AskDefine | Define adoption

Dictionary Definition

adoption

Noun

1 the act of accepting with approval; favorable reception; "its adoption by society"; "the proposal found wide acceptance" [syn: acceptance, acceptation, espousal]
2 a legal proceeding that creates a parent-child relation between persons not related by blood; the adopted child is entitled to all privileges belonging to a natural child of the adoptive parents (including the right to inherit)
3 the appropriation (of ideas or words etc) from another source; "the borrowing of ancient motifs was very apparent" [syn: borrowing]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

adoptio, allied to adoptare to adopt.

Noun

  1. The act of adopting, or state of being adopted; voluntary acceptance of a child of other parents to be the same as one's own child.
    A Chinese baby girl was given away for adoption.
  2. Admission to a more intimate relation; reception; as, the adoption of persons into hospitals or monasteries, or of one society into another.
  3. The choosing and making that to be one's own which originally was not so; acceptance; as, the adoption of opinions.

Translations

act of adopting, or state of being adopted
admission to a more intimate relation
choosing and making that to be one's own which originally was not so

Finnish

Noun

adoption

Swedish

Noun

adoption

Extensive Definition

Adoption is the legal act of permanently placing a child with a parent or parents other than the birth (or "biological") mother or father. An adoption order has the effect of severing the parental responsibilities and rights of the birth parent(s) and transferring those responsibilities and rights to the adoptive parent(s). After the finalization of an adoption, there is no legal difference between adopted children and those born to the parents.
There are several kinds of adoption, which can be defined both by effect - such as whether the adoption is open or closed - and/or by location and the origin of the child, such as domestic or international adoption. Each of these has its own features and rules.
However, beyond the initial placement of the child into adoption, there are continuing issues that surround adoption, such as identity, search and reunion, language use, media, and cultural views of adoption.

Degrees of openness

Openness in adoption refers to the legal governance of birth records and the informal relationships between the parties involved.
National and state governments have enacted varying laws to provide adopted individuals access to their birth information. Some allow complete access while others seal all records in perpetuity. The different legal structures for adoption are referred to as either, “Open Record or Closed Record.”
Regardless, of the law, however, adoptions can and have been arranged to allow ongoing contact between the parties involved. The arrangements are referred to in popular culture as either “open, semi-open, or closed adoption.”

Open adoption

Open, or fully disclosed, adoptions allow adoptive parents, and often the adopted child, to interact directly with biological kin. Communication may include letters, emails, telephone calls, or visits. Direct access to the birth parents and history has advantages of answering identity questions ("Who do I look like? Why was I placed?") and lessening fantasies. There are also disadvantages such as no clean break for assimilation into family and the potential for feelings of rejection if contact stops, or for playing families against each other.
Arrangements regarding contact are typically informal. Even in an open adoption, legal rights of guardianship are terminated, and the adoptive parents become the legal parents. In some jurisdictions, the birth and adoptive parents may enter into a binding agreement concerning visitation, exchange of information, or other interaction regarding the child; however, informal agreements are much more common.
Another aspect of openness in adoption is access to unaltered birth certificates or other records. Such access is not universal. However, a few jurisdictions, do provide automatic rights to records. These include,
United Kingdom: At age 18, those adopted are automatically entitled to their birth certificates and may access their adoption records.
Germany: German-born children are allowed full access to their birth and adoption records. In many cases, biological family genealogical research is possible.
US: people adopted in Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Kansas, New Hampshire, and Oregon can access their birth certificates.

Semi-open adoption

In a semi-open adoption, the parents involved may meet one or several times and then have no more physical contact. Non-identifying letters and pictures may be exchanged directly or via a third party, such as an adoption agency, throughout the years. The relationship may remain semi-open or may evolve into open or closed.

