Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Ok, so things don't usually get to me (or at least I don't write about them on the blog), but this morning's news got to me. They interviewed a woman who has two children through international adoption. One of the questions was why she & her husband chose international adoption and she spoke about how you can "get" a healthy infant... It's the word "get" that bothers me here. I assume this mom did not in any way intend this, but when I hear "get" about a child, it devalues the process, the miracle, of adoption. It sounds like a grocery store, or a good bargain. I am sure this mom loves her babies, and I am not really blaming her - it is really that there is a lack of good language to use about adoption. I mean, they call it "gotcha day" after all. (I'm not particularly fond of that either, but again don't blame people for using it - it is part of the adoption lexicon.) Am I alone in this bothering me? The idea of "getting" a child? What do you say when referring to how your child came to you?

I do have to give this mom credit though - the interviewer asked her what her response would be to people who say that there are so many kids who need homes here - why didn't she adopt domestically? She said, "Well, adopt them!" She went on to say that they had tried domestic, but it didn't work out, but I liked her bold answer.


  1. I agree, Stacie, "Get" is a hard word to hear when it's a child that you love, cherish and adore. Because of the lack of language for adoption it's difficult to explain how we are being "joined" with our little one too.

    Where do you guys live in St. Louis? We met at CHI during their Hague Convention meeting. We would love to get together with you guys. We had our 3 boys with us, remember? I love your blog and we are so happy the you and Kevin have your son. I'm still hoping to adopt from Ethiopia after Colombia!

  2. Yeah, language is difficult. I know people ask me "how long have you had her" I don't like the way that sounds either. I always say "she's been home almost 2 years" or something along those lines.

    I did read an awesome response to noisy questions. It was in reference to someone being continually asked "when are you getting your tubes tied" b/c she has 4 kids..she says "if it was any of your business, you would already know the answer" ha ha

  3. That's a great question. I'm interested to read what other responses you will get. As far as the "Gotcha day" thing, I guess I always looked at in a cute kinda 'gotcha' way, like when you're playing a game with your child and you finally 'get them' in your arms. Depending on how you think of it, it can be a very sweet way of saying that you are so happy to finally have them in your arms. I don't know if I will use the term...but I guess I can see both sides. :)

  4. Ya we struggle with this as well and sometimes we catch ourselves or other people saying things and it just doesn't sound right. The whole "get" thing...hmm thats hard. I know we are in the waiting process so it's a constent "When are you going to get your child." We took an adoption class back in January and they gave us a paper on Negative/Positive language. Because of this post I just grabed it out and put it on the fridge, it's a good reminder. The best alternative I could see on my paper would be to say "I can not wait to make contact and parent our child" or something along those lines......

    Good post!


    Uhhh I love Micah pictures....totally keeps Jeff and I going he's sooo cute!

  5. yep, the language is a challenge at times, and I even have caught myself saying stuff that I find annoying to hear! I wasn't sure at first re: the whole "gotcha day" stuff, but then I realized that I always am playing games with kids and saying "gotcha" or "I'm gonna get you.."; but, I totally "get" your point!

    I tried to be careful about my language when people would ask about "gettin' Mamush" by using the word travel a ton.

    It seems like as "ambassadors" for adoption we really need to be extra careful with our language. It sure is difficult at times, but these cutie pie faces make so many things crystal clear (its communicating thats the prob - as usual!!)

    Rant on!!! good points!

  6. I too hate the word "get." I try as often as a can to use the phrase "bring home." I like that better. i.e. "We chose international adoption and Ethiopia because our chances of bringing home a young infant were better than x country, etc." It is hard when it is still a topic that is not completely open...etc.

  7. Hmm....I have to say I don't like it either. "Get" kind of makes me think of something I go choose from the ice cream shop. This is not how I view adoption and a sweet little life. I am chosen by God to be blessed with a sweet child. I feel that we are blessed, honored, privleged, and humbled to become parents through adoption.

  8. I agree completely. I have always cringed at "gotcha" day, though I appreciate the other comments putting a cuter perspective on it. Whenever people ask when we got Sophie, I answer that "we met her on ... and we all got home on ... (it's only been 2 weeks, so I still use the days of the week :) I am also starting to be much more aware of even the word adopted - she is not adopted, she WAS adopted - it was a process (she was born via c-section, she is not a c-section!). It's funny - many of the typically annoying questions haven't bothered me yet - perhaps b/c I've viewed them as curiosity rather than rudeness, but it all comes down to who is asking. What I cannot stand though, is people trying to guess things about her father. Maybe I need to start asking if their father was black, related, etc, etc....

  9. Hello! I am just starting to research adoption and we have chosen to adopt in Ethiopia. I love your blog and I can appreciate where you are coming from. Inevitably people think because it is a private adoption that the child you are blessed with was "baught" in some way. You pray, you work hard to get papers signed and sealed, you devote your life to a dream, but people think there is a baby store in some country where you can "get" a child like a cabbage patch doll.

    I try to think of people just not knowing any better, because if they did, they would probably do or say things better than they are. I always look at it as an opportunity to challenge with gentle, wide-eyed questions the persons train of thought. As a teacher and semi-social activist, I think you are what you believe. Most people don't really think about what they believe or say.

    Nice to meet you!