Definitions in adoption and the language used to describe them differ depending on the role of the person in the adoption triad (birth parent, adoptive parent, or adopted person) and their perspective. The use of language in adoption is complex and sensitive. What is considered "positive" by one party may seem offensive to another. In this section find resources linking to definitions and the use of language in adoption.
Includes commonly held definitions for terms that can be found on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website.
How Biased Language Tears Families Apart
Presents the perspective that language used when talking about adoption should not be biased in favor of adoption but should incorporate the perspectives of all adoption triad members.
Positive Adoption Language
Adoptive Families Magazine
Lists suggested vocabulary and discusses the importance of positive adoption language.
Speaking Positively: Using Respectful Adoption Language (PDF - 15 KB)
Perspectives Press, Inc.
Provides a discussion of respectful adoption language.