Closed adoption

In some closed adoptions, non-identifying information is shared between the parties involved, such as medical history, up to the point of placement. After the adoption is legalized, no further information is shared between the parties involved.
In other closed adoptions no information is shared between the parties involved. This may occur because of the law in the jurisdiction concerned, or court order, such as when a child is removed from the home by the state because of abuse or neglect. It may also occur because the parties involved do not want any contact.
Another trend in closed adoption concerns laws passed by some U.S. states that allow infants to be placed at any nearby hospital, fire department, or police station within 10 days after birth, with no questions asked. However, such laws have been criticized by adoptee advocacy organizations as being retrograde and dangerous.

Types of adoption by location and origin

Domestic adoption

A domestic adoption is the placement of a child for adoption within the country in which he or she was born and normally resides. A special case is an interstate adoption - where an adoption occurs across state lines in the U.S., or within different Canadian provinces. In such cases, additional regulations may apply.

Foster care adoption

seealso Foster care
Foster care adoption is a type of domestic adoption where the child is initially placed into a foster care system and is subsequently placed for adoption. Children may be placed into foster care for a variety of reasons, including removal from the home by a governmental agency because of maltreatment. Maltreatment can take the form of neglect or abuse. In most adoptions regarding foster children, the foster parents decide to adopt and become the legal parents. In some jurisdictions, adoptive parents are licensed as and technically considered foster parents while the adoption is being finalized. Altogether, of the 127,500 adoptions in the U.S. in 2001, about 51,000 occurred through the foster care system.
Children with histories of maltreatment, such as physical and psychological neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, are at risk of developing psychiatric problems. Such children are at risk of developing a disorganized attachment. Studies by Cicchetti et al (1990, 1995) found that 80% of abused and maltreated infants in their sample exhibited disorganized attachment styles. Disorganized attachment is associated with a number of developmental problems, including dissociative symptoms, as well as depressive, anxiety, and acting-out symptoms.

Intra-family adoption

Not all adoptions are from outside of the family. An intra-family adoption occurs when a child is adopted by an existing close family member and/or his or her partner. A common example is a "stepparent adoption", where the new partner of a parent may legally adopt a child from the parent's previous relationship. Intra-family adoption can also occur through surrender, as a result of parental death, or when the child cannot otherwise be cared for and a family member agrees to take over.

International adoption

International adoption is the placing of a child for adoption outside that child’s country of birth. The laws of different countries vary in their willingness to allow international adoptions. Some countries, such as China and Vietnam, have relatively well-established rules and procedures for foreign adopters to follow, while others, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for example, expressly forbid it. Some countries, notably many African nations, have extended residency requirements that in effect rule out most international adoptions. And some countries such as Romania are closed to international adoption altogether, with the exception of adoptions by close relatives (such as grandparents).
Recognising some of the difficulties and challenges associated with international adoption, and in an effort to protect those involved from the corruption and exploitation which sometimes accompanies it, the Hague Conference on Private International Law developed the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, which came into force on 1 May, 1995. To date it has been ratified by 75 countries.

Reasons for adoption

Adoptions occur for many reasons. Adoptive parents may wish to adopt due to infertility, compassion for adoptees and to avoid passing on inheritable diseases. A minority of adoptees are orphans. Another reason could be where a child is found abandoned and family cannot be traced. Individuals may place their child for adoption because they are unable to provide adequate care, because they have failed to receive the resources they need to parent, or because they are pressured by their own parents or others.

Categories of Adoptees

One UK study that questioned social workers about 168 recent young adoptees found that the reason for their adoption fell into three groups: relinquished infants (15%), those whose parents had requested adoption in complex circumstances (24%), and those children required by social services and the courts to be adopted (62%).
Children may be permanently removed from a family due to abuse or unfitness.
In some cases, parents' rights have been terminated when their ethnic or cultural group has been deemed unfit by the controlling government. Historically, the Stolen Generation of Aboriginal people in Australia were affected by such policies, as were Native Americans in the United States and First Nations of Canada. Moreover, unwed mothers in many countries still are (and in many more countries used to be) pressured or forced by families, religious bodies or governments to relinquish their children for adoption, due to the social stigma attached to illegitimacy. These practices of the past have become emotionally-charged social and political issues in recent years, and many cases the policies have changed. The United States, for example, now has the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, which allows the tribe and family of a Native American child to be involved in adoption decisions, with preference being given to adoption within the child's tribe.

