Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Power of Words

Use them carefully for words have more power than atom bombs    Pearl S. Hurd

Whoever wrote "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" was a liar.   There.  I said it.  The rhyme well meaning adults tried to teach us as we were doing that hiccuping, gulping cry when a friend said something mean,  is wrong.  You know the cry I am talking about -  that cry that builds from your toes and issues forth from your soul. 

 Words can hurt. 
 Words do hurt. 
Words spoken decades ago still hurt. 

Often times, in the world of adoption, words are uttered not to be hurtful, but merely because someone just doesn't know.  And sometimes they are uttered by those closest to us.  Not because they don't love us, just because no one has bothered to help them learn positive adoption language.

As the song says "Let's start at the very beginning...." which is a very good place to start. 
  • Say "birthparent" instead of "real parent". 
  • Say  "terminated parental rights" of  instead of "give up"
  • Say "made an adoption plan" instead of "gave the baby away".   Giving away is what you do to old clothes, something you don't want anymore.  Birthparents make an adoption plan because they love their child and want the very best possible for him/her.
  • In the same vein, say "to parent" instead of "to keep".
  • A child is not "taken away", the courts have terminated parental rights.
  • A child is "a child placed for adoption", not an "unwanted child".
  • A child is "born to unmarried parents" not "illegitimate".
  • A child "was adopted" not "is adopted".
  • A "search" is made for birthparents.  They are not "tracked down".
  • Parents are just that - parents, not "adoptive parents".
  • A child is just that - your child, not an "adopted child".
Don Miguel Ruiz said  "Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love."   Spread the good word. 

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