School for Children

November is National Adoption Awareness Month

Posted by Katie Peshut on November 15, 2012

Bank Street School for Children celebrates its families formed through adoption. 

Positive adoption language helps the community learn and talk about adoption together.  Here are some examples:

We say a child “was adopted" into his or her family. (We use “adopted” as an adverb, not an adjective!) We do not say a child “is adopted," or that a child is an “adopted child” because after adoption, he or she is a child in his or her family.

We also like to say that “we are a family formed through adoption.” 

We say that a child who was adopted has birthparents and forever parents. Birthparents are the people who are biologically related to a child who was adopted. Birthparents are not the “real” parents.  In fact, the “real” parents are the parents who take care of their child every day, whether he or she was adopted into their family or born into their family.

We say that birthparents “make an adoption plan” for their child to join a forever family. Birthparents do not “give up” their child. Birthparents make responsible, grown up decisions on a child’s behalf. Forever parents make decisions for a child as soon as he or she joins their family.

We say that a child “was born” in a specific country, state, or city and that he or she “is from” where he or she lives with his or her family. So, if a child was born in Alaska, we say that “he or she was born in Alaska,” and that “he or she is from New York City,” like most of us are from New York City. People can claim more than one place as their own.

We say that we are parents, not adoptive parents.

We say that we have children, not adopted children.

We say that we are families, not adoptive families.

If you have questions about adoption language or would like more information, please contact Anshu Wahi, Director of Diversity and Community, (212) 875-4717.