoption process. For birth mothers, positive adoption language can make them feel more empowered in their decision. It can help them connect emotionally with their choice.

The benefits of positive adoption language for adoptive parents are that they will feel more connected to the birth mother through the process. Using words like “choosing adoption” and “placement” can be used for both parties of the process which can create a supportive environment for everyone involved.

Five Tips for Using PAL in Everyday Conversations About Adoption

Tip #1: Focus on the Good Deed

It may sound self explanatory, but focusing on the positive act being done in the adoption process can help reframe your language around the event. Since it can be a very emotional or even traumatizing event, you may think about the circumstances around choosing an adoption process for your child. You may focus on negative things that happened in your life that may have led you to make this choice. However, try to remember the good that will come from this. You are choosing to find a loving family for your baby. You are blessing an adoptive couple with the opportunity to welcome a child into their family where they may not have been able to before. When you focus on the positive aspects of adoption, it can help you use more positive adoption language.

Tip #2: When Discussing Adoptive Families, Try to Avoid Words like “Real Mother/Parents”

It can be very frustrating and invalidating to say “real mother” to describe a birth mother placing her child for adoption. This label can carry the meaning that the adoptive mother is less legitimate than the birth mother. This is far from the truth. Adoptive parents are also the child’s real parents. When referring to the birth mother, try to use words like “birth mother” or “first mother,” which better describes the situation.

Tip #3: Stay Away from Stigmatizing Language

Some of the most negative adoption language is centered around promoting stigma about the adoption process. Phrases like “giving up a child for adoption/giving baby up for adoption”, “putting baby up for adoption,” are very stigma focused. They emphasize negative prejudices about a birth mother and her assumed situation. Try to use phrases such as “place baby for adoption”,“choosing adoption” or “creating an adoption plan” instead.

Tip #4: Try to Describe the Adoption Process as a Plan

When discussing adoption, people often make the mistake of referring to adoption as a “last resort.” No matter your circumstance, remember that you are creating a plan for adoption. While the pregnancy may have been unplanned, that does not mean you do not have a choice to plan your next steps, or that your choice for adoption is “a way out.” You are never “giving up” or “taking a way out.” You are always making a brave, knowledgeable plan of action for your unborn child.

Tip #5: Think of Your Child’s Feelings

Remember that the children are another party involved in the adoption process. Although they might be a baby now, they will eventually grow older and begin to understand that they were adopted. It’s important to remember that using certain words can bring up feelings of neglect, unworthiness, and insecurity in children. Focusing on using positive adoption language when discussing adoption will also help prepare adoptive families for this discussion with their child in the future. Think of how your child may feel if you say phrases like “your birth mother gave you up” or “your real mother put you up for adoption.” These phrases can be very emotionally heavy on your child’s heart and can cause a strain on your relationship as adoptive parents as well.

Adoption Is A Positive Experience and Should Be Respected

If you are an expecting mother looking for pregnancy adoption help through local Reno adoption agencies, Adoption Choices of Nevada is a licensed adoption agency that can help you from start to finish. As an adoption agency focused on birth mothers through the adoption process, you can be sure that when you reach out, the process will be nothing but supportive and respectful. Adoption is a beautiful process. Let Adoption Choices of Nevada support you through your adoption plan today.