One of the ways we can spread a positive adoption message is to intentionally change our language surrounding adoption. Many of us are accustomed to the term give up your child for adoption. When we take a moment to think about the implications of this phrase, we realize that a birth mother might be “giving up” a lot, but she is by no means “giving up” on her child.
We had to share this article from our friends over at Adoption.com, which sheds some great light on the importance of understanding the words we use when talking or writing about adoption...
Give up a Child for Adoption - Why children are “placed” for adoption and what is really “given up.”
WHAT IS LOST IN ADOPTION.
I had a hard time when people would compare the loss of a child to adoption. I would get pretty upset because I was with families all of the time who had lost their child (I volunteered to take pictures of stillborn babies at the hospitals). What these families wouldn’t GIVE to see their child again, see them breathe, watch them grow up, etc. I felt like it wasn’t the same at all. Then I discovered adoption wasn’t really about the loss of the child, but the loss of so many other things. Everyone grows up with a dream about how their life will go. When it doesn’t go the way we planned it, we have to give up that dream and create another one.
WHAT BIRTH MOTHERS GIVE UP.As a birth mother, you give up the opportunity to be that child’s mother. You give up watching so many firsts, seeing that child everyday, etc. You give up your dream about how your life was supposed to be. Everyone’s story is different, but everyone gives up opportunities that come with being a mother to that child. (This also applies to birth fathers and birth families as well).
WHAT ADOPTIVE MOTHERS GIVE UP.As an adoptive mother, you have to give up on the dream of having a biological child. You give up feeling that baby move and grow inside you, watching them be born from you and, when you see them, seeing all of those physical characteristics that just look like you and instantly bond you as their parent. You give up being the only mother in this child’s life and will forever share that with another woman. I don’t mean co-parenting, but I do mean that that birth mother is forever in your thoughts, even in a closed adoption, when your child does anything. This also applies to adoptive fathers and families.
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