It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the the topic “Is Adopted” or “Was Adopted” discussed on an Adoptive Parent Facebook Page. It amused me after a quick scan of Adoptive Parent replies using “Was Adopted” and how being adopted didn’t define their child, with a few who had more nuanced answers to give. The irony of Adoptive Parents being on an Adoptive Parent Facebook page talking mainly about all things Adoption and Adoptive Parenting seems to have escaped them; as most say they use “Was Adopted” and some expanded that it happened in the past and doesn’t define their child or their family.
You can read the discussion on “Is Adopted or Was Adopted” here if you are so inclined.
Going back in time for a minute: Did you know that way back in the 2004 update the National Council For Adoption wrote about why they won’t and don’t use Adoptee as a term and called it a vocabulary violation? They also allude that being adopted is the same as being raised in their biological families, unless they came from foster care and have troubles, and then, it’s what happened before, so certainly not adoption related.
Thankfully, The National Council for Adoption has changed with the times, different people at the helm, knowledge evolved or finally delved into and minds opened. Today, they do use the term Adoptee or Adopted Person interchangeably, and have for a long time, and even if they stumble now and again, the reality is they have far more nuanced and helpful articles that speak to the many different ways adoption affects the adoptee (I’ve posted many here) than in the past.
Seeing as how knowledge of adoption, the impact on the one adopted, the seven core issues we face being adopted are identified and have moved us forward with ways that help, why haven’t we updated PAL (Positive Adoption Language) or moved completely past having rigid terminology that must be used, and seems, policed? An example of this – according to PAL I can’t use Illegitimate, despite it being the term used on my Original Birth Certificate, also, a status I know to be true.
It’s time to move past so many of rigid language rules put in place in the 70’s, stop the never-ending correcting of someone in adoption on what language they must use like the recent debacle of comments by adoptive parents about the language used in a reunion story. It’s time to move into what adoption is for that person, not how adoption wants to paint it to be.
Julie McGue has a good post about PAL and the history titled “What is Positive Adoption Language?” She’s far more nuanced and gentle than I tend to be – go read it.