How Biased Adoption Language Tears Families Apart
Language that is biased or “positive” toward adoption benefits the adoption industry in getting more babies for "sale" and in building a "market" for babies. Honest language that is not biased toward adoption must be reinstated in order to protect American children and families.
Marion, IA (PRWEB) September 14, 2004 -- If during wartime an enemy soldier took a baby away from her mother and this event was caught on film, people would be horrified. But here in the United States, we have individuals, lawyers and agencies advertising to moms and withholding important information to get their babies, pressuring them to get their babies, drugging them to get their babies or social services just plain taking babies because the mother "looks poor". Agencies and lawyers profit handsomely. People say when a mother is unmarried she “deserves it” and it doesn’t matter how it will affect her child. Few people are aware that father’s rights are being violated as well.
Why are people so callous toward citizens of their own country? One important influence on the way people think is the language that is used. The adoption industry has deliberately marketed a lexicon that is meant to marginalize natural mothers and fathers and dehumanize them, giving legitimacy to a form of inhumane exploitation that would otherwise be seen as cruel and unnatural. Language that is biased or “positive” toward adoption benefits the adoption industry in getting more babies for "sale" and in building a "market" for babies. Honest language that is not biased toward adoption must be reinstated in order to protect American children and families.
When the word "parent" is used for a prospective adopter who is unrelated to a child and the "birth" term is used for the child’s own mother, it is just expected a mother must surrender her child. "Birth mother" is like a job title or worse - she is merely a "thing" whose function is to make a baby for others. Some adopters like to abbreviate it as “BM”, likening the mother of the child they have adopted to something to be flushed down the toilet.
While many in office claim to support fatherhood, how many are aware that the National Council for Adoption website refers to fathers as “unmarried men”. If the objective is to promote fatherhood and marriage then acknowledging their fatherhood would be a better way to go about it. Some agencies refer to a father as an “FOB” (father of the baby), which is so close to S.O.B. that the intent of the agency - to create dissention between a father and mother or grandparents - cannot be mistaken.
Everyone recognizes that a parent has a right to raise his or her own child. Yet in court when the foster caregiver or prospective adopter is called a “parent” and the true parents are called “bios” the outcome is predetermined. After lengthy delays initiated by those in the “system”, once they are finally in court the true parents of a child may be proven to be fit in every way yet still have their parental rights terminated.
Some say it’s alright to take a baby from a naïve mother or parents; they believe it is the parents “choice” to surrender their child. Why is it that few mothers and fathers in Sweden, New Zealand or Australia make a "choice" to surrender their own children?
In “Current Adoption Policy and Practice - a comparison between North America and Australia” Evelyn Burns Robinson, MA, Dip Ed, BSW states: “South Australia was the first state in Australia to put into place adoption legislation which seeks to protect and support the relationship between a newborn child and his or her family of origin, as well as allowing equal access to adoption information when the adopted child becomes an adult. Other states have followed with similar adoption acts.”
“Private adoptions are illegal in all states in Australia. All domestic adoptions are enacted by the State Government departments…The term ‘birthmother’ is out of favor with many of the support groups in Australia and certainly would never be used, as I have heard it in North America, to describe an expectant mother… This sinister use of the term ‘birthmother’…implies that the separation of mother and child is a foregone conclusion.”
In South Australia, the father will be allowed time to establish paternity and if recognized by the court as the father “the fathers consent is necessary before that child can be adopted.” Consent to adoption cannot be given until the child is at least fourteen days old, there is a twenty-five day revocation period, no prospective adopter is considered until after the revocation period is past, and “The mother of the child must be given information in writing regarding the consequences of the adoption, prior to any taking of consent.”
By contrast, American mothers are encouraged to select prospective adopters prior to birth by those who know this will make it harder for her to say “no” later. A mother may be even be encouraged to surrender parental rights prior to birth in some states such as Colorado. Often there is no revocation period or the mother is not told there is a revocation period. She is told her child will be “better off” instead of being told the reality about the known consequences. Fathers rights are largely ignored.
In the United States, there was a time when only the masculine forms of nouns and pronouns were used when speaking of people in general. Feminists had to fight for language that made it clear women are human beings, too. As a result, we now respect and acknowledge women in our language choices by saying “men and women” rather than just “men” and by using "his/hers" not just "his". Women now wear pants whenever they want to without apology to their husbands for possibly offending them.
Using language that is biased toward adopters promotes the separation of a child from her own mother and family to provide a baby for a stranger. When a mother loses her child to adoption not only is the mother is affected but also the father, grandparents, existing and future siblings as well as the child who has been artificially “orphaned” and her descendents.
We must change our habits and begin to respect, acknowledge, support and value the true, natural family. The courts and the media are at great fault for using biased language. The term “birth mother” makes people think a mother is just the packaging a baby comes in, meant to be tossed aside.
Every citizen has a right and even an obligation to call a natural mother a “mother” or “natural mother” and thus prevent the temptation for others to separate children from their family any time they feel like it or can profit from it. Using the term "adoptive" for someone who has adopted is not disrespectful but honest and will avoid confusion about relationships. Any person who has adopted and who truly cares about children should be in favor of adjusting their language accordingly. Those who have not yet adopted of course must be called “prospective adopters”, not “parents”.