Adoptive parents

The reasons why people want to adopt children vary, as well. The inability to biologically reproduce is a common reason, often due to infertility. In many Western countries, step-parent adoption is the most common form of adoption as people choose to cement a new family following divorce or death of one parent. Often people adopt out of compassion, sometimes motivated by religious or philosophical conviction. Others may choose to adopt instead of creating a new life, to avoid contributing to perceived overpopulation, or out of the belief that it is more responsible to care for otherwise parent-less children than to reproduce. Others may do so to avoid passing on inheritable diseases (e.g., Tay-Sachs disease), or out of health concerns relating to pregnancy and childbirth. Some people feel that given the challenges of carrying a baby to term, adoption is the best way to grow a family.
After adopting, some parents face judgment over the validity of their parenting and may feel pressure to "prove" themselves causing them to increase their parental involvement. A study, evaluating the importance of biological ties for parental investment indicates strengths in adoptive families. The data was part of a detailed survey called the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation and the American Educational Research Association. It suggests that parents who have adopted may invest more time in their children than others and concludes, "...adoptive parents enrich their children's lives to compensate for the lack of biological ties and the extra challenges of adoption."
Adoption may also pose questions for adoptive parents. There are various schools of thought about openness, maintaining connections to the child's family from birth, answering a child's questions and helping a child deal with birth parents who may not maintain regular contact.

Applying to adopt

Certain jurisdictions prohibit homosexual couples from adopting children, or have a policy of considering applications made by heterosexual couples before those of homosexual couples.
The issue of adoption by nonheterosexual couples is tied in with the debate on homosexuality. Preference to heterosexual couples may be given in the belief that heterosexuals who adopt often have fertility problems and therefore must be given preference on medical grounds. Opponents say this system is untenable in a free society and can leave needy children with limited access to a family structure.
Adoption by same-sex civil unions or marriages are allowed in Australia (regions: Western Australia, Tasmania, ACT), the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Iceland, Sweden, Spain and in some of the USA (see Adoption by same-sex couples). As adoptions are mostly handled by local courts in the United States, some judges and clerks accept or deny petitions to adopt on criteria that vary from other judges and clerks in the same state.
Only stepchild adoptions within same-sex couples, i.e. where one of the partners in the relationship has children of his or her own, are allowed in Denmark, Norway, France and Germany.
Ireland (which does not recognize same-sex unions) does not allow joint applications to adopt from same-sex couples, but does permit applications from one of the partners. According to the adoption laws in India, same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt.
In January 2008, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that homosexual persons have the right to adopt a child.

Cost of adoption

For the adoptive parents, adoption costs and assistance vary between countries. In many countries, it is illegal to charge for an adoption, while in others, adoptions must be facilitated on a non-profit basis. On the other hand many adoption programs will give financial assistance to adoptive parents, especially with their expenses. Some jurisdictions offer tax credits to offset the cost of adoption. In the United States there is a $10,390 tax credit for adoption. Adoptions through the child welfare system typically do not cost the adopting family anything beyond minor legal or other types of documented fees. In some states, families adopting from foster care may also receive yearly reimbursements for educational or therapeutic expenses up to a preset limit as well as have the adopted children retain Medicaid coverage even if they are covered by other insurance. The same is true in Canada. Regulations specify to whom payments may or may not be made, e.g., in some jurisdictions, no money may be paid to a woman above her medical expenses. There may also be significant expenses, such as legal fees and fees associated with searching for possible adoptees.
International adoptions tend to be more expensive and often incur additional costs, as the adoptive parents may be required to travel to the source country. Translation fees may also apply to legal documents.

Adoption numbers

The number of children available for adoption inside Western nations has dropped considerably in recent years, in part because of lower fertility rates, legalization of abortions, and the increased acceptance of single parenthood. In the USA, the number of children awaiting adoption has held steady in recent years, hovering between 133,000 to 129,000 during the period 2002 to 2006
Adoptions, Live Births, and Adoption/Live Birth Ratios are provided in the table below (alphabetical, by country) for a number of Western countries.

