Using positive adoption language is important in every-day life. If you are involved in the adoption process it’s important that you know the positive terminology so that you can pass it along to your family, as well as friends and co-workers who may not know what they are saying can be construed as offensive.
Each week we will review a positive adoption term and it’s unconstructive counterpart. If you have any suggestions for more positive or negative terms that we haven’t covered yet, please leave them in the comments, or email Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s positive adoption phrase is “birth child” and its negative counterpart is “own child.” Whether you are an adoptive parent or birth parent, there is no “own child” as the child would not have the life that he/she currently has without all of his/her adoptive and birth parents.
Often people unfamiliar with adoption ask, “Do you have any of your own children?” This is a common question and is often cited as one of the most uncomfortable and un-welcomed questions received by adoptive parents. How you answer communicates to the person asking and to your child who may be listening that your child belongs with you and your family.
It is important for your son/daughter to know that they are loved by both their adoptive and birth parents. Labeling the birth parent as the “real parent” or having your son/daughter called the birth parents “own child” would not be in the best interest of the child.