Monday, September 8, 2008

Adoption in the media

I receive a lot of "free" magazines but I rarely take the time to read them. My Mom gives me her People magazines when she's finished and I confess - I ALWAYS read them. I'm not sure why. There's usually nothing real educational in there. Tonight it "hit" me that People has written a lot of articles lately about adoption. First it was Brad and Angelina. Their clan comes from all over the world - but they're a family. It's beautiful to me.

This week in the September 8th edition there's an article about Sheryl Crow and her son Wyatt. Just a few years ago this same magazine would have said "Sheryl Crow and her adopted son, Wyatt". It's a pet peeve of mine when someone says "These are David and Lisa's sons, Kendall & Cameron and their adopted daughter, Caroline." I'm sure most people have no idea that it bugs me. Why can't people just say, "These are their kids - Kendall, Cameron and Caroline"? But the writers at People magazine are beginning to "get it" on some level.

But in the same issue there's an article on comedian Jay Thomas and the language the writer uses drives me nuts. "As a young man, comedian Jay Thomas put his baby boy up for adoption." I'd much rather them say , "placed his baby boy for adoption" or "made an adoption plan." Then again, a year or so ago it probably would have read "gave his baby boy up for adoption." which irritates me even more! It says that birthparents just give up their children. I highly doubt that's the case with most adoptions.

I'm guessing that noone has ever shared positive adoption language with these writers. Noone has ever shared it with most of you either. I wonder how many times I've made a comment that was hurtful and I never even knew it. So, in the weeks to come we'd love to share some of our insights on adoption and maybe we'll even share some positive adoption language.

I hope you'll check back for posts from our newest contributor, Rebecca. She and her husband adopted their precious son domestically and Rebecca has some great insight on birthfamilies and fears related to adopting domestically (from the U.S.).

Oh - on a positive note - People Magazine got it right when they quoted Jay Thomas' son who has recently been reunited with his birthfather:

"Eventually they came up with words to describe their unique bond.....

"He (Jay) started saying "This is my oldest son" and I would say "This is my biological father."

Still, Harding (the son) reserves the name "Dad" for Larry Harding, the man who raised him.

"No one can ever replace my dad."

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