Issues surrounding adoption

Family heritage and identity

Preserving the adopted child's biological heritage has become an issue in adoption. Recent work on openness in adoption has attempted to address this issue. These efforts are relatively recent, and full openness, while on the upswing, is still not the norm in adoption. International adoptees face additional challenges. Some adoptive families in international adoptions commit to integrating the child's birth nation cultures, traditions, stories, languages and relationships. Some countries require that adoptive parents keep the birth names of their adoptive children.
For adopted people in adoptions where information about the family of origin is withheld, secrecy may disrupt the process of forming an identity. Family concerns regarding genealogy can be a source of confusion. Another common concern is the lack of a medical history, which can affect the adopted person and also his/her subsequent children. In most U.S. domestic adoptions, medical information is not withheld from the child. However, if the adoption is closed, such information becomes out of date unless a trace is undertaken in adulthood.

Reunion

Some people influenced by adoption have a desire to reunite. In countries which practice confidential adoption, this has led to efforts to open sealed records and the formation of the Adoption reunion registry.
Estimates for the extent of search behavior by adoptees have proven elusive as studies show significant variation. Even looking at the number of adoptees in search organizations is unhelpful since it is impossible to determine the number of independent searchers. In part, the problem stems from the fact that the studies to date have been non-random surveys; the small adoptee population makes random surveying difficult if not impossible. Nevertheless, some indication of the level of search interest by adoptees can be gleaned from the case of England and Wales which opened adoptee birth records in 1975. As of 2001, the office of National Statistics projected the percentage of adoptees who would eventually request a copy of their original birth record entry should exceed 25% for male adoptees, 40% for female adoptees, and 33% for all adoptees. These proportions are considered underestimates of actual search activity. Thus far, however, they have exceeded projections made in 1975 when it was believed that only a small fraction of adoptees would request their records.
The research literature states adoptees give four reasons for desiring reunion: 1) they wish for a more complete genealogy, 2) they are curious about events leading to their conception, birth, and relinquishment, 3) they hope to pass on information to their children, and 4) they have a need for a detailed biological background, including medical information. Nevertheless, it is speculated by adoption researchers that the reasons given are incomplete since although information could be communicated by a third-party, interviews with adoptees, who sought reunion, found they expressed a need to actually meet biological relations. Along these lines, it appears that the desire for reunion is linked to the adoptee’s interaction with and acceptance within the community. Internally-focused theories suggest some adoptees possess ambiguities in their sense of self, impairing their ability to present a consistent identity. Reunion helps resolve the lack of self-knowledge that creates this issue. Externally-focused theories, in contrast, suggest that reunion is a way for adoptees to overcome social stigma. First proposed by Goffman, the theory has three parts: 1) adoptees perceive the absence of biological ties as distinguishing their adoptive family from others, 2) this understanding is strengthened by experiences where non-adoptees suggest adoptive ties are weaker than blood ties, 3) together, these factors engender, in some adoptees, a sense of social exclusion, and 4) these adoptees react by searching for a blood tie that reinforces their membership in the community. It is important to note, that, at least, the externally-focused rationale for reunion suggests adoptees may be well adjusted and happy within their adoptive families, but will search as an attempt to resolve experiences of social stigma.
Some adoptees reject the idea of reunion. It is unclear, though, what differentiates adoptees who search from those who do not. One paper summarizes the research, stating, “…attempts to draw distinctions between the searcher and non-searcher are no more conclusive or generalizable than attempts to substantiate…differences between adoptees and nonadoptees.
Similarly, some, although not all, adoptive parents may fear the possibility of reunion. This could manifest itself by refusing to tell an adoptee that he or she is adopted, hindering a search, and not acknowledging a reunion. In contrast, other adoptive parents may feel a duty to help a search and welcoming of new relationships.
Parents who put their child up for adoption may also fear rejection and relive the events leading up to the adoption. They may fear that the adoptee will be angry or will not forgive them. Others face cultural taboos, e.g. in Korea a woman may face the stigma of having a "foreign" child.
In sum, reunions can bring a variety of issues for adoptees and parents. Nevertheless, most reunion results appear to be positive. In the largest study to date (based on the responses of 1,007 adoptees and relinquishing parents), 90% responded that reunion was a beneficial experience. This does not, however, imply ongoing relationships were formed between adoptee and parent nor that this was the goal.

