I have to admit, before my husband and I entered the world of adoption, I had never given much thought to “adoption-friendly language.” Yet even having been there myself, I still find myself surprised when I hear terms that I would no longer use coming from someone else. So, here are a couple of terms to consider:
Real (As in “Real Parents” or “Real Siblings”)
I am MJ’s mother. My husband is her father. K and M are her siblings. She also has birthparents in China. It is possible that she has biological siblings there, too. All of us are “real” people. However, we are the parents who are with her every day. We deal with the homework and the tears and the dance lessons and teaching of values and morals and all of the other day-to-day tasks of parents. We are simply said, her parents.
“Their Own Children”
So many times I have heard people say something like, “Bob and Sue had 2 kids of their own, and then they adopted.” There are lots of variations, but you get the idea. Adopted children are as much their parents’ “own” children as their biological children. We currently have one adopted child and two biological children. They are all our “own,” and I couldn’t imagine our life without any one of them.
There are other examples of adoption-friendly language out there, but these two I find are the most common ones that I hear.
And just for a little lagniappe, a couple of things to keep in mind while talking to families with Chinese (or any Asian race) of children...
“Ch*na d*ll” may seem like a very cute way of referring to a sweet little baby girl who was born in China, but it actually has a very negative connotation. I’m not going into details, but you can find out easily enough.
“Asian” refers to people. “Oriental” refers to objects.
And now that my soapbox post is coming to an end, I will say that I will pick up the next post in this series on Monday. Stay tuned for lighter fare this weekend.