Question to ponder

18 Sep

We are the adopted children of our parents, we (nor them) have any say in that, it’s the legal definition.

We now have a new qualifier being attached to adoptees – we are a first mom’s birth child.

Can we please stop adding qualifiers to adoptees, last time I checked, there was nothing wrong with just being called their child.  Why add a qualifier, we didn’t disqualify you, we had no say or choice in the matter.  And really, it stings that you can’t even claim your child is your child.  And if it is the professionals in adoption telling you to call your child that, here’s a thought, they’re wrong.  Tell them that, and that perhaps, they should talk to adoptees about what we want to be called.

Ugh, just ugh.

Adoptees, do feel free to weigh in on what you think of being called your mother’s birth child.


Posted by on September 18, 2017 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , ,

18 responses to “Question to ponder

  1. Heather

    September 18, 2017 at 5:59 am

    Language is so powerful. Using it to put more and more distance between people in this way is cruel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      September 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Distance is a great descriptor of what it does. I can see that it might be easier to use in conversation (less explanations) – but damn, it’s cold referring to your child as your “birth child”, almost like a surrogacy…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. pj

    September 18, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Ugh is right, Tao. My head hurts trying to remember all the PC terms adoptees are expected to use. I believe each adoptee should use whatever term/qualifier brings them ( the adoptees..not the professionals) comfort. I had a bio relative ( PHD, psychologist, non-adoptee) correct me when I commented I was “given up ” for adoption to ” relinquished” . Merrimack – Webster def of relinquish: 1 :to withdraw or retreat from: leave behind 2) GIVE UP 3) : to stop holding physically: give over possession or control of

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Laksh

    September 18, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    I am not an adoptee and I am writing this with trepidation knowing this space is sacred. As a parent raising children I did not birth, I never felt comfortable using the terms birth mother or birth child. My childrens’ mother has always been their mother. What I like most is that she refers to both of us as mothers without qualifiers in her interactions with my children and my family and it feels natural. If enough people talk about it perhaps it will raise awareness?

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      September 18, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      Laksh – you are ALWAYS welcome here to comment on everything. Yes, talking about it helps so much, I think people don’t think about it, they just go with the flow. Neither mom or dad were comfortable with those terms either. From what I’ve learned, it’s the adoption professionals creating these labels, driving the narratives.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Lara/Trace

    September 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    It seems most professions create their own language to justify their work. Social work is no different, of course. Adoptees are/were expected to agree with all of this – the new words, the ways we are supposed to act/behave/react. It wears me down just thinking about the mess the world created for us – for them saving us from our own mothers.


  5. Paige Adams Strickland

    September 18, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I agree. Too many labels.


  6. beth62

    September 20, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    They want me to be an Adopted birth child?
    An Adopted birth child of my birth mother?
    An Adopted birth child of my Adopted mother?

    That couldn’t possibly be complicated enough 😉
    Is there any way we could add the word birth or adoption to it again?

    I’m beginning to like the simple word ‘kid’ more and more everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      September 20, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      I think birth child is supposed to be code for adoption for first moms. It bites they’d have to type a few more words to say my child I’m not parenting or something like that. To me, it’s a form of disowning in a way I can’t even describe.


      • Heather

        September 20, 2017 at 10:18 pm

        That’s because us “Birth Mothers” gave up our rights to our children when we signed those papers. As if genetics and history can be wiped away with a single signature. We weren’t there to dry their tears or scare away the monsters under the bed. We didn’t do “the hard work” of daily parenting therefore we have no right to say “my child”.

        Years ago I received a letter saying I don’t have the right to call A my child. A’s Amom also told me to not allow my other children to call me “Mom” in front of A as “it would confuse him”. So ridiculous I wouldn’t have believed anyone could think that way until she showed me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • beth62

        October 3, 2017 at 2:00 pm

        It really is a great distancing tool. And can work for all involved.
        The nonsense involved here makes me want to twist it even more, I’d love to hear this one sometime:
        That is my adopted birth child’s birth mother.
        That is the stepadoptedbirthchild of that birthmother of that adoptedmother of that stepmother.
        Wonder how well that would go over with p.a.l

        Anyone, especially my mother, calling me (one Adoptee) a birth child, because I was/am going to be Adopted…
        It not only distances me from her, my family of birth and family from Adoption, but from ‘child’ with no prefix as well.

        ‘biological’ was what I grew up with, we said “mother”, and used biological if description was needed. Icky, lacking, but it wasn’t just at birth then over, biological has more of a connection, in that way. It’s more about me, my body, my genes, that connection with my mother, father, family. Feels very cold, clean and clinical though. It was distant. Biological takes me to science books and the lab instantly, always has. Spiritually it felt a little mythical to me, or mysterious, alien, sci-fi, fictional, not in the natural realm. Biological is distancing from birth tho, from physical connection, touch, sight, sound, smell, joy, love, pain, loss, claim. Birth is bypassed with Biological, everybody knows lives, sex, pregnancy and birth are there, but all that doesn’t have to be mentioned, can be nearly avoided with everyone when using biological.

        I am their birth child.
        I am a birth child.

