Category Archives: Adoption language

Precision with words

Tessa and Reed are on the road to becoming literate. I try to make sure that the reading material that comes within range of their eyeballs is suitable, but I can’t control all the words in the world.

You would think street signs would be innocuous, but think again.

Here are just a few of the signs we see as I drive them between home and school:

I have written about this before. But it comes up again this time of year when churches and schools and TV news programs ask us to “adopt” a family during the holidays, which typically means to give them gloves and coats and toys and maybe even some meals.

Shouldn’t we say what we mean, write what we mean?

Adoption is forever. It’s permanent. If we’re talking about taking care of a family’s needs for a month or even a year, or of picking up litter on a street for a year or two, why can’t we more appropriately use the word, “sponsor”?

“Sponsor-A-Street” and “Sponsor-A-Trail” and “Sponsor-A-Family” are more accurate phrases.

And they don’t diminish the experience of forever families.

What do you think?

Adopt a this, adopt a that

My friend Joanne has a terrific post about one aspect of adoption language and its effect on a child of adoption.

Here’s an excerpt of a letter Joanne sent to her daughter’s Girl Scout leader a couple of months ago:

“Shawna told me about the stockings and that it was said in meeting that the troop is “adopting” two children for the holidays. I explained to her that the correct term to use in a case like this is “sponsoring”. I’m wondering if you can bring this up on Tuesday because using the word “adopting” (when clearly the troop is not adopting two children) sends mixed messages (not only to adoptees but society at large) as to what adoption actually is. Most people (unless you’ve adopted like us or are an adoptee like Shawna), don’t give it much though until someone points it out.”

You can read the Girl Scout leader’s positive response and the ensuing discussion at Forever Parents.

I see Adopt-a-Highway signs on my way to my kids’ school each day and haven’t given it much thought. I guess I’ll be writing a letter to my city council. I hope to advocate for my kids as well as Joanne does.

How to help new parents and waiting parents

A link to an article arrived in my Inbox. The title is My Adopted Child Can Hear You (fitting with my Words Matter theme) but the content also touches on what new adoptive parents really need when they bring home their child.

I’m including this here because the Stirrup Queen community seems to be blessed quite often with news of new adoptions via Mel’s Lost and Found and Connections Abound. I think we do pretty well, especially with points 3 and 4. Some of the other tips are logistically difficult, given our span around the globe.

And as for what waiting moms and dads really need (besides the obvious): I wish for each of you a peaceful heart, broken open and ready to receive full bounty at the right time and with exactly the right circumstance; I wish for you the gratification that has been delayed almost to the breaking point (maybe even past it); I wish for you the foresight in trusting the unfoldment (that you most likely will have only in hindsight); I wish for you the inextricable joining of your lives with that of your future child and his/her roots.

I wish for you.