Pro-Adoption Terminology


If you find yourself somehow involved in adoption, you will need to learn a new language: Pro-Adoption Language. These same words in the rest of society have completely different meanings. It is very important to know the correct terms, or people get their feelings hurt and the Culture of Adoption suffers.

Adoption: The act of legally severing ties to biological parents and replacing them with strangers who become the Real Parents.

Abortion: 1) Terminating what would have been the perfect child that the Adoptive Parent always wanted. 2) The thing all Adopted Children have been saved from.

*Adopted Child: Baby who was placed in the Wrong Tummy and was saved from Abortion by the Real Parents.

Adoptee: Newer, discouraged term for an Adopted Child.

Adopted Adult: ….what?

Birthmother or Birth Mother: A lesser mother, inferior to an Adoptive or Real Mother.

Birth Father: The man who gave birth to the Adopted Child.

Grateful: What good Adopted Children are. Forever.

Pregnancy: The condition of incubation that brings an Adopted Child to their Forever Family. See also: The Wrong Tummy.

Growing Your Family Through Adoption: Method of increasing numbers in a nuclear family through non-biological means. See also: Legal Human Trafficking.

Original Birth Certificate: The wrong birth certificate.

Amended Birth Certificate: The only birth certificate.

Real Parents: The Adoptive Parents. Continues to apply after death, divorce, abandonment, or criminal acts against the Adoptive Child. Can only be nullified through Rehoming by the Real-But-Regretful Parents.

Rehoming: Recycling Adopted Children online when they weren’t the perfect puppy  accessory their Forever Parents thought they would be. Not to be confused with Failed Adoption.

Called To Adopt: God telling people (mainly White, American, Christian, married, heterosexual people) that He put babies in the Wrong Tummy for them to rescue from abortion or living outside the US.

Spirit of Adoption: Line found in Romans 8:15 that completely justifies the appropriation of other people’s children. Cross reference: Job 24:9.

Surrogate: The Birth Mother in cases of deliberately created half-adoptees. Less used: Gestational Mother or Rent-A-Womb. See also: Concubine.

Donor: Someone who is paid for their procreative genetic bits, to be used elsewhere.

Sperm Donor: Handsome medical students who don’t really need the money but take it anyway, for the act of beating off into a cup. See also: Birth Father.

Egg Donor: Woman who is given monetary compensation that nearly covers the physical/emotional trauma of extracting eggs from her body. See also: Birth Mother.

Infertility: A condition that can only be cured by heeding the Call To Adopt.

Adoption Fundraiser: Begging for the money necessary to bring home the Adopted Child to their Forever Family, which could not possibly be used instead to help the Birth Mother raise the child – yeah, just forget I said that.

Failed Adoption: Would-be Adopted Child who stayed with the Birth Mother, thus destroying hopes and dreams of the Real Parents.

Successful Adoption: Completed transaction where the legal and biological ties between the Adopted Child and Birth Family are obliterated.

Clear Title: Legalese meaning no other claims on an Adopted Child and/or motor vehicles.

Biology: Base origins that do not matter.

DNA: Unfortunate genetic markers that make up our entire beings that still do not matter.

Searching: How Adopted Children hurt their Real Parents.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD): Condition afflicting Adoptive Children that is never, ever the fault of the Adoptive Parents or Adoption itself.

Love: The only emotion involved in Adoption, which negates any other feeling that may arise, and also fixes any problem, except RAD.

Triad: Triangle representing the three sides of Adoption. Note: always scalene.

Orphan: All Internationally Adopted Children, who are saved by being brought to America and raised White. Can have up to two living biological parents. Also possible to find out upon adulthood they aren’t as “Real” as they thought they were and subject to deportation.

Make An Adoption Plan: What Birthmothers do of their own free will, with absolutely no coercion involved. Sometimes referred to as TPR.

Reunion: Misnomer for the sometimes unfortunate end to Searching, since one cannot “reunite” with someone they never knew. Better term: Breaking Real Parents’ Hearts.

Abandon: What all Birth Mothers do while Making An Adoption Plan.

Chosen: How Adopted Children feel about being Abandoned. See also: Lucky.

Secrets, Lies, and Vetoes: Ways to keep Adopted Children in their rightful place – permanently infantilized. See also: Narcissism.

