Birth Mother Blog

Positive Adoption Language: Does it Matter Which Phrase I Use?

Positive Adoption Language: Does it Matter Which Phrase I Use?

 By Talia Washington

Can rephrasing a sentence change someone’s life? You may think this a dramatic statement. No way switching a couple of words around could make a significant change to anyone? Positive Adoption Language (PAL) is one of the ways to show respect to people pregnant and considering adoption and everyone involved in the adoption process. PAL is proof that switching negative terminology can change someone’s life. Read for more information about positive adoption language and why the phrases you use matter.

What is Positive Adoption Language?

Positive Adoption Language (PAL) refers to the choice of expressions and terminology concerning adoption. Incorporating positive language requires refraining from phrases like ‘give up’ when referring to the child. Using positive language is vital during the adoption process. The lack of PAL unknowingly projects stigma that causes mothers to move away from considering adoption.


Therefore simply saying place instead of giving up could be the deciding factor when speaking to someone dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.

Incorporating positive adoption language can sound like:

  • Speaking with adoptive parents: “I understand you’re hoping to adopt a child.”
  • Talking to the child: “We chose to take you home with us.”
  • Speaking with the birth mother: “Adoption is one of many options when dealing with an unplanned pregnancy which can be challenging and emotional.

Replacing Negative Adoption Language

Some believe phrases like giving a child up for adoption and considering adoption for my baby are interchangeable. If you mentioned both two phrases, people would know that they meant the same thing.

Using positive language in place of negatively connotated phrasing makes everyone involved in the adoption process feel recognized and acknowledged.

Positive examples when talking about adoption include phrases like place, adoptive parents, birth parents etc. You would not say things like ‘real’ or ‘fake’ parents. As you would avoid referring to an adopted child as an orphan unless completely relevant and could not be rephrased


Negative Adoption Language – “Put up” or Place?

What is the difference between using put up or place? The two phrases mean the same thing in this context. If used in the context of adoption “put up” has a negative connotation that implies the child is being put away. Adoption is a complicated and sensitive subject, so it’s best to try and judge the scenario and context of the sentence.

Here is an example of put-up being used positively vs. negatively:

  • “You’re just putting up/placing the kid?” vs. “You’re thinking of putting/placing your child up for adoption?”

Placing a child for adoption is not the same scenario as putting up or placing a ketchup bottle on the table. Adoption Choices of Missouri understand the importance and how much is at stake. The importance of this decision makes it harmful to use words like “put up” when referring to adoption.

Tips & Tricks –  Help with Positive Adoption Language

  1. The use of the phrases like “give up” insinuates that the woman is giving up something. Do your very best to avoid making the birth mother feel judged. Adoption Choices of Missouri understands that birth mothers are people working through unplanned pregnancies.
  2.  Listen to the phrasing other people use in the conversation. If you’re unsure of what is appropriate, listen to the others. Does the birth mother use phrases like ‘give up’ or ‘adopted parents’ while speaking?
  3. Learn more about positive adoption language and how word choice could affect others. Think about the connotation (how the word/phrase sounds) vs. the denotation (what the word/phrase means).
  4. Think about the stereotypes surrounding adoption in Missouri. Acknowledge the stigma surrounding adoption, are the words you’re using spreading or aligning with negative stereotypes? If so, rethink your choice of words!
  5. Using place or put up instead of ‘give up’ when referring to the adoption process may be the difference between a birth mother deciding to place a child for adoption. Use discretion and empathy when dealing with anyone during the adoption process.
  6. Understand that language is incredibly important and try your best! No one is perfect – become educated on the proper terms and put them to use.
  7. Educating yourself on positive adoption language is a process. It takes time to unlearn harmful or unhelpful lessons. Be patient with yourself and refrain from being rude or disrespectful to birth mothers at all times.
  8. Positive adoption language benefits everyone involved in the adoption process including the adoption agency, adoptive parents, and birth mothers.

