How careful are you in the words that you use? How careful are the people around you in the words they choose? Are there any words or phrases that make you uncomfortable? That are overused until they lose their meaning?
There are many words used when talking about adoption.
There are words that describe the process. Words that describe the emotions. