Positive Adoption Language: is this correcting corruption?

I was reading Holt's media page of parental terms and use, and found myself rather annoyed by the suggestion that journalists ought to follow certain language rules when it comes to reporting a story about adoption.   The folks at Holt were nice enough to include a list of "correct terms" and "incorrect terms".  For example, an adoptee does not "track-down and make contact with natural parents".  No.  The adopted person searches and reunites with those who chose to make an adoption plan.   That's all fine and good if the child in-question was not stolen and then sold to the parents with the most connections and cash.

Elsewhere on the internet, I found "corrections" like this:

Written by an an attorney-turned-author/adoptive mother to two Korean boys 

USE APPROPRIATE LANGUAGE AND GENTLY CORRECT THOSE WHO DON’T. When your prying neighbor asks, “Why was she given up for adoption?” respond that your child’s birthparents made an adoption plan knowing that was the best option for her. You don’t have to chastise anyone for their incorrect terminology, but you will notice that others will begin to copy the terms you use.

MAKE CORRECTIONS TO FORMS THAT USE INAPPROPRIATE TERMS.When I was petitioning the court for Zack’s adoption in 1997, our adoption agency gave us sample pleadings that we could adapt and file with the court. The samples contained the terms “natural mother and father.” When I asked our agency about it, they told me that the court in this particular jurisdiction was very traditional and still used such terms. Not settling for “its-always-been-done-this-way,” I changed all of the terms to read to “birthmother and -father.” And do you know what? The judge signed the final order of adoption with my modifications. You can emend medical or school information forms—or any other document crying out for an update—in much the same way.

WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR ABOUT INAPPROPRIATE TERMS used in print, and consider sending along the adoption stylebook created by the Accurate Adoption Reporting group. This stylebook contains guidelines and appropriate language for journalists to follow when writing about adoption issues. You’ll find it in Adoptive Families Jan/Feb 02, www.adoptivefamilies.com/articles.php?aid=405.

Given the nature of corrupt governments, unethical adoption lawyers, money hungry doctors/nurses, and AP's not all that concerned about fraudulent paper-work/documentation, how can those with a moral compass promote such sugar-coating as a politically correct way to clarify an adopted child's origins and adoption story?

Surely those who have been stolen, abducted, and sold through black market adoption rings can see just how bothersome and disturbing PAL's version of "facts" can be.



In George Orwell's novel "1984", the government of state the protagonist, Winston Smith, lives in, has modified the English language to serve the policies of the state. The underlying theory of Newspeak is that if something can't be said, then it can't be thought.

Whenever I hear of Positive Adoption Language I immediately think Newspeak. Alike The Party in 1984, the adoption industry doesn't want us to think negatively of their wheeling and dealings and wants to purify the language in such a way that negative thoughts about adoption can not be expressed. Maybe hoping like The Party: if something can't be said, then it can't be thought.

JCICS Vietnam semantics

Oh, that's sooooo true.

Just read the Joint Council on International Children Services's latest campaign on Vietnam:

  • A Child Rights Campaign - instead of A Campaign to continue Intercountry Adoptions
  • Permanency Services -  instead of Intercountry Adoption
  • Child Protection Services to protect children from trafficking - instead of just providing child protection and leave the children where they are (or provide social assistance and prevent taking children into child protection at the first place!)

But then again, Joint Council on International CHILDREN SERVICES??? Do you ever hear them about anything else than intercountry adoptions? No of course not, and why would you? Because Intercountry adoption agencies are what they represent (or ARE).  So let's get real: as of now they should be called:


Censorship in child placement: keep it private!

Adoption Media, LLC has implemented the following new policy. ( For those who don't know, Adoption Media is aka Adoption.con)

Due to the occurrence of large numbers of harsh, and potentially slanderous posts about adoption professionals, and the occurrence of large numbers of self-serving advertising disguised as independent posts, all comments and discussions about adoption facilitators, agencies, attorneys, searchers and other adoption professionals, whether positive or negative, MAY NOT BE POSTED ON ADOPTION FORUMS. If individuals desire to provide or exchange this kind of information, it will need to be done privately and by other means, such as through private messaging and emails.

If you are seeking information about a particular adoption professional, it is acceptable to post a message that you are seeking information about the experiences of others with that specific adoption professional, along with a request that others may provide that information to you in a personal message or email sent to your personal account.

It will also be acceptable to post a message that you have experience with a particular adoption professional (WITHOUT GIVING ANY DETAILS) and that you can be contacted on a private basis, at a specific location, for more information.


This change has become necessary because there isn’t any way to determine the truthfulness of either positive or negative information that can be posted on forums on an anonymous basis. So it would be equally unfair to erase, or to allow the uncontrolled posting of either. Under the new policy, if an individual is certain that the information to be shared is true, and can be documented, then they will still have the ability to share that information on a private basis.