        !! I’m not saying or typing that again. Tried it, can’t say I like it.
        Feels reduced to birthchild by all.
        Does anyone know exactly which universe the birth child creature comes from????

        That’s just asking for problems, for all, I’m.

        I imagine it would help to blend in the different surrogate situations more easily in the universal family social language tho. Many of those situations require distance from the start. Maybe that required distance is put into place in trickier ways in traditional infant relinquishment for adoption.
        I think the adoption language will morph to fit in that world even more and more.

        Then we can speak of mother and child in any of these situations in the same way, including those of divorce, or never married, or maybe even the…what is the suggested prefix for the family that doesn’t involve adoption, donation or surrogacy or anything other than sex-pregnancy-baby? Birth family? Traditional? Curious if that is an unacceptable term yet?

        It’s a very sad day when saying- that is my daughter, my son, my child – isn’t acceptable.
        It’s one thing when the need for further description arises, another thing for the “need” of a label.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Cindy

    September 25, 2017 at 4:49 am

    Birth child probably feels to adoptees like birth mother feels to this mother. It reduces me to nothing but an incubator! I hated the term the first time I heard it and I still hate it. I was shocked and horrified that some mothers called themselves by the term until I learned that they had to play by the rules if they wanted to continue to have an open or semi-open adoption, or to be allowed to have any kind of a voice in the adoption community. Then there is simply the time that it has been in use that many people are only familiar with it and use the (hateful) word. Truthfully, who is it that has to divide and conquer? Who is it that so often turns purple and gets their knickers in a bunch when we attempt to call ourselves plain old -mother-?

    As if the term said, “she was only your mother AT birth, she is not your mother now.” to which I say stuff it. Same as birth child as if “only your child at birth”…”you may know them now but they are *not* your current child, they are OUR/MY child.

    Do you see how it feels to be reduced to a process because of “””””positive””””” adoption language?! I’m sorry if that sounds spiteful. For me it felt like nothing BUT spite when agencies and adoptive parents and even adoptees (no fault of theirs as they learned that word as the “most” accepted term.) started calling us that. It was another huge blow to the soul.

    We weren’t ‘allowed’ anymore to be called natural mothers because that made adoptive mothers “unnatural”. With that premise, what the heck does it make adoptive mothers to be calling us BIRTH mothers?! It’s all a bunch of petty minded nonsense. It’s not enough that they/ the world took our children and our right and joy to parent them, they had to strip the role of ( just plain) mother from us too -as if- no one knows who it is who does the actual parenting of one who is adopted. Oh, sorry, I forgot P.A.L.. I should say WAS adopted (but isn’t now). Sure. Whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. cb

    September 26, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    “And really, it stings that you can’t even claim your child is your child. ”

    There is always a lot of talk by HAPs and emoms about who is entitled to *us* and there seems to be a rise in those emoms who are “the child is not mine, they are the adoptive parents” even before birth. I feel that this can take away the right of the child to decide who they are entitled to, eg I do feel entitled to my mum and dad but I also feel entitled to my bfamily. I would feel rather hurt if my bfamily had said or my birth mother had said “sorry you are not entitled to me”. (I have no idea what my bmother would have felt as she had passed away but it would sting if she felt that way)


    • TAO

      September 26, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      Exactly, it was hard to get across the feeling the use of an additional label evoked.


  9. Heather

    September 27, 2017 at 12:39 am

    It is heart wrenchingly difficult to give your child to another family to raise. I don’t think I will ever be “okay” with what I’ve done. I really dislike the distancing language used and since I am a mother who is not parenting one of my children I can empathize why some women would want to use labels.

    It doesn’t mean that our children mean any less to us or that we don’t care. Sometimes the heartbreak is too much and you’ll grab ahold of anything that helps lessen the pain.

    I’m not saying it’s okay. I think adding more and more labels is ridiculous. Just trying to share a bit of why I think some mothers will use labels and distance in order to survive their loss. I hope that makes some sense. It sounds more coherent in my head.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      September 27, 2017 at 3:19 am

      Thank you Heather.


    • Cindy

      September 27, 2017 at 3:20 am

      Sending you a big hug Heather. What you said makes sense. They “have to claim” the title birth mother so there can be that distancing. That sense of, “I have to be on a different level of existence” to survive that pain of separation /not parenting. Maybe some adoptees “have to claim” label’s/ titles as well…to make it make sense? compartmentalize? keep everything that seems totally out of control in it’s “proper box/ place”?. Sigh.

      I’ve been back and forth with that many times over the past several years since reunion. I even referred to myself by the term birth mother when talking on the phone with someone my son knew. I think it was from the absolute dread of being verbally blasted for saying, “This is _____’s mom”.

      With the prevalence of people who go “Katie kaboom” when others have used a NON p.a.l. term, I wonder if it makes for a conditioned response. Even if it is not the term we ourselves want to use. I still can’t believe I used it. Yet, as time has gone by, I wonder if I’m not “distancing” too. Boy this walk ain’t easy! Interesting yes, but I would rather not have to be on -this particular path, nor my son.

      Katie kaboom is a reference to a cartoon character’s reaction to something that “upset” her. I loved Pinky and The Brain and associated characters way back when :).



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