Adoption reform

Adoption practices have significantly changed over the course of the last century, with each new movement labeled, in some way, reform. Efforts to improve adoption in contemporary times are associated with opening records and ensuring family preservation. The movement began in 1970’s and found further intellectual support in the 1990’s.
As concerns over illegitimacy began to subside, social-welfare agencies began to emphasize that, if possible, mothers and children should be kept together. In America, this was clearly illustrated by the shift in policy of the New York Foundling Home, an adoption-institution that is among the country’s oldest and one that had pioneered sealed records. In the early part of the 1970’s, three new principles were established for the Foundling including, the statement, “ to prevent placements of children (in institutions or foster care),” which reflected the belief that children would be better off staying in their own families and communities. This was a striking shift in policy and remains in force today.
As the cultural shift evolved, movements to open records proliferated. In the United States, Florence Fisher created the Adoptees’ Liberty Movement Association (ALMA) in 1971, calling sealed records “an affront to human dignity.” Her effort was among the first to call for unsealing records. In 1975, Emma May Vilardi created the first mutual-consent registry, the International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR), allowing those separated by adoption to locate one another via mutual registration. Similar ideas took hold globally. In 1975, England and Wales opened records on moral grounds, in England and Wales.
Later years saw the evolution of more militant organizations such as Bastard Nation (founded in 1996) which helped overturn sealed records in Alabama, Delaware, New Hampshire, Oregon and Tennessee. . Simultaneously, groups such as Origins USA (founded in 1997) started to actively speak about family preservation and the rights of natural mothers. The intellectual tone of these recent reform movements was influenced by the publishing of "The Primal Wound" by Nancy Verrier. The "primal wound" is described as the "devastation which the infant feels because of separation from its birth mother. It is the deep and consequential feeling of abandonment which the baby adoptee feels after the adoption and which may continue for the rest of his life." However, this theory has been criticized by other supporters of adoption reform for being extremely sexist, somewhat naïve, as well as cruel towards those women who would make an adoption plan for her child.Nevertheless, the argument has shaped much of the more recent debate on adoption reform.

Adoption in schools

Adoption rights organizations often focus on the adoptees rights in school and advocate for change in the system to accommodate the adoptee in the classroom. Familiar lessons like "draw your family tree" or "trace your eye color back through your parents and grandparents to see where your genes come from" are viewed as hurtful to children who were adopted and do not know this biological information. New lesson plans can be substituted easily, that focus on "family orchards" or steer away from personal medical histories. Discussions about these sensitive topics, advocates argue, are the same as those that were conducted around issues of disability, race, and gender, and foster respect for differences in the same way as these earlier national conversations.

Adoption in the media

Adoption experts complain that too much of the media coverage of adoption goes to one extreme or the other. There is favoritism in portraying the reunion rather than looking at the adoptee's life.
In movies and TV the representation of adoption is often viewed as unfair by adoption advocates. Adoption blogs, for example, criticized Meet the Robinsons for using outdated orphanage imagery as did advocacy non-profit The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.:
"On the reverse many countries that are the source of adoptions internationally put emphasis on the biological parents where the adoptee is spending their entire life (or the length of the movie / TV show) searching for their biological parents. In both cases the feelings and thoughts of the adoptee are downgraded and one participant group is favored, ignoring the two other participants in the adoption process."
This also is in news reports covering adoption as either stories of failed adoptions, troubled children, adoption scandals, and even "baby buying" or saccharine stories of “perfect” children and families. Only a very few news programs have treated the subject in a serious way and in its full breadth.
Ignorance about adoption leads to representation of children in foster care as being so troubled that it would be impossible to adopt them and create “normal” families. The result is that many children who would thrive in a loving family instead wait years in foster care, and even “age out” of the system at 18 without a family. A 2004 report from the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care has shown that the number of children waiting in foster care doubled since the 1980s and now remains steady at about a half-million a year."

