Labels

"Truth is generally the best vindication against slander” – Abraham Lincoln

Adam briefly addressed language several times during the conference. At one point, when one vitriolic clearly pro adoption and pro adopter rights creature was presenting, he had to get a bit more firm.

Sure, the "b" word was used at the conference. For many its the only word they know and they dont understand that some use it harshly and even still that many mothers are offended by the term. Many are willing to learn and understand and several adjusted their language and even more apologized after the fact if they were at all offensive. Again, it was familiarity not slander or marginalizing.

I myself have never been hugely set off by the birth mother word. I dont use it and I prefer not to have my sisters referred to that way. I also agree that language shapes attitudes and values. I agree with attempting to cease the slanderous use BUT I dont think its our biggest battle to fight in adoption reform and I become discouraged when others get stuck there.

Others agree with me and we had excellent dialogue on the topic at the conference.  The best analogy I heard was comparing it to the civil rights movement.

Would african americans have felt better if those black bathrooms were instead labeled and called "African American"? Was that their only issue? Did they object to the segregation and the lack of respect or did they only react to the words? Was it the labels applied to the black sections that were offensive or the practices that caused the labels and the racism?  If we stopped using the "N" word but switched out to African American but still kept the back of the bus bullshit and separate schools and  bathrooms would that have solved all problems?

One of my favorite quotes is by Eleanor Roosevelt. It goes something like this:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

That applies to birthmother, barfmother, birfmudder and so on.  When presented by individuals with the BM mother attitude, I dont let them get to me. Their attitude is a reflection of THEM not me.

As always, labels are for cans.

I am my daughters mother.

Its that simple.

Did I raise her? No.

But her adoptive mother did not give birth to her either.

We are both  mothers.

1 Thought.

  1. We had an interesting discussion about first/birth parent at our panel. One woman preferred the use of the word “birth mother” when speaking of her experience and was offended at the idea that people would dictate what she would call herself (we were talking some about the panelists’ use of the term “first mom” and why we used it) and we basically agreed people should call themselves what they want to call themselves. But I was kinda surprised that first mom wasn’t a known term in that room — color me naive.

Comments are closed.