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Give Up My Baby for Adoption vs. Place My Baby for Adoption: Why the Difference Matters

Language is a powerful tool. With language, we can tell stories about the world around us. Our words help shape who we are — the people around us, our culture, and even our actions. It can also influence our opinions on a topic. Whether we realize it or not, many words or messages make us feel a certain way. Simply changing a word or two in a sentence can greatly impact if we perceive something in a positive or a negative light. 

 At Adoption Choices of Oklahoma, we know that words matter. The words we use to describe a birth mother can help shape how others view her. If positive language is used, a birth mother might be seen as caring, compassionate and wanting the best for her child. However, if negative terminology is used, a birth mother might be seen as selfish, uninvolved and uncaring. 

One of the biggest language challenges in the adoption world is “give up” my baby for adoption vs. “place” my baby for adoption. Our agency works hard to change the stigma around adoption, which is why we work hard to use positive adoption language whenever we can. To help with this, we wanted to take you through the history behind these two phrases and challenge your perspective on adoption. 

Give Up My Baby for Adoption vs. Place My Baby for Adoption

What is the Difference?

  • “Give Up” a Baby for Adoption

When someone says that they “give up” something, it almost sounds like the person is cutting something out of their life completely. For example, you give up sweets, or give up smoking. In the past, when referring to a birthmother’s decision, “give up” or “put up” a baby for adoption were commonly used. This is because in the past, when there were unplanned pregnancies, women would not have much say on what happens to their child. They were often forced to give up their child, and told to move on and not be a part of their child’s life. However, the times have changed tremendously since then for both birth mothers and the adoption process in general. Birth mothers have very active roles in the adoption of their child, and many choose to continue to be active after through open adoption. 

  • “Place” a Baby for Adoption

The idea of using “place” rather than “give up” is still fairly new. However, the connotation is different, and much more positive. When you say “place,” it describes how the birth mother is active in the process. Placing a baby up for adoption is a voluntary and loving act that birth mothers do for their child. It shows that she wants the best for her child, and is promising a better life for her child. 

Why Does it Matter How I Say it?

Do two words really make a difference in how we experience something? Absolutely! Switching the words you use can have great significance on the matter at hand. Let us explain. “Giving up” your baby for adoption does not truly represent the process you go through as a birth mother. It does not represent the truth, and gives off negative implications. 

However, switching to “place” again shows the love behind the process. When you are considering placing your child for adoption, you are prepared to give him or her the best life possible. We know, it does sound crazy that two words can change the meaning so greatly. Nonetheless, spreading this positive adoption language can greatly impact how birth mothers and the adoption process overall are seen. 

The Importance of Positive Adoption Language

Birth mothers have a very tough journey through the adoption process in Oklahoma. It is not easy in any sense. Using terminology like “give up” can make it feel like the birth mother is inactive in the process or does not care. This is not true at all! This is why you see many adoption agencies working hard to change the vocabulary we use. At the end of the day, this is about the birth mother.

Adoption Choices of Oklahoma and many other agencies across the country do not want to see birth mothers represented so negatively in the world. We want to change this past view of birth mothers and show the loving and caring people you are. After all, choosing to place your baby up for adoption is not an easy decision, and it takes a lot of love to go through that process. 

Education is Key

In a lot of cases, this might be the first time that you are experiencing the adoption process. Sometimes, it can be hard to know the proper thing to say, especially if you are unsure what to even say. If you have used these phrases before, do not beat yourself up over it! A lot of times, we say these things unintentionally without meaning to do harm. 

From now on, though, you can do your best to change the way that you word or phrase things. By educating yourself and others around you, it can help start to change the conversations surrounding adoption. At the end of the day, adoption is about love and we want to help change society’s view on it by educating one person at a time. 

Have Questions? We are Here for You!

At Adoption Choices of Oklahoma, we know that the adoption process is a challenging one. There are so many different things to consider that it is easy to feel overwhelmed. However, our agency is here to help you through every step! If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here for you!

Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is a private adoption agency, licensed by the state of Oklahoma and leader in the adoption community. We have been assisting birth parents, children, and adoptive families in Oklahoma for over 19 years. Our staff members are committed to providing an ethical, empowering, and personalized adoption experience to all involved in the adoption process.  If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions https://adoptionchoicesofoklahoma.org/wp-admin/edit.phpor concerns, feel free to contact us.

You may visit our website here or call toll-free: 800-898-6028 | OKC Local: 405-755-1999 | Tulsa Local: 918-447-7777
or Text: 405-310-8790

Meet the Author: Hannah Carlsward is an aspiring journalist and photographer. She is currently a senior at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL., where she studies journalism with minors in American Sign Language and Media Studies. Hannah loves connecting the world through her photography and stories, and loves showing people a new perspective on the world around them.

She aspires to continue in both writing and photography in the future, hopefully combining the two with the work she does. When she is not taking photos, she can always be found on some kind of adventure. She loves exploring the world and sharing it with others. You can see more of her work on her Instagram and her website.

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