Positive Adoption Language

When we speak about adoption, it is important to know the language of adoption because the words we use to tell the facts about adoption convey emotions and attitudes as well as facts. It is our responsibility as adoptive parents to know which adoption words to use to convey the best or most positive feelings.  Then, through our knowledge of adoption language, we can better educate our extended families, as well as the public, about adoption.


Positive Language

Negative Language

  • your child                                                       
  • your biological child                                     
  • birth/biological parent                               
  • child WAS adopted                                   
  • born to unmarried parents                          
  • made an adoption plan                                
  • terminate parental rights                              
  • international adoption                                 
  • child placed for adoption                          
  • child from abroad                                        
  • the birth mother is parenting her other child                                                              
  • You (adopted parents) are lucky to have such a great child                         
  • You (adopted parents) are special because you were “chosen” be [child]'s parents
  • your adopted child                                                 
  • your own child                                                          
  • real/natural parent                                                         
  • child IS adopted                                                            
  • illegitimate                                                               
  • give up/put up for adoption                                             
  • give up                                                                           
  • foreign adoption                                                           
  • unwanted child                                                             
  • foreign child                                                                   
  • the birth mother kept her other child                                                                                                    
  • You (adopted child) are lucky to have such great parents                                                                 
  • You (adopted child) are special because you were "chosen"                                                              


Click HERE (.doc) for a downloadable letter with Positive Adoption Language to customize and share with parents and teachers at your school.

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