Synonyms, Semantics, who cares…

06 Sep


Fair warning this post is snarky; but you will understand why I’ve started it this way with an analogy if you read to the end:

I’ve decided that I’m going to use the term adopter instead of adoptive parent from now on – they are synonyms of the other, so they mean the exact same thing…who cares that some adopters become enraged, others feel demeaned, or feel that it is a derogatory term.  It’s easier for me, and they should just get over it, because I know other adopters who don’t care and use it themselves…

In fact, I’m recommending everyone that finds it too arduous (or politically correct) to type out adoptive parent use adopter instead.  So much easier to type one seven-letter word – than two words containing a total of 14 letters with a space in-between – far too much work, and who is anyone to tell me what words to use…

What I really set out to do in this post was to highlight the absolute fail of reading comprehension on-line, brought to you by commenters who allegedly read the post that started this conversation.  That instead of reading and listening to exactly what the author was speaking of in the post (not using those two letters on social media) linked at the top of this thread “BM vs. Birthmothers: The Importance Of Spelling It Out“, they were all too busy forming words in their heads to say why the author of the post was wrong, and why they will still use those two letters.

It appears the most common excuse is that it just semantics (hence my use of the synonyms analogy to start this post).  Never mind that the point of her post was to highlight just how quickly using those two letters takes a good discussion off-course.  It’s absolutely comical when you read the post, and then see all the bizarre comments about why they disagree, why some feel it is absolutely fine to use two letters, will still use the letters and prove that by using it in the comments, or even call their child’s mother an incubator.  It’s kind of like a feeding frenzy now, imagine what it will become in a couple of hours, and shows exactly what happens when people do not focus on reading what is written, and/or give a damn on how others may feel.  It’s also very illuminating that the adopters feel the privilege and power of being at the top of the ladder, and feel they don’t need to worry about what terms (or letters) they use, or don’t.  I honestly can’t wrap my head around the almost feral reaction to being asked not to use “BM” and hence why this is now my second (or third?) post this year on the subject…

P.s. – I’m kidding about switching to adopters because I actually give a damn about how people feel.  Adopter and the attitude of not caring was used as an analogy for adoptive parents benefit because I know many adoptive parents hate that term.


Sept 8, 2014 – they have deleted the thread completely on facebook page…that’s telling in and of itself…


Posted by on September 6, 2014 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , ,

22 responses to “Synonyms, Semantics, who cares…

  1. momsomniac

    September 6, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    BM? That’s horrible ~


  2. Frank Ligtvoet

    September 7, 2014 at 12:27 am

    I am an adopter and see no problem in the term, as long as adoptee is adoptee, and not adopted person. In daily life I am just daddy or Frank.


    • TAO

      September 7, 2014 at 12:55 am

      Hey Frank – mom uses the term all the time, it’s common in most other countries too. But I choose not to use it because it bothers so many. I was trying to break through at least one who feels the two letters is fine but gets upset when adopter is used for adoptive parent. That’s my hope anyway…

      Thanks for commenting…


  3. dpen

    September 7, 2014 at 1:53 am

    Hey Frank, I am an adopted person, not an adoptee….At the age of 57 think I will call myself what I want and except all the other little adopters and first mothers to respect that.


  4. dpen

    September 7, 2014 at 1:54 am

    Addendum to my comment: I was a a daughter to my parents(adoptive) and a daughter to my first parents…am no a mom and grandmother. thats it.


  5. Heather

    September 7, 2014 at 2:53 am

    I always enjoy reading your posts. You make so much sense.


  6. Raven

    September 7, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I tried reading the comments on the Facebook link, but after reading a few horrid remarks by adoptive parents about how their children’s natural mothers don’t deserve a damn thing, including any respect, I had to stop reading the thread. It made me want to go crawl back under my rock. I never have used the term “adopter,” because I think it’s disrespectful. I usually call my son’s adoptive parents his “parents,” unless I’m on a forum where people might get confused. Then I add the prefix “adoptive” or simply “aparents” or “APs.”

    I have a hard time, to be honest, with writing out “adopted person” instead of “adoptee” — it sounds so cold to me. I’ve been trying this past year or so to write out “adopted person” out of respect, but it’s hard sometimes to remember not to use adoptee.

