Tag Archives: National Adoption Month

Advocating, Mommy Style

It’s been a while—since I posted and also since I had to fill out medical information on one of my children. The last time  was with Holden’s concussion in the spring. I had scribbled my way through forms late on a Sunday evening, concerned over the headache that he was having. He had taken a cleared ball to the side of his head during a hotly contested out-of-state soccer match, briefly knocked unconscious. (He recovered.)

Not thinking, I rambled through the sheath of paperwork for Greyson as we waited for his in-office surgery last week. Pen poised to continue on the next page, I stopped short. Mother’s Medical History. Hmmm. All I could think was, “Okay…” I drew a big “x’ through the page of questions to answer and check and then did the same for the next page—Father’s Medical History.

I walked up to the desk, intent on having a private conversation with the office manager/receptionist and not sure how I was going to be received. Of course Greyson, worried over the procedure, was glued to me. So, I asked him to go dig for something in my purse, which would take any human some time, knowing full-well that what he was looking for wasn’t there.

The significance was not lost on me. November, National Adoption Month, was one week old, and I again found myself in the role of advocating for awareness and sensitivity about adoption.

I leaned way in through the window on tiptoes into the inner sanctum of the office manager/receptionist’s territory. I was praying for a good exchange.

Smiling and whispering, I said, “Excuse me, I just wanted you to know that I’ve crossed out these two pages. I’m not trying to create issues, but they don’t apply. My son was adopted.”

She responded, “Oh! No problem. Adoption has a very special place in my heart; you see I was adopted!”

She began to tear up and her smile, well, it could have lit the room up all by itself. Of course, I returned her smile. Statistics state that about sixty percent of Americans have a personal connection to adoption. Sometimes I feel that the percentage is much higher…

Greyson’s surgery went well. He was a very brave dude. The stitches come out later in the week.

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Filed under Adoption, Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Advocacy, The International Mom

The PROPER Language of Adoption

As a nod to National Adoption Month this month I’ve been sharing some of my feelings about being an adoptive parent. One subject I feel very strongly about is proper adoption language, the language used within and typically modeled by the adoption community to express relationships and familial ties. Like it or not, adoptive parents are in the position of constantly having to justify their familial relationships to and educating others, especially if, like us, adoption has happened transracially (across races). I’ve lost track of the number of times someone has sidled up to me to ask, “Is he your son?” “Are they real sisters?” and “Are you her real mom?” These are “real” questions, asking us to quantify our relationships with our children. My kids have also been asked similar questions, like, “Is that your real mom?” (What messages are my kids receiving?)

I have several things to say:

  • Yep, we’re “real”—alive and breathing. 
  • The questions and comments are offensive. They undermine the concept of family.

Adoption language is the language of families. Here’s a primer for you: 

  • Parent, mommy, daddy, sister, brother for describing adoptive family members. 
  • Birth parents, birth father, birth mother for describing the man and woman who conceived and gave birth to a child. 
  • Was adopted instead of is adopted. 
  •  My child instead of adopted child or own child. 
  •  Placed for adoption or made an adoption plan instead of orphaned, given up, unwanted, or abandoned.

Yes, we are conspicuous; we look different. But we’re a family, like any other. Please extend your acknowledgement to us and other adoptive families by using proper adoption launguage.


Filed under Adoption Issues, Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Advocacy, International Adoption, Multicultural Families, The International Mom