Our society has come a long way in the past few decades when it comes to how we talk about adoption. Gone are the days of language like “baby up for adoption,” which can be considered insensitive or even dismissive to those involved with the process. But why is this phrase offensive and where did it originate from? We hope to answer that question and provide further context around this important subject matter so that we can all have a better understanding of how best to respond when discussing adoption in our daily lives.

1. What Is the Origin of the Phrase “Baby Up For Adoption”?

The phrase “baby up for adoption” is a common expression used to describe a baby who is available for adoption. But have you ever wondered where this phrase originated? The use of “up” in the phrase can be traced back to Old English when it had the connotation of “raising” or “lifting.” However, the specific use of “baby up” for adoption appears to have come more recently, possibly in the early 20th century, when adoption became a more formalized process in the United States. While the exact origins of the phrase may be uncertain, what is certain is that it has become a widely recognized expression in our society today.

2. Why We No Longer Say “Baby Up for Adoption”

The phrase “baby up for adoption” has fallen out of use in recent years for a number of reasons. For one, it implies that giving a child up for adoption is an easy decision when in reality it can be an incredibly difficult choice. Additionally, it reduces the child to an object that can be “given away,” rather than recognizing them as a human being with a unique identity and needs. Language is powerful, and the way we talk about adoption matters. Instead of using “baby up,” many people now opt for phrases like “placing a child for adoption” or “making an adoption plan.” These alternatives honor the complexity of the decision while acknowledging the agency and humanity of the child and birth parents involved.

3. The Impact of Changing Language on Adoption Culture

The world is constantly evolving, and with it, language is changing too. This in turn affects the way we interact and communicate with one another, as well as the way we approach societal issues. Adoption culture is one such issue that has been impacted by changing language. The adoption process has always been emotionally challenging, and the terminology used to talk about it can have a significant impact on those involved. Some words commonly used in the past, such as “giving up for adoption” or “real parents,” can carry negative connotations. By changing our language and replacing them with more neutral and positive terms like “placing for adoption” and “birth parents,” we can help support and foster a more compassionate and respectful adoption culture.


4. How to Respectfully Refer to a Child in an Adoption

In an adoption situation, it’s important to use respectful language when referring to a child. Instead of using the phrase “give a baby up for adoption,” try saying “making an adoption plan” or “placing a child for adoption.” These phrases acknowledge the thought and care that goes into the decision to pursue adoption and shows respect for both the birth parents and the child. Remember, adoption is a complex and emotional process, and using the right language goes a long way in honoring everyone involved.

5. How to Learn More About Adoption and Support Expectant Parents Considering It

Adoption can be a beautiful way to expand your family, but it’s important to educate yourself on the process and understand the needs of expectant parents. One way to learn more about adoption is to connect with organizations that provide support to both adoptive families and expectant parents. These organizations can offer guidance on the different types of adoption, legal requirements, and the emotional aspect of the process. Additionally, if you’re interested in supporting expectant parents who are considering adoption, there are many resources available. From counseling services to financial assistance, these organizations are dedicated to helping both birth parents and adoptive parents navigate the journey of giving a baby up for adoption.

All in all, changing the way we talk about adoption has been a positive development and a better reflection of reality. Adoption is an incredibly complex issue that can’t be described in simplistic words or phrases. We must use language that demonstrates respect for both the adoptive and birth parents, as well as the child involved in the situation. Words like “adoptee” and “expectant parent” are more respectful and accurate terms for those talking about adoption. Talking about adoption differently helps change our culture’s perception of it, becoming more accepting and understanding.