|POSITIVE LANGUAGE||NEGATIVE LANGUAGE|
|Birth parent||Real parent|
|Biological parent||Natural parent|
|Birth child||Own child|
|My child||Adopted child|
|Born to unmarried parents||Illegitimate|
|Terminate parental rights||Give up|
|Make an adoption plan||Give away|
|To parent||To keep|
|Waiting child||Adoptable child|
|Making contact with||Reunion|
|Search||Track down parents|
|Child placed for adoption||Unwanted child|
|Court termination||Child taken away|
|Child with special needs||Handicapped child|
|Was adopted||Is adopted|
|Two years behind in development||Retarded (or other descriptive language)|
|Spinabifida, cleft lip, or other specific condition||Deformed|
|Has disability or is physically challenged||Handicapped|
|Describe specifics–intelligence||Normal or grade level|
|Separated from parents or rejected||Deserted or abandoned|
|Is taking Ritalin||Hyperactive|
|Neurological impairment||Brain damaged|
I can’t stand positive adoption language, or PAL.
It is a tool used by the adoption industry to normalize the act of giving you child away to strangers. That sounds horrible, because it is!
How much nicer to think a loving mother made an adoption plan, and lovingly placed her newborn in another’s arms, then went on to live a happy, carefree life, sans baby. What could be better?
Who want to hear of a desperate woman, convinced she will never be good enough for her own child. Who wants to hear her cries as she walks away from her newborn, breasts still leaking milk, body still battered by childbirth? The months and years of grief, for both mother and baby?
Much better to use PAL. No pain in that story! Whitewashed by new, better language.
How about changing murder to involuntary termination of respiration? Rape: Unplanned sexual intercourse. We can make anything palatable, if the language is right.
I was given away, surrendered, relinquished. It was cruel, brutal and very ugly. My language reflects that. Real adoption language reflects the truth. The horror.