    I call myself a “natural mother.” That is the term that was used in all my paperwork back in 1972 and the term I am most comfortable with. By the way, for my son’s first four years of life, I never even thought of myself as a mother, although I did always think of him as my son. It wasn’t until I went through a full-fledged near-death experience when he was 4 years old that I ever heard myself referred to as his mother, except on the relinquishment papers. But when I got to the “other side,” I heard the words “his mother” and “your son” for the first time in four years.


    • Cherry

      September 7, 2014 at 10:35 am

      I’ve been using the term ‘adopted person’ since I read some people say they disliked being called an adoptee. Now I’m unsure what term to use. I want to use the term that feels most respectful.

      I’ve noticed how terminology has changed over the years.
      Once it was ‘mother’ and ‘adoptive mother’ – which acknowledged the first mother as the original, fundamental, irreplaceable source relationship.
      Now there is pressure towards ‘birthmother’ and ‘mother’ – making the adoptive mother normative.

      I realise it is a minefield, loaded with people’s feelings and perspectives.

      My own preference is to be called my son’s natural mother, or just his mother.
      Where ‘mother’ is not a verb, but a core relationship, created by nature, worthy of acknowledgement and respect.
      My son calls me his mother and his adoptive mother his mum – the latter a word that acknowledges and respects her familiarity to him.

      I think those responders that Raven talks about above should never be allowed to have power over any living thing, let alone a person. Their debasement of other living, feeling human beings is craven, and says much about the kind of people they are.


  7. shadowtheadoptee

    September 7, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    I know it’s been a while since I have been involved in all this adoption stuff, but did I miss something? When did being called an “adoptee” become offensive?

    I am aware that I am, seriously, out of touch with reality, but now, the politically correct term for persons, who are adopted, is adopted person? We are AP’s? What am I missing here?


    • TAO

      September 7, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      Hey Shadow,

      I think adopted person is the positive adoption language version because being adopted is not supposed to be part of what defines you as a person. Remember it happened in the past so is not part of who you are. To me it is kind of like being married because that was an event but unless, and until, you divorce or become a widow, you are still married. Both being adopted and being married are defining parts of who I am, not all, but parts.

      Some adoptees do use that language. I think it is up to the person’s personal preference. Remember dpen? She commented above and prefers adopted person.

      You always get right to the point, AP’s? that could actually be the answer when you think about it…


      • shadowtheadoptee

        September 8, 2014 at 2:20 pm

        Interesting. I still don’t get it, but then, I’m not the brightest star in the sky. “Adopted person” is positive, because adoption isn’t supposed to define who we are, unless, we need to be defined as “adopted”? In that case we can use “adopted as an adjective to, uhm, “define” who we are, an, uhm, adoptee, because we were once adopted, and still are, because we can’t become unadopted once adopted?

        Oh, my, this is just too much for my poor, little, pea brain to handle. Who am I? What am I? Whatever will I do?

        adopted person is positive language? AP pretty much sums it up. We are products of our parents? Hmmm, now I’m confused again, which ones? Oh, yah, our APs? Now I get it!

        “person of maternal origin”? Love it, Von, and that’s a new one for me. Seriously, you guys, I’ve been called so, so many things, I don’t even answer to my legal name anymore. It’s a four letter word, and most people can’t even pronounce it correctly. Maybe I should have it changed back to my original name, on my original birth certificate? Baby Girl Rauch. That should work, since everyone wants to keep thinking of me as a child, instead of an almost, 50 year old woman, complete with graying hair, and wrinnkles.
        I don’t know? an, almost 50 year old woman named “Baby Girl”? Well, I’ve been called a lot worse, and really just don’t give a damn anymore.


  8. cb

    September 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    AP is usually thought to stand for adoptive parents. I use adoptee and I was adopted on a certain day and I am adopted.

    As for birthmother,I usually use bmother or bmom on mixed forums (because then the b can stand for birth, biological or both) or nmother on adoptee only or adoptee/bmother forums/blogs (nmother for natural mother). Actually, my mum used “natural mother” the other day, as Raven pointed out that was the terminology back then.

    I’m just glad I know my bmom’s name so I can use that IRL. Also, my bfamily never use the preflix with me (they just say P or your mother) and I would think it odd if they did use the prefix (if they’ve referred to my amum, they’ve just said “your mum”. Whatever the case, I usually know to whom they are referring. When it comes to anyone else apart from bfamily, I don’t mind what they use.

    Even though I’m Australian, I don’t use bmum because it looks slightly rude.

