During your Florida adoption process, there are so many phrases, words and terms that you will come across. Deciphering which are best to use may be hard to navigate. Small changes in the language you and the people around you use will benefit you, your baby and your adoptive family. Some older terms have negative connotations, so learning about positive adoption language is important, and crucial to your overall adoption experience.
Adoption Choices of Florida will help you practice correct terminology to use during your adoption journey. Don’t feel guilty if you misuse a term here and there. It may take time to fully implement everything. The adoption process is a learning journey that not everyone is taught or exposed to early on. Terminology is ever-changing, so having an open mind towards learning and maybe relearning will be powerful.
Some terms to avoid vs. what to replace them with may include:
The term “unwanted pregnancy” places a negative connotation on the pregnancy and child later on. Any negativity throughout your pregnancy will bring down your mood and make you feel unmotivated. In order to keep yourself motivated throughout your pregnancy, positive outlooks on your pregnancy and adoption journey will help you mentally, emotionally and physically.
Your pregnancy may not have been what you wanted at the moment and that is okay. Your baby will be a gift you can give to someone who really wants a child, and who is ready to raise and love him or her. You and your baby are greatly appreciated. No child is unwanted and everything happens for a reason.
Being adopted can contribute to shaping your baby’s identity, but isn’t truly who he or she is. It’s only part of who they are. The word “is” can insinuate that being adopted is one way how your baby identifies. This can take away from all of the other more important ways they may want to be identified. The same thing as you “were born,” not “I am born.” Small aspects are important details as an adoptee begins to examine their identity.
Adoption is just one part of any adoptee’s life, due to the adoptive parents you choose. While adoption as a whole doesn’t define your child, you still have a big role in choosing the adoptive family who will help shape him or her. Adoption is a lifelong journey, after all, and having that positive outlook on their identity is important for their later development and view on themselves.
The word “real” can make the adoptive parents feel invalidated. It can also imply that the adoptive family is not really your baby’s family. Having these thoughts will create a negative atmosphere for your child. Words elicit feelings that can affect you, your child and your adoptive family. What should be said, instead — especially when the adoptee or adoptive parents refer to you — is “birth mother” or “biological mother.”
This small difference will make everyone feel appreciated and understood. There is no competition between you and your adoptive family. You all work together to create a good life for your birth child. Your gift will always be appreciated, and you will always be their birth mother.
“Giving up” is a negative phrase that implies that you have failed at something. But, this is, in no way, accurate to what a birth mother does when she chooses adoption for her and her baby. Choosing to place your child for adoption in a loving and nurturing household exhibits how good of a mother you are. You are placing your baby for adoption because you care. Choosing to use positive terminology is one way to reassure yourself of the selfless choice you made.
You are choosing an adoptive family who will best raise your child in a similar way you would. You are a good mother and are not “giving up.” Choosing adoption and getting the recognition you deserve by just a change in terminology will go a long way. You are a selfless and good mother for putting your child’s future first.
Placing that label of “adopted child” may make your child feel different. Adoptive parents may be excited to adopt, but you can educate them on the fact that they should use terminology that doesn’t differentiate your child from any other biological child. If anyone else is referring to your child, they should not feel obligated to reference their being adopted.
Your child should feel comfortable and accepted. Having that label of being adopted may cause them to feel different from their siblings or not see themselves as an equal. This small change in claiming the “my” or eliminating the “adopted” will ensure their self-esteem and feeling of being wanted.
Not everyone is well-versed in which terms and phrases to use during the adoption process. Making these small changes to your vocabulary will help you, your child, and adoptive family. Vocabulary in everyday life may affect the people around you in ways you never thought of, so it is okay if you mess up.
The adoption process is a learning process. Adoption Choices of Florida will guide you through all the learning curves. Your adoption caseworker and counselor are available to help you determine how and when to use the different terminology. It’s always okay to slip up, but the effort of trying is what counts.
If you are a pregnant woman in Florida considering adoption, and have any questions or concerns about the adoption process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. For more information on adoption, visit us at Adoption Choices of Florida or call us at: (833) 352-3678
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