*Oh, I apologize. Apparently “Adopted Child” has also fallen out of favor. Now the preferred term is “MY CHILD” because making someone feel owned is the ultimate in parenting. Notice the individual is still a child. Also, note they were adopted, not are adopted, because adoption status expires upon adulthood when the individual becomes either the biological offspring of the adoptive parents through Adoption Magic, or the non-person they always were, in which case they are “bitter.”

Elle Cuardaigh is author of The Tangled Red Thread, and yes, she is bitter. 

Post-Script: This is was written as an indictment against the false-positive language that has evolved as the Adoption Industry has grown. It has happened to keep the machinery running – to keep those Adoptlings coming down the chute – and to keep those in the business employed. This has nothing to do with the good people I know who have adopted with the best of intentions and eyes wide open, including my own adoptive parents who never tried to force any of this double-speak on me.

12 thoughts on “Pro-Adoption Terminology

  1. “Adoption Fundraiser: Begging for the money necessary to bring home the Adopted Child to their Forever Family, which could not possibly be used instead to help the Birth Mother raise the child – yeah, just forget I said that.”

    This makes me sadder than anything. Let’s keep families together! 😦

  2. ‘Our child’ isn’t new, but usually is said in on the introduction by UNParent as they announce THEIR daughter/son.

    If that isn’t bad enough, there is the fly in the ointment which arrived once the malADAPTive UNPARENTs conceive and bear their REAL child/children (they are too ignorant to know about DNA and genomes and chromosomes) who immediately are the little princes or princesses who, once ensconced on their thrones take away any good status for the two seconds of being CHOSEN CHILD-who if female becomes akin to a scullery maid. Oh and we mustn’t forget the UNPARENT”s insistance that this interloper is ‘YOUR BROTHER/SISTER”. (NO! NO! NO! He is NOT my brother!!!! I already have a brother and a sister and a mother and a father but the all disappeared… and all I want is to have them back. )

    BTW it must be said, because evidently the word hasn’t been passed, that it is not just infants who are adopted and thus become adoptees (a term that has been around since before I became one in1950). There are those the were abandoned by parents (mother + father) in almost anyplace there is space to leave them; this is a version of kick-the-can or toss the garbage or I-don’t-want-you which gives impunity to the relinquishors -and is always a source of humiliating remarks to the adoptee who was abandoned, made in a not so sotto voice. it also must be said that many of us came with memory and were separated from our siblings who we remembered-even though the trauma we had been through left only fragments of faces or names or places

    And the correct term is ‘was’ adopted because it is a past action, concertized by a court order of final adoption with a big seal on it so the MalADAPTive UNPARENTS can put it up on an ego-wall to remind themselves and others how wonderful and caring they are. This, in turn, is what leads us to be always an adoptee, and usually an ingrate as well. If by ingratitude it is meant a non-acceptance of the impositions placed upon us by courts and legislators and X-SPURTS and self-proclaimed saviours, angels, holy-er-than-thou-do-gooders, I am very happy to be labeled ingrate! I have also been labeled, liar, thief, incorrigible, recalcitrant, and rabble rouser.

    Just because one may not remember those who gave them life does not take away the reunion taking place if the adoptee and parents can re-united. DNA ‘R Us, and like the proverbial tie that binds, they are the eternal glue which holds us together no matter how long we have been separated. I might add that in my
    particular case, it is probably very fortunate that my parents are dead because I am not so sure that I have enough self control not to kill them myself for what they did to their 3 children … one of whom was me.

    A is for …. abused, abandoned, adoptee, adulterated, affrighted, afraid, affronted, aforementioned, …..

    • I included the erroneous “was adopted” because of the predictable reaction from others trying to control the narrative, when an adoptee says, “I’m adopted.” The replies can include: “You’re so lucky!” – “You must feel grateful you weren’t an abortion.” – “I wish I was adopted.” – “You don’t look adopted.” But the one that really took me aback was from an older adoptive parent: “You were adopted.” This was said firmly, making sure I understood the difference.

      “So I’m not adopted now?”

      “It’s a one-time event. You were adopted. it’s over.”

      “I see,” I said innocently. “So, are you married?”

      Yes, it was delicious watching them try to back out of that one.

  3. You could also write definitions for all the labels we adoptees receive when we end up suffering from the trauma that we endured. Labels then replace “our child” so that adopters and industry remain blameless ( i.e. She has RAD. He is emotionally impaired. She has ADHD.).