    I note that adoption. com automatically change bm to bmother. I remember a while ago, a poster used “bm” because she was actually talking about bowel motions and it automatically changed it to “birthmother” so it said somehing like “he did a birthmother in his pants”.


  9. eagoodlife

    September 8, 2014 at 3:18 am

    I don’t actual care what you call me, as long as you respect my right to call myself whatever term I prefer. In my case I’m comfortable with adoptee, bastard and adopted person, as long as you don’t try to tell me I was once adopted and am not now! Just don’t refer to me as ‘illegitimate’ because I am as legitimate as the next person. I use the terms PAP,AP and adopter and occasionally adoptive parents depending of my level of respect for the process that was/is involved. I have always called my person of maternal origin my mother and the couple who adopted me my adopters or my parents or even Mum & Dad. Complicated ? That’s adoption!


  10. Paige Adams Strickland

    September 8, 2014 at 4:46 am

    Hey all, I’m fine with being called an ‘adoptee’ or ‘adopted person’. It’s part of my life. I usually use A-parents to short cut for ‘adoptive parents mom/dad’ and B-parents for birth or bio parents. BF to me is ‘Best Friend’…and, no…BM is, well….I’m a potty-mouth…not gonna lie! LOL ‘Adoptor’ to me sounds like a mean dinosaur breed….maybe that’s the whole point! LOL (Hello, Jurassic Park!) Regardless of the word choices people use, as a writer-type myself, I try to read for meaning what someone says first and try not to be too hung up on all words used. If it’s that offensive, I’ll just quit reading and move on.


  11. Valentine Logar

    September 8, 2014 at 11:38 am

    People truly are azzhats sometimes. Adoption complicates relationships, this is especially true if we know all the parents. Try my life where there are also step-parents involved in all the relationships. I have …

    First Parents (Birth)
    Second Parents (Adoptive)
    Step Parents (married to both first and second, in some cases more than one)

    I just role with it, they are all Mom’s and Dad’s past and present. Or they are on a First Name Basis depending upon their status (steps).


  12. Beth

    September 8, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Me, an adopted person, an adoptee, a person who was adopted, a person who is adopted — I’m using “AP” for adopted person from now on 🙂 Just because it’s fun to confuse the hell out of people.
    And I refuse to use prefixes for any of my mother’s, or fathers, or brothers… And I might not answer any questions of who is who is who in the hell I am talking about either.

    I do wish people would stop referring to any of my, our, mothers as pieces of shit or incubators. It really does show where they are coming from. They are not fooling anyone.

    The argument to continue to use “Bowel Movement” to describe our mothers is too similar to the “I am not a racist just because I say n***er to describe a n****er” defense. Yes, to me, just as offensive.


  13. dpen

    September 13, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    I truly am ok with being called an adoptee, just get my panties in a wad when someone else tells me what i should be called because it elevates their position. I tend to strike back…..I know its a little immature. I don’t like the “BM” thing either. Those that cry “political correctness” gone wrong really should look at their motivations and lessen the defensiveness.

    Beth, love the AP as an adoptive person…hehe we really could start something with that.

    TAO, you are one of the most sane and rational people here. Your not ‘snarky” in anyway…you tell the truth.


  14. Wrking21

    September 18, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I guess I’m just old fashioned at my rip old age of nearly 35. I’ve always been expected to treat people with respect. I personally don’t care what you refer to me as (AP, Aparent, Adopter, etc.) I’m all of the above and the title isn’t necessary for my happiness. I’m a Mom plain and simple and that’s the goal. I’m a Mom to one that calls me Nana. I’ve never really gotten offended by any title that is respectful in nature.


    • TAO

      September 18, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Hey Wrking,

      I wish you could have read the post I linked to, a simple request to call the first mother anything other than “BM” which people like me read as “Bowel Movement” and the feral response to that post by other adoptive parents. A simple request to use more than two letters…by another adoptive parent…


  15. Wrking21

    September 18, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Calling anyone “BM” is just rude, I think of “Bowel Movement” immediately when I read that. I’m glad I didn’t read it, it would have made me ill.


  16. Veggiemom

    September 21, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Yeah…I’m another one who doesn’t care…AP/amom/adopter. I don’t understand why people insist on using terms or abbreviations that are offensive to so many just because there is one person somewhere in that group who is not offended by that term.


    • TAO

      September 21, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Exactly Veggiemom – so you know a person who knows a person who says it doesn’t bother them…



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