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Language of Adoption

The language of adoption is changing and evolving and it has become a controversial issue over the use of terms. The terminology while designed to be more appealing or less offensive to some persons affected by adoption, may simultaneously cause offense or insult to others. The two contrasting sets of terms are commonly referred to as positive, or respectful, adoption language (PAL) and honest adoption language (HAL).

Positive Adoption Language
Minneapolis social worker Marietta Spencer first introduced "Positive Adoption Language" around the mid 1970s. It reflects the point of view that (1) all relationships and connections between the adopted child and his/her previous family have been permanently and completely severed once the legal adoption has taken place, and that (2) "placing" a child for adoption is invariably a "decision" the empowered birth mother makes, free of coercion or pressure from external circumstances or other people.

The reasons for its use: In many cultures, adoptive families face adoptism. Adoptism is made evident in English speaking cultures by the prominent use of negative or inaccurate language describing adoption. To combat adoptism, many adoptive families encourage positive adoption language.

The reasons against its use: Many natural parents see "positive adoption language" as terminology which glosses over painful facts they face as they go into the indefinite post-adoption period of their lives. They feel PAL has become a way to present adoption in the friendliest light possible, in order to obtain even more infants for adoption; ie, a marketing tool. These people refer to PAL as "Adoption Friendly Language" or AFL.


From: Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_of_adoption.


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