"Adoptee" v. "Adopted person". Does it matter what we are called?

"Adoptee" is now generally considered to be the less acceptable substitute label for the words "adopted person," "adopted adult," "adopted child" or "adopted teenager." (In many cases, the word "adopted" is an unnecessary descriptive adjunct, as in a newspaper article describing a public figure and his two daughters and "adopted son.") The word "adoptee" is considered negative by many adoption professionals because it defines a person's entire existence around the issue of adoption, which is only one among many factors affecting an individual. It may also create the impression of a great degree of differentiation between "adoptees" and "nonadoptees," even though an adopted person is the lawful child of adoptive parents with the same rights and privileges as any child born to them.

Here is the link. http://encyclopedia.adoption.com/entry/adoptee-v-a...

What are your thoughts on this? Does it matter what we are called? I mean to me either saying means the same.



I just came across this article on a website. I was just curious on people's thoughts. I wasn't getting worked up over it. Personally both terms mean the same to me..that a person is adopted.

Update 2:

---by the way the above paragraph was copied off a website. It in no way reflects on how i feel

18 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I personally prefer the term ADOPTEE.

    And since I found out that the NCFA (who is probably the largest pro-adoption lobby group in the USA) has been trying to 'change' adoption language so that it suits THEM - I'm even more for the term. (they are the ones that don't want us to be called adoptee)

    As an adoptee - I think that I should be able to call myself whatever I please.

    Google NCFA - and see what lists they make to put us and 'birth' parents in our place.

    A place where we are expected to be silent.

    I won't be silenced.

    I don't think my entire being becomes a certain way because of a 'label' - but to think that my adopted-ness stops straight after the papers are signed - is a little ridiculous!

    Adoptees have different degrees of special needs at various stages of their lives. (they need a great deal of empathy and care for the events that have happened in their lives - they are not 'blank slates' that won't remember what has gone on - most know that they are with people that they were not born to)

    For those that imply that this is incorrect - they are often worrying more about their own needs - than about the needs of the child.

    Psychological scars aren't as easy to see as physical ones.

    Adoptees have psychological scars that need caring for.

    Edited to add - I get reminded more as an adult that I am in fact an adoptee - for every time I go to a doctor - and they ask for family medical history - I have to say I'm adopted - and when people comment on my kids hair colour or eye colour - they ask where certain feature come from in the family - again I can't answer that - as I don't know.

    Many different issues come up throughout life - so being adopted - again - does not end when the papers are signed. There are many life long implications.

    Source(s): Me = adoptee.
  • 1 decade ago

    I personally prefer the term ADOPTEE. I have never thought twice about it. The term "adopted person" just sounds.... well... kinda weird to me. Everyone has their own personal views as to why they want to be called either or and no matter how you say it, somebody out there will be offended one way or another. Adoption and some of the subjects that go along with it are no doubt, VERY, VERY DELICATE SUBJECTS. But at the same time, some are, I feel, a little hypersensitive when it comes to this subject. I guess perhaps due to their life experiences. I don't feel that either label is less validating, one is just more direct and to the point.

    Source(s): Adult adoptee who has had children and adopted.
  • 1 decade ago

    I'm not adopted, but I would like to say what I think.

    I think the word "adoptee" is fine when you're talking about adoption. I don't think anyone needs to be introduced as "Here is Jan, the adoptee" or anything like that in other circumstances. However, when discussing adoption, there are the relinquishers, adopters, and adoptees... it's just grammar.

    It would be wonderful if no one ever felt the need to say the "adopted son" or "adopted daughter" or things like that. However, I am very guilty of it myself. Growing up I had two adopted brothers, and whenever I introduced them, I made very sure that people knew they were my ADOPTED brothers. I think, however, that this was due to their particular situation. Both my brothers were mentally retarded, but not from downs syndrome or anything like that, they were mentally retarded because they had severe Fetal Alchohol Syndrome. Anytime anyone met them, they definitely acted very differently. Espescially when you're a kid, you have to say "Oh, that's because they have MR".... then people ask what that is, and you say "they're retarded" and then kids as "why"... and so on. It really wouldn't be fair to let people think that our mother (my biological, they're adoptive) had been so irresponsible as to harm her children by drinking to oblivion with them in the womb. So.. they are my "adopted" brothers - and obviously often even my parent's "adoped" sons. It's sad... but that's the way it is.

    On the other hand, my best friend had a brother who was a adopted, and I never even knew until I got old enough to figure out there wasn't enough time between their birthdays. He was a perfectly normal kid, so his adoption was never even brought up. It wasn't a secret, it just wasn't relevant.

    Because of this, as I've gotten older I have made a more calculated effort not to call my brothers "adopted" unless I get into having to explain their medical situation.