  4. Reblogged this on FORBIDDEN FAMILY and commented:
    So good to read what all wannna-be-adopters and adopters should comprehend. But they never will.

    One that you forgot, Elle Cuardaigh, is “Gotcha.” As in “Gotcha Day.”

    Many years before that term became popular by adopters, my adoptive mother used to say,”Well, that happened years before we got you.” She was referring to family events that were important for me to learn because I became part of the larger family and I should know the family history. Which I did learn because I was the innocent child growing up the only child of parents who were old enough to be my grandparents when they adopted me. It was their history being imparted to me. It was their memories, their culture, their happiness, their wants and dreams. And there I was, soaking it all in. I had no choice. It felt real enough to me because I did not know my own history. I was the captive audience.

    Even as a very young child, I recoiled when I heard my adoptive mother say those words, “when we got you…”. I knew I was adopted, but did not know the details of the mother and father and anyone else I lost, but I felt that loss. It was like a punch in the gut to hear those words. My life, my history, began when they got me.

    Yeah, so this newer, modern version that has morphed into “Gotcha Day” is a slur upon the only way adopters know how to tell their version of events that took place that led up to the main event of how each and every one of us came to be adopted.

    Oddly, my adoptive mother was not aware that this term developed in the early 1980s and is now full blown, nor was she aware that the special day could have been celebrated as it is today. In that regard, I’m happy that the day I arrived in their care, or the day I was legally adopted, has never been set aside as a special celebration. My birthdays were hard enough as I always wondered who birthed me.

  5. Iwrote this ten years ago
    “I get so into this stuff because of the people I reunite – I never intended to feel so passionately about language of adoption but here it is.
    Parent is a proper noun, not a verb. In the past 10 or 15 years the word parent (a pronoun) is being inserted into sentences, in conversation as well as in writing, exactly where the word raise (a verb) is suppose to be. Instead of writing or saying “She’s raising two kids on her own.” one might say “She’s parenting two kids on her own.” The noun is pretending to be a verb or vice versa, its more of a voun or a nerb than a true verb.

    Similar examples of creating Nerbs would be like when my friends say they “pulled a Marilynn” everyone knows it means they did something clumsy because I’m clumsy. Another example is the 80’s It became common for people to say they “McGyvered” something which meant they made clever use of resources like the character on the popular tv show MacGyver. There is also Jerry-Rigging, I’m not sure who Jerry is or was but apparently he was really good at keeping broken things working for a while until they could be repaired properly.

    The use of a nerb instead of a real verb implies that a person is acting like another person like MacGyver or Marilynn or Jerry or a parent or a mother or a father, but also implies that they are not themselves MacGyver, Marilynn, Jerry or a parent or a mother or father.

    Parents don’t parent their kids, parents raise their kids. People that are not parents raise kids too it certainly does not make them parents. The act of raising a child does not make one a parent. Maybe the idea behind using parent as a verb was that the act of parenting might actually make one a parent. If parenting (acting like parents are suppose to) makes a person a parent, then not acting like a parent would mean that they were the only parent of an adopted child by virtue of being the only person behaving the way a parent is suppose to behave. Its tricky wordsmithing (there goes another nerb) for sure but it definitely is just smoke and mirrors.

    Raising a child on behalf of a parent that has relinquished control of his or her child is a very big deal – that kid is definitely going to be closer to the person who raised him/her than to his parents. Why can’t that be good enough for the person raising the child? Why do they need the child to call them mother because they behave as a mother should while their mother won’t. Isn’t that kind of f’d up to do to a kid? It takes a loving act and turns it into a self-serving charade that everyone else has to go along with. Its sort of gross.”

    It is difficult work to avoid using industry lingo when writing on the topic of gamete donation and adoption and when speaking about it, but it clarifies who people actually are and what they actually lost. When I find someones mother or father or sister or brother I refer to them by their proper title according to the dictionary and medical text books and never use the qualifier birth bio or genetic it’s unnecessary. I don’t use the word child, I say son or daughter or offspring or any other term that does not expire at 18 because it shows it respects the very permanent nature of kinship without trapping people in pablum sucking infancy. I also don’t humor the two mother’s thing, even if those I help subscribe to that belief themselves because it’s simply not true and I don’t want to be a hypocrite that adopted people get to choose the meanings of words for themselves anymore than I the industry I recoil from can.

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