Child Welfare League of America, “Adoption Terminology,” 1980s

 

 

 

ADOPTION TERMINOLOGY

Words and phrases to watch for positive and negative connotations;

POSITIVE

NEGATIVE

Adoption Triad

Adoption plan was made for. . .

The baby joined the family

The older child moved in with his/her family

Adoption Triangle

Adopted out                                 

Put up for adoption

Given up

Adopted person

Adopted child (when speaking of an adult)

Parent by marriage

Stepparent

(To opt for, to take on, to choose) Parenting

Keeping

Birthparent (father, mother, giver)

Biological (parent, child, ancestry)

Genetic (parent, ancestry, shared genetic ancestry)

First parent

Woman (lady) who gave birth

Real parent

Natural parent

Unmarried mother

Sire

My child

 

Adopted (as a prefix to “child ” or “parent” can become a label when constantly used).

Born outside of marriage

 

Illegitimate child

Bastard

Born to a single person

-divorced

-single

-never married

Unwanted child

 

Termination of parental rights; unable to continue parenting (older child)

Gave up

Made an adoption plan, legally released

Gave away

An adoption was arranged for - or planned

He/She was placed

Permission to sign a release of information or a non-release of information

Disclosure

Non-disclosure

 

Their own children

Their real children

The waiting child

 

Adoptable child

Hard to place child

Update (case file)

 

(making, resuming) Contact

-Meet

-Locate

Reunion

A child from abroad

A foreign child

(Korean) orphan (child was likely not orphaned)

Preadoptive counseling

Homestudy

Adoption available for children

Children available for adoption

A BASIC INTENTION SHOULD BE TO AVOID FOREVER LABELING PEOPLE, e.g.:

adopted child vs. child

Korean child vs. child

own child vs. child

foreign child vs. child

 
 

Source: “Adoption Terminology,” Child Welfare League of America Papers, Box 66, Folder: “Post Legal Adoption Services,” Social Welfare History Archives, University of Minnesota.

Page Updated: 2-24-2012
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To learn more about The Adoption History Project, please contact Ellen Herman
Department of History, University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403-1288
(541) 346-3118
E-mail: adoption@uoregon.edu
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© Ellen Herman