    On a side note - both my "adopted" brothers (here I have to specify again because I have three others that were biological) have the same biological parents. They are actually the third and fifth child born to that couple. Because of the specific situations (abuse/foster care), they never lived together before we adopted them. The older one was 3 and a half when he was adopted, an the younger one was not quite two. They have both known they were adopted from day 1, and we often would visit they one other biological brother we could track down. The older of the pair has never shown the slightest unhappiness about being adopted, or even curiousity about who his biological parents were. The younger of the pair has obsessed about it pretty much since he started talking. I guess that just goes to show that no two people (even those with both sets of parents shared) feel the same way about being adopted.

  • Lillie
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    It's 6 of one, half dozen of the other.

    But unlike the one answer above, no adoption is not a "one time event", it is something that goes on for the rest of our lives, I will ALWAYS be adopted, this is a fact of my life which will never change. But whether I say I am an adoptee or an adopted adult or an adopted person, it all boils down to the fact that I'm a branch that's grafted on to a different tree.

    Some people don't like certain terms, and to each her/his own, we should all try to respect each others' thoughts on this, most definitely (though that can get pretty hard, admittedly) but this is a great question with no real clear-cut answer.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    I am accustomed to saying "adopee" though I'm not going to get really worked up about either way. I think "adopted person" sounds odd to my ears. I would never refer to myself that way. Indeed, it sounds to me as a label someone else would use to describe me, rather than something I would expect another adoptee to use.

    As for the difference, unfortunately, adoptees don't have the same rights as nonadoptees, since we do not have access (in most states) to the birth certificate that was created upon our birth. We do not have access to our heritage. The law does treat us differently. And some anti-adoptee groups treat us as potential criminals/harassers/stalkers, etc.

    I do know what you mean, but the trauma of losing our first families is often ignored by the adoption system and its supporters. If using the term "adoptee" highlights those differences between us and those raised by their birth parents, then so much the better.

    Edited to Add: The more I think about this, the more I think "adoptee" is better. "Adopted person" suggests a person with a quality. "I have been adopted." But "adoptee" better represents reality... Something has been DONE TO ME. I am the recipient of some event or action. I was taken from one parent and given to other adults. Whether this is right or wrong, it was something I had no choice in, something I had no voice in. I was acted upon. I did not acquire a quality, I had something done to me. Hence, I am an an ADOPTEE.

    Source(s): Adult adoptee
  • 1 decade ago

    Personally, I prefer adoptee, you know adoption was something that happened to me, for some reason, "adopted person" makes me feel like I was adopted AS a person, as though I am an "as if" person, when really I am a person adopted or not.

    Either way it doesn't get me too upset.

  • Arlene
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Messianic Jews believe in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They also believe in the coming of the Messiah as prophesied in the Old Testament. They just happen to believe that Jesus, a Jew was the Messiah. Read Isaiah 53; Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2;

  • 1 decade ago

    Healing, I believe it is a personal choice. I would never think to say "I am the biological daughter of my parents" so I would never say this is my "adopted son". The only time for me as an adoptive parent that it even comes up is 1) obviously in this category of Y!A and trying to clarify things, 2) medical issues for my son because of his genetic disorder - and doctors automatically assume that we have it also, and 3) during conversations with friends about childbirth. Other than that, he is my son - no need to label him. For this board, I am a Adoptive Parent, but I don't like that label either because it sounds like I am looking for a pat on the back. I am no different than other parent who cares for their child except that I did not give birth to him. I'm still his mom and that is what really matters to me.

    However, I do hear what you are saying as you are the person directly involved. I personally prefer the word "adoptee" rather than "adopted person" but that's my own personal feeling. As an adoptee or adopted person, I think you need to make a decision as to what is better to you - if you even want to label things. To me, people are people. They should not be labeled by a name society has decided for them. We've seen it before with racially motivated names - and it was wrong then also. It just took us awhile to realize that as a society.

    I guess in general that just as each adoption is unique, so is the decision on how to refer to it, or what name to use. I don't think I helped much, but I always admire the way you look at things, so I wanted to throw my thoughts in there for you.

    Take care.

    Source(s): Blessed to be a Mother thru what we consider to be the miracle of adoption.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I like "adoptee" because it just plain takes less time to say. But I don't find "adopted person" insulting. I do find being referred to as an "adopted child" annoying, though--I'm 42 years old!

  • 1 decade ago

    i think that it should be called what it is, "a person who will never be allowed to know who they are or where they come from. someone who is denied all their basic civil rights."

    i am not a "biological" parent / mother. i am a first / natural mother. if it were not for the love, care and nurturing that i provided, there wouldn't be a child. if i had had some support and not been brainwashed into believing that a 2 parent home was "better" (they are now divorced), i would have kept my daughter. i wonder if i can get my daughter back for false advertisement / breech of contract? not to mention it was an "open" adoption, which they have not upheld.

    when the AP's were signing the divorce papers, i wonder how many people lined up and offered a better, more "stable" home? should i have? i am married now and very stable.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.