A Universal Adoption Translator: It’s About Them

When an adoptee/adoption activist argues adoption with those who are not adopted, the language barriers can be considerable. We’ve already seen that “I’m sorry you had a bad experience” translates roughly to “Shut up,” but carries nuances like “Let’s change the subject” and “My child will not turn out like you.”

There’s no real Adopto-English translator. But happily for you monolinguists, there is a general rule:

In discussions on adoption, no matter what party is named, it is the adoptive parents (or prospective adoptive parents) who are meant.


“Best interests of the child”=Wishes and dreams of the APs/PAPs

“If records are opened, domestic first mothers will quit surrending their children”=If records are opened, domestic PAPs *will decline American children.

Corollary: If, in a discussion about adoption, no party to adoption is specified, the APs or PAPs are meant. Examples:

“The only home [the child being fought over] has ever known” is the adoptive parents’ home, whether the child has lived there for years or hours.

In popular media, the phrase “adoption scam” will always refer to a deception in which PAPs lose money. It will never refer to a deception in which a first family loses a child or an adoptee is ripped off by a fake search agency or a first mother has an open adoption slam shut in her face or any other imaginable circumstance.

Adoptees in the news are referred to by the names given them by their adoptive families.

Only adoptive parents are socially permitted to give fundraisers to meet their child-acquiring costs. (Regular parents have to wait until their children become deathly ill.)

See how easy? Add your examples in the comments! (-:

*and go international, fearing interference from the original families.



Filed under Stop Saying That, Those Wacky PAPs

4 responses to “A Universal Adoption Translator: It’s About Them

  1. I’m particularly fond of that recent example “She’s American” to describe a child adopted from China.Once any child from anywhere is adopted by American adopters they have “come home” and are American it seems.Yes we know that these days they are guaranteed new nationality unlike those adoptees of yesteryear still in limbo.

  2. Naturally Snark. I also love ‘educated’ when it means ‘you’ll keep taking whatever crap we throw at you’.

  3. Pingback: More Questions About Adoptive Parents Searching On Behalf Of Their Adoptees « Joy’s Division

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