Positive Adoption Lanuage (PAL)

There is a lot of terminology out there that people use when talking about adoption and the people that are part of the process. I wanted to give an overview of some of the terms and why one thing should be used in place of the other when talking about adoption.

Adoptive parents vs. not the real parents

Adoptive parents are parents just like all others the only difference being that they did not conceive them and carry them until they were born. They have held the parenting role of caring for the child after placement though and are the same as other parents in wanting what is best for their child.

Birthmother/birthfather vs. the real parents

Birth parents are no more the parents than the adoptive parents of a particular child. They all want what is best for the child and although the birth mother carried the baby and cared for him/her before they were born until they were placed for adoption and continue to care what happens to them after they are being cared for by their other parents.

Deciding to parent vs. keeping the child

This comes down to the birth parents all want to keep their child with them but they don’t feel like they can properly parent their child for one reason or another. So when they decide to not place for adoption they are choosing to parent their child themselves.

Placing for adoption vs. giving up your child

Placing a child for adoption has a more positive language to it because they are taking great care in determining the future for their child. They are not abandoning their child and just giving them away as they love their child and want to find the best situation for them to have a good life.

A child who was adopted vs. an adopted child

The first one talks about an event that happened to the child whereas the second one is an adjective, like saying the child is different than other children because they were adopted.

Child vs. adopted child, birth child, natural child, etc.

In my opinion the birth parents and the adoptive parents all deserve to call the child that links them as their child because they all took part in who that child is going to become. In positive adoption language they usually talk about how to the birth parents the child is a birth daughter or birth son but in my mind although they didn’t parent the child they did conceive them and with an open adoption stay involved in their life.


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