Why we don’t say, “Giving my baby up for adoption”
As an adoption agency, we get lots of phone calls from expectant mothers that start out with the phrase, “I’m thinking about giving my baby up for adoption in Florida.” While we certainly understand what they mean, and support them as much as possible in their decision, we prefer to use adoption positive language in our role as Florida adoption professionals.
The phrase, “give baby up for adoption,” has been widely used in movies and television shows for decades, and has therefore become part of our culture’s language around adoption. However, more and more adoption organizations are now advocating that we change the way we talk about adoption. The phrase, “give baby up for adoption,” tends to imply that a woman’s decision to choose adoption for her child was made hastily or that she has run out of options and must “give up.” In our experience, and in the experience of many adoption professionals, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
When we re-connect with birth mothers, years after they placed their baby with an adoptive family, they often say that in the end, they are proud of their choice. They do not feel that they “gave their baby up for adoption.” These women “chose adoption” for their baby, so that they had the opportunity to live the best life possible. They did not make the decision hastily but did so after much consideration and heartbreak. They made their decision out of love.
In the end, the reason that we feel so strongly about using positive adoption language is that we want to honor and empower birth mothers. We choose to say that a woman chose to “place their baby for adoption,” that a woman “made an adoption plan,” or that a woman “chose adoption for her baby.” These phrases all better reinforce the notion that choosing adoption is a loving, selfless act that was made only after much consideration.
If you’d like to learn more about positive adoption language, follow this link to Parents.com.