Words are powerful, and the ones we choose to use can hurt or help the people we speak to. Sandra Bullock recently opened up about an issue she has with the term “adoptive child.” Sandra has adopted two children, and she loves them both the same. She explained how people often refer to them as her adoptive children, and she feels that it has a negative impact on them.
She wants people to realize that her children are just her children, and that’s how they should be referred to.
She loves both of them the same, and each one has their own personality. They don’t need to constantly be reminded of it. She explained:
“Look: I’m all for Republican, Democrat, whatever. But don’t talk to me about what I can or can’t do with my body until you’ve taken care of every child who doesn’t have a home or is neglected or abused.”
Sandra also got right to the point. She asked:
“Why do we even feel it’s necessary to use the term ‘adopted child’”?
She thought about her children and how many times they have heard someone say that.
She knows there are other children out there who hear it on a regular basis, as well. She wants people to know that they don’t need to all their children anything other than children. She explained:
“It makes me teary-eyed [wells up]. Let’s all just refer to these kids as ‘our kids.’ Don’t say, ‘my adopted child.’ No one calls their kid their ‘IVF child’ or their ‘Oh, shit, I went to a bar and got knocked-up child.’ Let’s just say, ‘our children.'”
Of course, most people don’t mean anything negative when they said it, but they don’t realize how bad it can sound.
Especially to the parents and children. It almost seems like the person is pointing out that these children aren’t actual children and are different and should be treated differently because they are adopted. That’s just not right.
Bullock isn’t the only person who has a problem with this term.
Writer Laura Willard explored this subject in 2015 in the article, “9 things this adoptive mom would like everyone to know.” In the piece, she talked about how people think they can treat parents and children differently if there is an adoption. She explained that for most people, it’s a simple misunderstanding, but that doesn’t make it OK.
“It’s a wording issue for most adults. But for kids who are struggling with attachment or working to feel secure in their families, those words matter. When you ask this in front of kids who were adopted, you might be shaking an already unstable foundation the family has worked hard to build.”
Both Williard and Bullock feel like these terms devalue their relationships with their children and make them seem out of the ordinary.
They want everyone to know that even though their children are adopted, they are still their children and they love them just the same as parents who give birth to their kids.
“If a traditional home is one that is filled with lots of love and poop jokes, no sleep, schedule books filled with more kids’ social events than adults’ and lots of yelling over who touched who first … then I have a very traditional family.”[/caption]
We could all be more careful about the words we use when we refer to people, especially children.
Sometimes, the most common identifiers can be hurtful when we don’t mean them to be or when we don’t understand how they make the other person feel.
Children that are adopted have a hard enough time trying to fit in and feel comfortable in their families. When they finally make that transition, they don’t need to be reminded that they are adopted every time their parents have a conversation with another parent. It’s time to be more respectful and considerate of their feelings.
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