Close your eyes. Envision yourself grabbing your phone, turning to social media and as you scroll you see a post announcing,
What and who do you see? What emotions do you feel, and what comes to your mind?
Maybe you’re thinking about the happiness of a child finding a “forever home,” or the loving couple finally able to step into parenthood and grow their family. The child and adoptive parents are often the ones being celebrated.
But have you ever thought about the birth mom when you see those posts? The expectant mother making a brave decision for her child? Do we even think of her at all?
And if we do, often outdated stigmas and language such as giving up, putting up, and giving away can lead to a negative narrative for birth parents. As a result, the child may feel these negative effects once able to fully understand their adoption story.
Changing the Narrative for Birth Moms
Today I want to shine the light on the brave, loving, and intentional choices made by the often forgotten heroes of adoption: the birth moms.
It isn’t easy to find the words to convey my respect for the love and courage each birth mom shows in considering adoption for their child. I don’t know the hardships they may have faced or the emotions felt making difficult and life-changing decisions. But I do admire their courage, think of them often, and pray for them always.
We adopted a child, and adoption is one of the most selfless acts of true love that I’ve ever witnessed. Watching the strength and courage our son’s birth mom provided to him was an incredibly moving experience.
What we need from society is to support and appreciate birth moms as well.
And there are ways you can help change the stigma in outdated language through adoption.
Things Not to Say
Common phrases to avoid for birth moms/parents:
- Instead of “Give up,” say “Terminate parental rights.”
- Rather than “Give away,” say “Make an adoption plan.”
- Instead of “Real parent,” say “Birth parent” or “biological parent.”
Common phrases to avoid for adoptive parents:
- “It is so wonderful you have adopted a child in need!”
- “Your son/daughter looks like he could be yours!”
- “I could not raise someone else’s child!”
We can’t expect the perception of birth moms and adoption to change in the blink of an eye, but changing the way we speak of adoption is one step towards true heart change. My hope is that each and every one of us can be a positive part of that shift toward birth moms and recognizing the beautiful gift of adoption.
The next time you see that, “We’re adopting!” post on social media, think of the birth mom. Think of the bravery and selfless love that is very much a part of adoption.