As you’re in the midst of creating a family through adoption and partaking in the most exciting time of your life, or watching a loved one go through the adoption process, you don’t want to do any harm by saying the wrong things. Adoption Choices of Arizona realizes how stressful this is for you, and we are here to help! Here are some tips on how to practice positive adoption language, or PAL, to ensure you’re doing all you can to keep the contentment of your family afloat.
- What exactly is PAL?
PAL is the practice of avoiding certain words or phrases associated with adoption that are enveloped with negative connotations. Since adoption is one of the most emotionally-charged sectors of life, everything you say matters, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend time worrying over it. It’s easy to avoid these common sayings; here’s how:
- Which words/phrases should I avoid?
First and foremost, always avoid “give up for adoption”. This can cause the adoptee to feel as if they weren’t worthy enough for their biological family, which is never the case. Everyone is always worthy; birth parents have to go through a rigorous decision-making process, and life just happens. Instead, say “searching for an adoption plan” or “place baby/child for adoption”. This way, both the adoptee and adopters recognize the respect you have for them.
Going hand in hand with “searching for an adoption plan” are the belittling phrases “unwanted child” and “unwanted pregnancy.” Taking into heavy consideration the feelings of anyone involved in the situation, “unintended pregnancy” or “unplanned pregnancy” are simply a lot more accurate and appropriate.
Another important one is to always replace “real parent” with “biological parent” (notice how it seamlessly flows at the beginning of this section). To suggest that adoptive parents are any less of parents simply because they’re not blood-related is inaccurate. Adoptive parents take on uplifting roles, guiding their children and developing substantial relationships, and that’s as real as it gets.
- What if I still mess up?
You won’t. A determined parent or loved one trying their best never messes up completely. However, if something you say upsets an adoptee or adopter, simply apologize and fix it. Everyone learns from their mistakes quickly, and it’s obvious you’re trying your best.
No one is perfect, and no one will say all the right things the first time. That’s OK. Practice makes you better, and before you know it, you’ll be implementing PAL into your everyday speech. In turn, you’ll have an immensely positive impact on your respective adoptee or adopter, and who doesn’t want that?
For more information and valuable resources on adoption, visit adoptionchoices.org or call or text us at 1-480-900-5520