Positive Adoption Language: What to Call a Pregnant Woman Considering Adoption in Kansas
The words we use affect people on a deeper level than we know, and using terms, verbiage, and language shows we respect that it is essential to be better as a society. The fact is, words can hurt, and the way we talk to and about people or groups of people can affect them and how the world perceives them. Using outdated and offensive terminology leads to misconceptions, untrue information, and overall casting a negative light. The adoption community, and especially the pregnant women considering the adoption process, still struggle to obtain that positive portrayal.
Adoption Choices of Kansas is passionate about helping pregnant women in Kansas but helping to educate and erase the negative stigma around adoption and those in the community. If you’re new to the adoption community or still considering adoption, it’s important to understand not just what to call a pregnant woman considering adoption but what not to use and the reasons why. Knowing is half the battle, and understanding is the other. It’s great to shift your vocabulary to more thoughtful language, but understanding why specific names, words, or terms are correct, shows a different level of respect.
What is Positive Adoption Language?
Positive adoption language (PAL) are the words we use when referring to birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees to show respect. Positive adoption language is an important step in normalizing adoption as a valid way of creating a family. Creating equal ground and not placing one type of family on a higher pedestal than another.
Why is Correct Terminology Important in Adoption?
Using correct language shows respect to the birth mother, adoptive parents, and adoptee. Not only that, it’s an opportunity to educate those around us. Words matter, and the words we choose when communicating with others often have a more significant impact than you know. Adoption isn’t new, but it is still growing and evolving, along with its language. As a part of the adoption community, the influence you hold is substantial. Lead by example and teach those in your life about positive adoption language.
Examples of Correct and Incorrect Names for a Woman Considering Adoption
There is an endless list of names people may have called a pregnant woman considering adoption. Not all of them elicit the same emotions and reactions in everyone, but it’s crucial to be sensitive. They already go through the emotional gauntlet. Even if you don’t fully understand why a particular name is hurtful or doesn’t feel hurtful to you, you need to respect each other’s feelings.
Preferred Adoption Terms in Kansas
Many of the terms we want to avoid put the parents who are adopting on a higher pedestal than the birth mother, and often paint her in a negative way. They can also skew and diminish the roles of those adopting. These terms put everyone on a level field, and give them the respect and recognition they deserve.
It’s perfectly fine to say an expectant mother or an expecting mother. The pregnant woman is, in fact expecting, and also a mother. Even when a woman has passed over her parental rights to the adoptive parents, she is still a mother.
While birth mother is a great term to use, you must know when to use it. A birth mother is a term used for a woman who has chosen adoption and given birth. It’s common to mislabel still pregnant women considering adoption as birth mothers. Just remember, if she’s given birth, she is a birth mother.
Biological Mother (Bio-Mom)
Biological mother, father, or parent are perfectly agreeable terms. The person who created and gave birth to the child is, in fact, their blood biological parent.
Adoption Terms to Avoid
Well-meaning people talking about adoption may often use these terms. So why are they bad? These terms are problematic because they are based on misguided assumptions about adoption. They are very damaging and only serve to promote misconceptions about adoption.
Using the term real mom can be very hurtful to an adoptive mother. The name, real mom, implies that they are not real. The mom of the adoptee is very much a mom, along with the legal parental rights— she will raise the child and love them as her own.
This one might seem confusing, but in the same vein as the term, real, it implies that the mother is not natural. There is nothing unnatural about adoption or the family that chooses to adopt a child.
Your Words Can Help The Adoption Community
You may have your preferred name that we didn’t cover. It ultimately comes down to what you’re comfortable with, as long as it’s not hurtful to others. Be a positive representative of the adoption community. It can be hard, but try to correct those around you if they use incorrect names and explain why they’re wrong or upsetting. Pregnant women considering adoption deserve to be respected. Albeit small, using positive adoption language and preferred names is a significant step towards more people seeing how wonderful adoption and adoption community are.
Meet the Author: Michelle Brugioni is a practiced, well-versed college-educated writer and avid coffee drinker. She has ten years of experience as a freelance writer and has written for an alarmingly wide range of clients and publications. She has written on topics like: life science, biopharmaceutical company acquisitions, dealing with anxiety, and creative drinking games.
As a fearless writer and masterful researcher, each time Michelle is approached with the question, “Can you write this?” she responds confidently with, “When do you need it?”