Impact of PAL

It is possible to change someone’s life by using PAL. In fact, you may be changing a child’s life by rephrasing your initial thoughts. Making someone feel uncomfortable or disrespected while discussing adoption plans or the adoption process could mean a completely different life for an innocent child.

Adoption Choices of Missouri handles situations without judgment. If you or someone you know is struggling with an unplanned pregnancy, contact us. You and your adoption agency will work to ensure the best adoption plan for you and your baby.

Birth Mother Blog

Finalizing Adoption Steps and Responsibilities

Finalizing Adoption Steps and Responsibilities

By: Talia Washington

You are nearing the closing of a life-changing process. After a careful guided review of the adoption plan your unplanned pregnancy will be in the care of a loving, like-minded adoptive family. You have made a courageous and selfless decision, but the adoption process does not end with selecting the adoptive parents. Let’s discuss adoption finalization: finalizing adoption steps and responsibilities for adoption in Missouri.

Adoption Finalization for Birth Mothers

Birth mothers, you are essentially near the end of the adoption process.

Your last tasks include acquiring the consent of both birth parents to terminate parental rights. This is legally required before the child can be adopted. It is important to note that parental rights cannot legally be released before the child is two days (48 hours old).

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is enforced to keep the child safe while traveling throughout different states. Safety regulations such as ICPC ensure the adoption is legal with the systems that are put in place.

The final steps of the adoption process are legitimizing the adoption. A judge will conduct the final hearing and sign the adoption decree. The adoptive family as well as the birth mother are expected to attend. After the hearing, the adoptive family will be granted legal custody of the child.

There are processes placed to keep your child safe and the adoption process legal. The court hearing will be the final step before taking the child home for the adoptive parents. It is the judge’s decision that will determine whether or not to sign the child will be adopted. The judge will then sign the adoption decree if they find the family appropriate.

Counseling and emotional support will be accessible during and after the adoption finalization. Financial support may be provided based on need and resources.

What Adoptive Parents Need to Know

The birth mother signing over parental rights is not adoption finalization for adoptive parents. Adoptive parents will be present during the final hearing. When the finalization process ends they will be allowed to take the child home.

Here is a list of some things adoptive parents may need during the adoption finalization process. Adoptive parents need to know:

  • Your court appearance may call need for a finalizing attorney and your adoption agency. Adoption Choices of Missouri will be present in court in order to speak with the judge.
  • The judge will swear in everyone present from the adoptive family. The questioning will involve parenting and commitment. If the judge has a speech or other concerns, then it will be spoken.
  • The judge determines whether the adoption takes place. If the decision is in the adoptive parents’ favor they will be issued a Missouri certificate of adoption. At the end, the judge will issue your Missouri certificate of adoption.
  • Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) ensures that adopted children are safe traveling throughout states. 50 states have been contracted on this agreement. These rules must be abided by, even if they are adopting in-state.
  • Adoptive parents will be required to be present for home visits up to six times a month after the adoption. These are mandatory visits to check in on the health and safety of the child.

The Final Steps Summary – Adoption Agencies in Missouri

  • Terminating parental rights
  • Court proceedings
  • Adoption decree
  • Post-placement visitation
  • Counsel and support for birth mothers

Ultimately, after these are complete the adoption is complete. The adoptive parents can begin the journey of parenthood. You can know that you made the best decision for your child and (if decided in the adoption plan) contact the child. Giving a child up for adoption can be an emotional, upsetting, exciting, and somewhat demanding process for all parties. You have reached the end now, and the child is now placed in a loving, stable, and growth-inspiring home.

We understand that this can be an emotional and challenging journey, and our goal is to ensure that you feel empowered, informed, and supported throughout this important step. Our full-service Missouri adoption agency will guide you through the legal procedures, answer your questions, and connect you with resources to assist you in making the best decision for yourself and your child. We believe that every birth mother deserves a smooth and respectful adoption finalization experience, and we are here to help you achieve just that.

If you have questions or are considering adoption for my baby please contact Adoption Choices of Missouri. Adoption Choices of Missouri is here to answer any questions or concerns.