Last night I watched ITV's programme Long Lost Family and although engaged with the content I was absolutely appalled at the negative language used throughout the programme about adoption.
Is no one guiding the making of the programme Long Lost Family? Has Davina McCall or Nicky Campbell heard what they are saying?
Whilst I applaud the programme and their efforts of reuniting families I am absolutely shocked at the negative language that is being used.
Inadvertently they are reinforcing stereotypes and contributing to already poor misconceptions about adoption.
Language is a powerful tool and correct use gives an opportunity to educate about adoption.
They way we talk, the words we choose, says much about what we and society think and value. Words do not only convey facts, they also evoke feelings.
When one talks about 'real parents', society gets the impression that only birth parents are real parents and adoptive parents are, what, plastic??
When we use positive adoption language, we say that adoption is not second best, it is just another way to build a family.
Positive adoption language can make great strides to set the record straight. Positive adoption language uses emotionally correct words over
emotionally laden words.
Using positive words will change conceptions and relieve some of the burden of guilt and shame that surrounds adoption. It is free from innuendo and reflects the true nature of adoption.
Please consider using the following words instead of the negative terms:
Positive Language Negative Language
Birth parent Real parent
Biological parent Natural parent
Birth child Own child
My child Adopted child, Own child
Born to unmarried parents Illegitimate
Terminate parental rights Give up*
Make an adoption plan Give away*
To parent To keep
Waiting child Adoptable child,Available child
Biological or birth father Real father
Making contact with Reunion
Parent Adoptive parent
Inter-country adoption Foreign adoption
Adoption triad Adoption triangle
Permission to sign a release Disclosure
Search Track down parents
Child placed for adoption An unwanted child
Court termination Child taken away
Child with special needs Handicapped child
Child from abroad Foreign child
Was adopted Is adopted
I am sure you will agree that a slight shift in language makes a huge change in meaning. Lets all use positive adoption language and dispense with negative conceptions about adoption.
If you are unhappy about the negative language in the programme please send an email to email@example.com