So much for open and honest adoption language.

The thought police never sleeps

Ah, the infamous banning policy of adoption.con in full glory. In all honesty, it had always surprised me how much was being discussed about adoption agencies on their forums. Given that quite a number of groups, websites and forums have been harrassed by lawyers of adoption agencies to the point that some have closed shop and many are for members only. In that sense the adoption industry even has its own police trying to make sure no thoughtcrimes are committed.

"PAL" is such a load of BS!

I've written about so-called "positive" adoption language propaganda quite a few times, but here's the first article I could find (sorry I can't get the font to be normal): 

Respectful Adoption Language

“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.” – Benjamin Lee Whorf

We all know how powerful words can be. We may comfort our children with the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me,” but the truth is that offensive language can bruise the psyche of its target. Currently, the words used by the media to describe adoption range from dishonest and inaccurate to hurtful and discriminatory. Many of these labels are tantamount to the racial slurs used against African Americans prior to the abolition of slavery and the advent of the civil rights movement. Just as journalists (and all members of polite society) steer clear of using names like “nigger” and “colored person,” degrading adoption terms need to be removed from our collective vocabulary.

The same is true for adoption-related words that disguise reality or perpetuate the myths that the $1.4 billion adoption industry would have us believe. First, let’s examine the discriminatory labels that have been applied to parents who have lost their children to adoption. “Birth” and “Biological” are common prefixes that the media and others apply to parents, grandparents, and extended family members of adopted children. Often, adoption agencies and would-be adopters refer to “birth” mothers and fathers whose children have yet to be born. These labels are an attempt to degrade the importance of a child’s true family, reducing them to a single function in their children’s lives.

In the case of pre-birth labeling, the users of this offensive language are clearly aiming to convince parents that they are dispensable even before their children have come into the world. Rather than perpetuating the unbelievable and degrading notion that one’s family can be “switched at birth” (or even later, in the case of older children’s adoptions), we need to take care to use respectful and honest language. It is not necessary to separate parents who have lost children to the adoption industry from any other parents in our society. Mother, father, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin are all perfectly descriptive words on their own. Knowing that a child has only one true family makes it unnecessary to use discriminatory words to mark the difference between relatives and adopters.

When one needs to convey the fact that a parent has lost a child to the adoption industry, it is more appropriate to describe them as a “natural mother/father,” “parent exiled by adoption,” or “mother/father of adoption loss.” These terms are accurate in relaying the experience of losing a child to adoption, but they don’t reduce a parent’s role to that of an incubator or sperm donor.

The second set of offensive adoption words is degrading to children and their true families, as well as dishonest and deceptive. These words – “adoptive mother/father/family” – describe something that simply doesn’t exist. Families are not created on paper, upon payment of the necessary legal fees. Families are created by nature, through the unbreakable bond that ties together past and future generations. Despite being separated over many years or many miles, family members still manage to share their traits with one another, and it is only natural for them to do so. It is a fallacy to suggest that strangers can step in to replace a child’s true family in any situation.

Pretending that adopters are the parents of another family’s child is incredibly disrespectful to that child, his or her heritage, and the real family that he was given by nature. It implies that children can be passed around and sold to the highest bidder as slaves were sold in the 17th century. In the interest of honesty, it is far better to describe the people who adopt children as “adopters,” “caregivers,” or “guardians.”

Adoptees shouldn’t be expected to play make-believe when it comes to something as serious as their families, and the rest of us shouldn’t perpetuate the lies created by the adoption industry as a means of peddling children to wealthy, infertile couples. In the end, the most important thing is respect for children and the families that nature has given them. Growing up, we’ve all been taught that honesty is the best policy. What are we teaching today’s children if we force them to accept strangers as parents and to deny their true families? What message are they being sent about themselves, if their own mothers and fathers are constantly being degraded and abused by our society’s adoption vocabulary? Whether they’re adopted as infants, toddlers, or older, children deserve better than the lies the adoption industry offers them.

Thanks to Holt.

Since my natural biological family told me that I was not abandoned, I'm still trying to change the inappropriate term that I have been using during more than 25 years. 

Thanks to Holt, the baby selling industry, adoption industry, Creator of families, for selling me placing me for adoption, for making me available for adoption or for making the adoption plan. Holt will be welcome to remove the inappropriate term "abandoned" from my adoption record and change it to a more accurate term. In the interest of accuracy,  my biological father had not placed me for adoption, did not make an adoption plan, didn't make me  available for adoption, nor did he transferred his parental rights.

I'm sure that Holt is reading adoptees blogs/website/forums to improve their business adoptees life.

Pound Pup Legacy