I was reading an adoption forum today and was some what offended by a statement regarding racial selection and more specifically the lower number of Caucasian babies available for adoption, the statement in question was one pertaining to “The supply is very low and the demand very high”. While I understand what the writer was trying to say, I do believe it is important to be mindful of using sensitive wording when making such statements. Babies, after all, are not commodities to be bought or exchanged, it is not the same as standing in a shoe store, trying to decide between a black or red pair of shoes, where perhaps the supply of black shoes would be in higher demand.
This got me thinking about the varying types of adoption terminology out there, it really is a balancing act, requiring us to be sensitive and yet still able to be direct with the point we’re trying to make. It is a minefield of political correctness but in order to be sensitive to all those on the adoption journey, from adoptive parents (AP’s) to adoptee’s to Birth Mom’s (BM’s), it is necessary to educate oneself on what is and what isn’t acceptable terminology.
One of the interesting terms for me, and this pertains mostly to American adoption blogs, is the argument over the terms Birth Mom versus First Mom and from there leading to the argument over First Mom versus Second Mom. I went and googled this topic and was astounded how many hits that search got. You can read an interesting article on this topic here.
Frankly, I try not to get all hung up on the terminology used. Adoptive Mom, Second Mom, call me what you like, I prefer to just think of myself as Ava’s Mom. The only time I do get a little hot under the collar is when uninformed people refer to Ava’s BM/FM as her REAL mom because then by definition I am not her REAL mom. I find that both hurtful and insensitive.
As for the debate over BM/FM, I’m not exactly sure I understand it completley, or why referring to Ava’s BM/FM as her Birth Mother should or could be considered offensive. Ava’s BM herself refers to herself as Ava’s tummy mummy, Lordy, I bet the anti-adoption lobbyists would have a heart-attack if they heard her calling herself that. A name she chose by the way, not one we assigned to her.
One thing I know for certain, and with all the reading I’ve been doing into the hotly debated topic of adoption, is this: when you embark on the adoption journey, or when you have a family or friend who is embarking on the adoption journey, it’s important to educate yourself, it’s important to read as much as you can, from all angles of the adoption triad, to better understand the fairly unique circumstance of adoption.
As an Adoptive Mom/Second Mom/Root-of-all-evil according to some anti adoption blogs, I have learned that whether I like it or not, whether I want it or not, whether I’m up for the challenge or not, I will always be an ambassador for adoption, I will always need to be well informed about adoption and I’d always need to be able to answer all questions pertaining to adoption, even the most inappropriate of questions.
If you or someone you know is embarking on the adoption journey, I’d encourage you to read these posts:
And lastly, think very carefully about what you say when speaking of the subject of adoption, babies are not commodities to be traded, do not fall into the trap of believing all the stereotypes which abound about adoption.
Get informed and most importantly, do so with a willing and open heart.