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Friday, July 29, 2011

Reverse Terminology

I had an interesting experience at the lake a couple weeks back.  I was talking to a friend about his wife's adult-adoptee relationship with her birth family.  He was saying how she and her birth mother are extremely close and talk on the phone almost every day.  How they love to spend time together now that they've been reunited.  It was making me feel kind of melancholy--just thinking about our son and how he may likely never have that experience.  Plus, if I'm being honest, I was also thinking about the adoptive mom and what her feelings would be about her grown daughter having such a close relationship with her birth mom.  Then, in what was an interesting reversal of terms, my friend said, "Of course she's still really close to her real parents too--you know, the ones who raised her."  I thought it was kind of funny that he used the words, "real parents" to describe adoptive parents since there is such a stigma about that in the adoption world.  Oftentimes strangers will ask, unwittingly, about our son's "real parents."  I want to (and sometimes do) point out that we are right here--as real as can be, living life with our son day in and day out.  They don't really mean anything by incorrectly using the term "real parents," they just want to know our story and don't really know how to ask.  I do keep that in mind when such conversations arise, but I also think it's appropriate to do a little PAL (positive adoption language) education sometimes too.


8 comments:

M's mama said...

yay for loving perspectives from the other side of the street!

Debbie said...

What a great story to hear. I hope Isabel has such a close relationship with her birthmom when she's older.

Meg said...

So funny to see a reversal like that...I always hear it the other way, too...Even my brother used this the other day! I was talking about doing something to commemorate all our children some day (we were actually talking about tattoos haha) and he said "for your real children or the adopted ones too?" I know he meant NO harm by it, and can't wait to be an uncle, but I said the same thing- "Well, they will all be real, in the flesh, right in front of you, so I am not sure what you mean by real, but yes anything I did would be for ALL our children." (Also highlights the fact our family is still hanging onto hope for bio children for us, which has not been ruled out, but they somehow feel we won't be "complete" without it haha)

Jamie said...

beautiful mel ;) this makes me happy

Chrissie said...

Thanks for sharing x

Evergreen said...

That's cool. Nice to hear it expressed that way. :-)

J.A l i c e said...

That's really cool:)

Food For Thought said...

So called "birth" parents are real parents, too. They are no less of a parent than an adoptive parent. How would you like to carry a child for nine months, give birth and then be told because you didn't keep your child that you're not a real parent? Seriously. Think about that.