Like most special interest groups, adoption has its own vocabulary. And, unless you have adopted or have had your lives significantly touched by adoption, there is little reason that you would be familiar with these terms.
Recently, we hosted an adoption event highlighting special needs, domestic adoption, and (of course) our international adoption. One of my handouts was simply a brief vocabulary sheet, which I would like to share with you. Some of it seems rather silly, I confess. However, there is a potential to send negative messages and land yourself in hot water with the "mama grizzly." Or, if not to send the wrong message, simply to be at a loss for words when trying to ask a mama-at-heart about the next phase of her process!
So, "bear" with me as I share share some politically correct terminology, then leave me a message and give me your input!
|Birth mom (dad)/ birth mother (father)/ biological parent||Real parents, natural parents (opposed to "fake" and "unnatural" parents?)|
|Place (a child), choose adoption||Give up (a child)|
|Choose to parent||Keep a child|
|Birth child||Child of their own|
|Our child||Adopted child|
|Placed for adoption||Unwanted child|
|International adoption||Foreign adoption|
|Court termination||Child taken away|
|Child from abroad||Foreign child|
|Born to unmarried parents||Illegitimate|
|Waiting child||Adoptable/available child|
- Home Study: A social worker's report on the prospective adoptive parents' home, health, medical, criminal, family and home background. The purpose is to help the court determine whether the adoptive parents are qualified to adopt a child. Basically, to make sure the parents are not growing pot in their back yard or have bare electrical wires strewn around their home.
- Dossier: When used in the context of adoption, this term refers to a set of legal documents that satisfy the international government's requirements for adoptive families. Ethiopia wanted to make sure that we had electricity and running water in our home. No joke.
- Referral: A match between prospective parents and a waiting child. Some adoption referrals may include the following: photos, videos, medical information, how the child is growing and developing physically, background information, etc. **THIS IS WHAT WE ARE WAITING FOR**
- Reactive Attachment Disorder (or RAD): This term is used to describe a condition that generally appears in children before age five, and is thought to result from a lack of consistent care and nurturing in early years. The disorder is characterized by the inability of a child or infant to establish age-appropriate social contact and relationships with others.
- Bonding: The process that a child goes through in developing lasting emotional ties with it's immediate caregivers. It is central to that person's ability to relate properly to others throughout its life.
- Attachment: The formation by a child of significant and stable emotional connections with the significant people in its life.
- Photolisting: A published listing, either online or in print, containing a photo and description of a waiting child or sibling group, used by agencies to recruit prospective adoptive parents. My favorite site for photolostings is www.rainbowkids.com. Check it out. You'll want to adopt, too!
- Placement: The move of a waiting child, teen or sibling group into the home of the family who plans to adopt them.
(Sources: adopt.org, glossary.adoption.com)
What are your thoughts? What terms would you add to the list?