Adoption Terminology

Taken from the introduction to Fraud on the Court: One Adoptee’s Fight to Reclaim His Identity



There is much discussion within the adoption community as to the most appropriate terminology to use when referring to the parents who have given life to a child, but are not the parents who are raising that child.

The same debate also surrounds the terminology used to describe the transfer of a child’s care from one set of legal parents to another.

Throughout this book we use the term “birth mother” to refer to the mother of origin, and the term “relinquishment” to describe the act of giving a child to someone else to raise in an adoptive environment.

These terms do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors on the matter. They are simply the most widely recognizable terms in use at this time, and we wish to reach as broad an audience as possible with the message of our book.

We encourage all interested readers to look up more on the nature of this debate by performing a simple internet search or by visiting some of the many forums dedicated to adoption issues.

Language is a powerful tool for framing our perception of ourselves and our world. While the issue of adoption language is far from settled, we support ongoing honest and open discussion that will lead to a better understanding for all involved.

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