I was just reading an article for journalists about writing stories about adoption. First section was of course on using positive adoption language and how much the language has changed in the last few years, and the last section was about ensuring to not only cover the happy side and only write feel good articles because you also have to respect that deep loss occurs in adoption. Sadly it appears that journalists of today skipped the last section of this article, or just briefly skimmed it and saw ‘write only feel good articles’ and NPR has proved that with Simon what his name adoption story.
But I digress…it is the positive adoption language that truly gets me riled up. How does ‘made an adoption plan’ make me, the adoptee feel? Like a commodity that was not wanted and plans were made as soon as they knew about me, to get rid of me. I do understand how it takes the guilt off the adopting parents, no questioning of whether the mother coerced or manipulated, and instead she chose to make an adoption plan, its win-win-win. So I do understand why they want to and appear to have changed that terminology, but back again to the adoptee inside of me, and I say no it is not a positive picture I would want to have in my head growing up. Imagine if I grew up feeling I was so unwanted that there was only positive happy thoughts planning my adoption while my mother was pregnant with me. Sorry, I want to believe that my mother wanted me and loved me but because she had no choice, she had to surrender me to be placed for adoption. I can see no positives in this new phrase ‘made an adoption plan’. To me this new phrase equals in stupidity the phrase ‘she loved you so much she gave you away’ = both phrases equal the same = unwanted. Please do not try to make the words positive because there is nothing positive about it, my mother lost, my family lost, and I lost my family. I gained a family when I was adopted and that is the positive but making the loss side positive? Does not work for me. My mother was in a position where she had no choice so she surrendered me for adoption = that is the reality and that is the truth.
All adoption language should be based in reality and truth. Without terminology based on reality and truth words become manipulative and corrupted. It becomes a tool to brainwash others, i.e. adoptees and when they start to question the reality they will become angry that they were lied to with pretty words designed to white-wash the truth. Next time you see that chart on Positive versus Negative adoption language stop and think about whether you want to live in the real honest world or the rose-colored glasses of denial and what pictures those positive words really give to the adoptee about ‘their worth’.