Friday, August 10, 2007

#3 -- The Term "Adoption"

Continuing the series of what to say or not to say to adoptive and infertile couples, I would like to discuss the appropriate usage of the term adoption. This is a post I wrote about a year ago, and am now reposting here:

Why is it that so many charitable causes use the term adoption? It is really starting to tick me off. For example, Adopt a Highway campaigns should be called volunteering. And adopting pets... that is buying. Or rescuing if you prefer. We have a rescue puppy, we are sympathetic to that cause. But it's not adoption. And you surely don't adopt whales, seals, eagles, vultures, elephants, or zoos... you sponsor them!

This is a soapbox that I won't soon get off of. People may not realize that improper use of the term adoption truly belittles my children who are REALLY ADOPTED. Please make an effort to use this term appropriately. And if you want to adopt something, adopt CHILDREN!


Daddio said...

This may sound silly or ridiculous to the layperson. We certainly understand that this is never intended to cause harm. We are not the PC police. We do have a thick skin, and we understand our boys will need a thick skin throughout their lives. But the misuse of this term is insensitive and insulting, and we would like to help gently raise awareness of that fact.

underthewillow said...

Not silly at all. It makes total sense. There is some give and take that goes missing when the word "apoption" is used for things and animals. Adopting a highway is there to help citizens take pride in their town, but does the highway care? No. Adopting an endangered species is there to ensure that God's creations do not go extinct, but do the animals know you care? No.

Adopting children is deeper than simply caring for a child. The child will grow to understand his/her life story and realize that these two people love him/her unconditionaly and he/she will feel a need to return this love to his/her parents. This love is immeasurable and has no boundaries and overflows. The bond goes both ways and it's so beautiful.

I think you both should stay on this soapbox. IMO.


Ma Beck said...

As a mom through adoption, this use offends me least of all the things I hear.
I understand that some words have many meanings, and I don't think the local Boy Scouts who clean the highway are laboring under the delusion that their highway-cleaning is quite as important as my childrearing.
But I see so many times on Catholic blogs (I don't really read any other kind) about how so-and-so is having trouble conceiving, and they have considered adoption, but really want "a child of their own", as if MY child belongs to, whom, someone else??
She is mine as much as I am my mother's daughter, period.
Anyhow, that's my soapbox, and in deference to you and those parents who feel as you do, I'll try to use different terms for highway cleaners and such.
Great blog - I'll be reading frequently. I found you through Hawaii Catholic Mom.

Overwhelmed! said...

You know, the use of the word "adoption" in various contexts doesn't bother me so much right now, but I can't help but wonder how Snuggle Bug will feel when he's old enough to understand it all?

I totally agree with ma beck about the "children of my own" phrase, that just grates on my nerves!

Daddio said...

I think that's the point. It doesn't bother us so much, but we don't want our children being hurt or confused by it. Not just our children, but their friends. We don't want them saying hurtful things. Everyone is so careful these days not to offend children of divorced or homosexual parents, or religious and ethnic minorities. Why not extend that awareness and sensitivity to adopted children?

Again, we can't shelter them from everything, but we feel it's a special term that deserves to be used respectfully.

Bob said...

Right on! Thanks for articulating this point of view.

Mrs Pea said...

Oh this reminds me of when we were told that our experience of "adopting" pets would help with our adopting children. Guess who said it?

A social worker!

MommaLlama said...

Oh my goodness... and we wonder why the system is so bogged down... it is because of 'special' social workers such as that!