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What is Positive Adoption Language?

positive adoption language

Positive Adoption Language is a great way to talk about adoption!

There’s a lot of different language involving all parties in the adoption process. Language surrounding adoption changes depending on your stance on adoption. The two main types of language surrounding adoption are “Positive Adoption Language” and “Honest Adoption Language”. The difference between these two languages is drastic and immediately indicates the speaker’s stance on adoption.

Positive Adoption Language

Positive Adoption Language is the preferred language that is used by Adoption Makes Family. This type of language is gentle and values all parties in the adoption process equally. So, rather than referring to the biological mother as “first mother” or “natural mother”, we refer to the biological mother as the “birth mother”. This indicates the role of the birth mother as the individual who gave birth, which is an integral part of the adoption process. Terms like “first mother” and “natural mother” insinuated that the adoptive mother is “second” or “unnatural”. The equitable framework of Positive Adoption Language was first created in 1979. This language encourages respect for the emotions of all parties during the adoption process. This is why we choose to use Positive Adoption Language.

Honest Adoption Language

Honest Adoption Language was developed as a response to Positive Adoption Language about 15 years after Positive Adoption Language was introduced. This is language that is used by people who believe that adoption is unhealthy and should be avoided at all costs. In order to further this idea, Honest Adoption Language will use terms like “surrender for adoption” or “lost to adoption” that stand in stark contrast to terms in Positive Adoption Language, like “create an adoption plan”. A likely reason that Honest Adoption Language exists is because many who experienced adoption during the Baby Scoop Era of the 1940s to the 1970s had terrible experiences with unethical adoption. It’s important to remember that the adoption system has changed drastically for the better. Especially when you are using a personal, local adoption agency, you can expect care and respect for your wishes and needs. Adoption is a healthy, loving, positive choice for many whose lives are enriched by the adoption process. We feel that Positive Adoption Language accurately reflects the life-changing and heartwarming experience a modern adoption affords.

Want More Help? We Are Here For You!

Adoption Makes Family is here to help! We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. Our birth parent adoption counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience. If you would like our advice or just need to talk, please give us a call at any time.

24-Hour Hotline 410-683-2100

If you have any questions about how to create your adoption plan, you can contact us by e-mail – – or use our online contact form. Adoption Makes Family was founded to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents in a manner that is sensitive, compassionate, and personal.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 at 10:47 am . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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