Saturday, October 27, 2012

Adoption Love Lingo

For a while now I have been wanting to blog about adoption, especially our story. But I feel strongly that before I get to our story in particular I need to do my part to try to educate and inform others about the topic. I feel strongly about helping misinformed people be more informed, unaware loved ones aware, about what adoption is REALLY like in this day and age. But before I get started, I want to make it clear that NOBODY, EVER has offended us in how they ask questions or make comments. We just are not the "panties in a wad" type of people about this topic...and it is just my heart to help others understand the beauty in this act of love. I am going to focus on 2 basic things here: Terminology and Types.

Terminology and the "Why"

There are certain terms that have been used for decades that are slowly making their way out of adoption lingo. The first and foremost phrase I want to correct is a birth parent "giving up" their child or "putting up" the child for adoption. These phrases make it seem like the birth parent is heartless, and does not love their child. These phrases originated from early American Immigration days, where there were literally thousands of orphaned children roaming the streets of New York. A reformer Charles Loring Brace came up with the idea to round up these "street urchins" and take them to towns by train and literally "put the child up" on the train station waiting platform and see who would be willing to take in a child. If you want to read more about this, you can either google "orphan train", or visit this website.
For obvious reasons this carries a negative connotation. If you want to speak properly about adoption today, then use the following instead: A birth parent "made an adoption plan", or "lovingly chose a family", or "unselfishly blessed their child with a loving home." Birth parents are brave! They a) chose to carry that child to full term, b) debated internally for months about what would be best for their child, and c) carefully and prayerfully chose a family for their child. If you want to understand this better...visit and watch the video. Being a birth parent is a very difficult and beautiful thing. I watched our birth mother ache with love for her child that she carried for 9 months...I promise you, these brave women LOVE their children.

Instead of "real parent", please use "birth parent" or "biological parent." Believe you me, I am as real a mom as I can be...I change his diapers, feed him, and adore his every move. We are his real parents.

Instead of asking why she didn't "keep him", instead ask why she was unable to parent. Or don't. It is Jake's story to tell someday...and it is our job to teach him about his adoption journey. We are choosing to introduce adoption into our everyday terminology, and read him children's books specifically written for adopted children. And the common thread throughout every conversation we will have, either with him, or with others about him, is this: God's plan for your life is intentionally beautiful. He chose you for a special purpose and put you in the family He wanted you in. Your birth mother will always love you, no doubt. But we love you too and are so blessed by you being in our family!

Instead of "Does he ever see her?", which we get a lot....use "How often will your family visit with Jake's birth mother?" We want Jake to understand the adoption triad. We don't ever want him growing up wondering about his origins. Have you ever watched "October Baby?" If you have, then you will see why openness in adoption is so much better for the adoptee. I have no fears, doubts or qualms that Jake will ever be confused as to who his "real parents" are.

Which leads into the types.....

This simply means that the child was adopted here in America. He/she was born here and adopted here.

This means that the child was born in another country, and is being adopted and brought here by the adoptive parents.

This means that the entire adoption process was mediated and facilitated by an adoption agency. All parties can rest assured that they are fully protected and all parties best interests are kept in mind.

Private or Identified
This term is used to describe a situation in which a birth parent and an adoptive couple are put into contact and a lawyer is hired to carry out the legal aspect of the adoption.

Foster To Adopt
This means exactly what it says...a family can either foster the child temporarily, or foster to adopt that child.

This just means that the child was born in a different state than he or she was adopted into.

This term is used to describe an adoption where the birth parents and adoptive parents are kept anonymous. This is the way adoption used to be....and sometimes, unfortunately, still is.

This means that the birth parents and adoptive parents are in contact in some form or fashion. The child who grows up in an open adoption never has to wonder about their origin. They have all the legal information and contact information they need to discover their story. Studies have proven time and again that this is far healthier for the adopted child both emotionally and psychologically.

I hope this helps to give you an idea of adoption in a nutshell. If nothing else, you can at least sound informed when the topic comes up, and help to correct the negative ideas about adoption that still float around out there. There are things that we DO love to hear when Jake is brought up in conversation.
For example: "He looks like ya'll." You know what? God is good, and he sure does. But even if he had purple hair and yellow polka-dotted skin, he is still ours. And we love him!
All I know is this: This beautiful woman carefully weighed her options, overcame a TON of odds, and made eternal, life-altering choices at a very young age. She is the hero who turned 9 months into a lifetime, and turned me into the mother of my own infant child. My love for her is unlike any love I have ever felt. We will always love, pray for, and cherish this brave young woman.

I leave you with this:

Ephesians 1:3-7

English Standard Version (ESV)

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us[a] for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.



  1. Jake's story is so beautiful, unique and special. I'm so happy his Birth Mama found you to bless him with as parents. Your attitude and heart is inspiring.

  2. Jake's story is so beautiful, unique and special. I'm so happy his Birth Mama found you to bless him with as parents. Your attitude and heart is inspiring.

  3. Thanks for the information about adoption. I am so happy for you guys. I just LOVE the video you posted of Jake laughing for the first time. Even more than his laugh - I loved to hear yours. You sound head over heels in Love!

  4. And here's some added advice:
    for those of us who went through a step-child adoption, certain things can be offensive, too.
    When we became pregnant with Only Daughter, people told Hubby how glad they were he was going to have one of his own. This was very hurtful to Hubby and Oldest Son, who love each other dearly and only think of belonging together.