We have experienced personally and are familiar with many instances where the words spoken about adoption or directly to those in the process of making an adoption plan were not appropriate for that encounter. These statements are often made by someone who cares or is interested, not necessarily someone who is intentionally not supportive. However, without knowledge of the language or thinking through how kids might take the words spoken in their presence (questions to their parents, etc.) we can be hurtful and add to the wounds someone may already be dealing with in their adoption story. Please know, we never want to stifle discussion of adoption or make people fearful to ask questions as they consider adoption themselves, and we know that more discussion of adoption as a loving and biblical option will normalize it in a country where abortion is the predominant choice for women. As an advocate for adoption, you are in an awesome position to support this option in your community. Those of you who are a friend/family member of individuals who have adopted, are adoptees, or made an adoption plan, you should not be afraid to be a listening ear and supportive prayer warrior.
Some basic things to consider:
- There is no "real" mom, which automatically suggests a fake mom. There is a "birth mom" who gave the child their biology and cared for them until the adoptive parents were granted the parenting responsibility. Both women are "real" moms and share a bond of love with their child.
- Birth parents "make an adoption plan" and the baby is NOT "given away" like you give away items you don't need anymore. This is a loving decision to place a child with a family that can provide in a way the birthparents do not feel equipped.
- If your sibling is adopting a child, the child is your nephew or niece. It is best to not put qualifiers in front of it and say "adopted/adoptive nephew" in the same way you wouldn't say, this is my "brown-haired niece" or my "blue-eyed nephew." It does not change who they are to you.
- As you want to ask questions of your friends who have adopted, consider their child's age if you are going to ask anything in front of them. Some parents prefer to not discuss many details in front of their children so it is always wise to ask the individual what they feel comfortable sharing about their adoption story and what they are comfortable sharing in front of their child.
Feel free to ask us questions in the comments below or on Facebook if you are curious how to handle certain situations, and check out these articles for more information on positive adoption language:
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