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Promoting Positive Adoption Language in Oklahoma: Understanding the Distinction between “Give Up,” “Put Up,” and “Place”

By Chloe Agas

If you are a birth mother in Oklahoma going through the adoption process and came across this article, you may be wondering, “How can I properly address the process of adoption for my baby to others?” As a birth mother, you could address the adoption process by utilizing Positive Adoption Language or PAL.

Positive Adoption Language is used to spread awareness on respect and consideration to individuals involved in the adoption process. This is also a way of spreading awareness on word choice when it comes to discussing it. PAL can improve the adoption process for everyone involved, since it can assist in understanding the distinction between, “give up,” “put up,” and “place,” baby for adoption for example. PAL can also be used to reverse the negative stigmas or associations with phrases surrounding adoption.

In this article, we will be talking about Positive Adoption Language in the context of everyday conversation, its benefits & inclusivity, and using it to combat negative adoption language. At Adoption Choices of Oklahoma, we want to provide guidance and information for you as a birth mother on how to properly address the adoption process. By using Positive Adoption Language, you can make an impact on empowering the members of the adoption community by creating a more inclusive and supportive environment.

What is Positive Adoption Language?

The goal of Positive Adoption Language is to create a more positive, inclusive and supportive environment for everyone involved in the adoption process. Addressing the importance of utilizing PAL is crucial because it is a way of reversing the surrounding negative adoption language.

Examples of Negative Adoption Language and how PAL can be used to replace it:
  • “…Was adopted”
  • The phrase “was adopted” can enforce a negative stance on how the adoption process works that is conditional.
  • Instead: Use “is adopted,” adoption can be seen as a process that brought the best out of the adopted child, adoptive parents, and the birth mother.
  • “…Real parent”
  • The phrase “real parent,” can enforce a negative connotation against the birth parent and the adoptive family of the child.
  • Instead: Use “birth mother,” which creates a better way to address the roles between the birth parent and the adoptive parents with their roles in the adoption process as a whole.
  • “…Giving up for adoption”
  • The phrase “Giving up,” places a negative view on adoption and stigmatizes the process as an escape rather than a decision that was best for the birth mother and the child.
  • Instead: Use “Put up for adoption,” and “Place for adoption,” which can create a more positive outlook. Adoption should be seen as an opportunity to reassure birth mothers that their baby will be placed into a loving family.
  • “…Adopted child”
  • The phrase, “adopted child,” can bring a negative connotation towards how the child being placed is viewed.
  • Instead: Use “my child,” which can be used to promote inclusivity on the adoptive child’s relationships between the birth mother and the adoptive parents.

What are the Benefits of Using PAL in Everyday Conversation?

In the adoption process, when you are giving your baby up for adoption, you are not the only person involved. Rather, the process involves you as a birth mother, your baby that you are placing for adoption, and the adoptive parents. A benefit of PAL is that it can play a role in respect and inclusivity in everyday conversations about adoption. Another benefit of PAL is that it gives a chance to educate those who may not know a lot about the adoption process and give a chance to reinforce a positive outlook on it. You may be wondering, “So, who can I use Positive Adoption Language on?” PAL can also be used in typical everyday conversations, whether that would be with your family and friends or coworkers alike.

Here are some tips to get you started on how to address the adoption process in your everyday life:

  • Avoid Negative Phrasing. Instead of using phrases such as “giving up,” to refer to the adoption process, refer to the child as being “placed for adoption.” You can also discuss knowledge about a birth mother’s involvement in adoption process in order to avoid the misconception that one may confide in adoption as an “easy way out.”
  • Educate your Community. For example, social media platforms create an opportunity to create posts that can model different phrases of Positive Adoption Language and their meanings. You can also create informative posts about adoption agencies in your area.
  • Rethink your Language. The way one phrases their words is important to emphasize. To address an adopted person, you can use “is” instead of “was” to avoid negatively implying about being adopted as a condition but rather a benefit.
  • Speak Considerately. When you are addressing the birth mother, it is better to imply that they “place” their child up for adoption rather than “giving up.” With the adoptive parents, you can also address their decision to adopt as one as “welcoming a child.” This helps avoid the negative stigmatization of the adoption process as a whole.
  • Respect the Roles. Each person involved in the process is equal. To promote more inclusivity, refer to the biological mother as a birth mother and the adoptive family respectfully, as they both play their crucial roles in their relationships and the adoption process of the child.

Are you Considering Giving a Child Up for Adoption in Oklahoma and Ready for Assistance?

 If you are a woman seeking assistance with the adoption process in Oklahoma, our agencies are prepared to assist near you! At Adoption Choices of Oklahoma, we want to reassure you, as a birth mother at our adoption agencies, that we are determined to provide the resources and assistance when you are placing your baby for adoption. Our mission is to provide counseling and guidance to birth mothers experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or related circumstances. Our professionals are prepared to help curate an adoption plan unique to you. As our client, we will continuously advocate for you and prioritize your well-being throughout the process.

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