Adoptism

Adoptism is a prejudice against adoption.
This can be the belief that adoption is not a way to build a family (which is different from the preference for any other way or the personal free choice of not to do so spending time and resources without a self-preservation purpose). This may not be in blatant forms, but by assuming that the individual's abilities come from their family's abilities and all abilities, like other physical and psychological traits (and also because of those), are "inherited" rather than learned, which actually has scientifical basis to be the rule though learning has equally proven influence over some hereditary abilities.
This can also be the belief that birthing children is preferable to adopting (which is different from preferring to birth and raise children for the sake of self-preservation and sense of belonging). This can extend to the idea that one should not adopt anyone that does not "look" like the parents and can hide forms of racism and sometimes sexism.
Also it can be that making an adoption plan is never a preferable for people who are unable to or choose not to raise their children.
This also extends to the idea that it's alright to tell the adoptee should only love either their biological family or their adoptive family and they cannot love both, inclusively denying or limiting any contact with or denigrating his heritage or the one of his adoption. Usually this form is a hidden form of prejudice on the environment or biology makes the child.
Sometimes adoptism is not conscious. For example, with international adoption, there is often the idea that it's not right to adopt internationally when there are kids domestically that need to be adopted. This idea isn't blatantly adoptism but rather a matter of priority for children of one's own country are closer or simply for a nativist sense of belonging. This can also be subtle as telling an adoptee that they don't have an accent. With domestic adoptions it's often extended through language choice that the adoptee, adoptive parents or the biological parents can find offensive, such as "real" parents or when an adoptee plans on finding their biological parents or the idea that they can now ask many personal questions that the adoptee may not be equipped or ready to respond to. These can sometimes be prejudices against actual adopted people.
Sometimes this only is limited to certain kinds of adoption. Adoption is often used to cover other social issues in the society. For example, with adoption to gay and lesbian couples, many who are against it are also against gays and lesbians - the idea that a child needs a father and mother to function properly is an issue. This also can extend to race where the idea that whites should not adopt children of color because it's "unnatural".

Adoption in the wake of disasters

After disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and wars there is often an outpouring of offers from adults who want to give homes to the children left in need. While adoption is often the best way to provide stable, loving families for children in need, it is also suggested that adoption in the immediate aftermath of trauma or upheaval may not be the best option. Moving children too quickly into new adoptive homes among strangers may be a mistake because with time, it may turn out that the parents have survived but were unable to find the children, or there may be a relative or neighbor who can offer shelter and homes. Providing safety and emotional support may be better in those situations than immediate relocation to a new adoptive family. There is also an increased risk, immediately following a disaster, that displaced and/or orphaned children may be more vulnerable to exploitation and child trafficking.

Disruption

Disruption is the term most commonly used for ending an adoption. While technically an adoption is disrupted only when it is abandoned by the adopting parent or parents before it is legally completed (an adoption that is reversed after that point is instead referred to in the law as having been dissolved), in practice the term is used for all adoptions that are ended (more recently, among families disrupting, the euphemism "re-homing" has become current). It is usually initiated by the parents via a court petition, much like a divorce, to which it is analogous.
While rarely discussed in public, even within the adoption community, the practice has become far more widespread in recent years, especially among those parents who have adopted from Eastern European countries, particularly Russia and Romania, where some children have suffered far more from their institutionalization than their parents were led to believe.

The language of adoption

The language used in adoption is changing and evolving, and it has become a controversial issue. The controversy arises over the use of terms which, while designed to be more appealing or less offensive to some persons affected by adoption, may simultaneously cause offense or insult to others. This controversy illustrates the problematic nature of adoption, as well as the fact that coining new words and phrases to describe ancient social practices does not alter the feelings and experiences of those affected by them.
The two contrasting sets of terms are commonly referred to as "Positive (or Respectful) Adoption Language" and "Honest Adoption Language."
Positive Adoptive Language (PAL)
It is believed that social workers in the field of adoption, most notably Marietta Spencer, created and began the promotion of what they termed "Positive Adoption Language" around the mid 1970s.. The terms contained in ""Positive Adoption Language" include the terms "birth mother" (to replace the terms "natural mother" and "first mother"), "placing" (to replace the terms "relinquishment" or "surrender"), and restricting the terms "mother" and "father" to refer solely to the parents who had adopted. 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 non-coerced "decision" the mother makes, free of coercion or pressure from external circumstances or agents.
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.
Honest Adoption Language (HAL)
"Honest Adoption Language", on the other hand, refers to a set of terms that reflect the point of view that: (1) family relationships (social, emotional, psychological or physical) that existed prior to the legal adoption often continue past this point or endure in some form despite long periods of separation, and that (2) mothers who have "voluntarily surrendered" children to adoption (as opposed to involuntary terminations through court-authorized child-welfare proceedings) seldom view it as a choice that was freely made, but instead describe scenarios of powerlessness, lack of resources, and overall lack of choice. It also reflects the point of view that the term "birth mother" is derogatory in implying that the woman has ceased being a mother after the physical act of giving birth. Proponents of HAL liken this to the mother being treated as a "breeder" or incubator".. Terms included in HAL include the original terms that were used before PAL, including "natural mother," "first mother," and "surrendered for adoption."
The reasons for its use: In most cultures, the adoption of a child does not change the identities of its mother and father: they continue to be referred to as such. Those who adopted a child were thereafter termed its "guardians," "foster," or "adoptive" parents. Most people use "Honest Adoption Language" (HAL) because it is the original and most widely-used terminology. Many of those directly affected by adoption loss believe these terms more accurately reflect important but hidden and/or ignored realities of adoption. It also has the advantage of not excluding further contacts, sometimes even allowed since the beginning and never totally severed. The reasons against its use: The term "Honest" implies that all other language used in adoption is dishonest.
Terms used in Positive Adoption Language:
Terms used in Honest Adoption Language:

Cultural variations in adoption

Attitudes and laws regarding adoption vary greatly. Whereas all cultures make arrangements whereby children whose own parents are unavailable to rear them to be brought up by others, not all cultures have the concept of adoption, that is treating children who are adopted as though they were the biological children of the adoptive parents. In true adoption, the children inherit the ascribed status of the adoptive parents (i.e., like biological children, they inheit aristocratic rank or tribal membership) and the same legal rights as biological children (i.e., if the parent dies intestate, they inherit on the same basis as biological offspring.)
adoption in Arabic: تبني
adoption in Bulgarian: Осиновяване
adoption in Czech: Adopce
adoption in Danish: Adoption
adoption in German: Adoption
adoption in Spanish: Adopción
adoption in Esperanto: Adopto
adoption in Persian: فرزندخواندگی
adoption in French: Adoption
adoption in Scottish Gaelic: Uchd-mhacachd
adoption in Galician: Adopción
adoption in Icelandic: Fósturbarn
adoption in Italian: Adozione
adoption in Hebrew: אימוץ
adoption in Lithuanian: Įvaikinimas
adoption in Hungarian: Örökbefogadás
adoption in Dutch: Adoptie
adoption in Japanese: 養子縁組
adoption in Norwegian: Adopsjon
adoption in Polish: Adopcja
adoption in Portuguese: Adoção
adoption in Russian: Усыновление
adoption in Simple English: Adoption
adoption in Slovak: Adopcia
adoption in Slovenian: Adopcija
adoption in Serbian: Усвојење
adoption in Finnish: Adoptio
adoption in Swedish: Adoption
adoption in Ukrainian: Адопція
adoption in Walloon: Adoptaedje d' efants
adoption in Chinese: 收養

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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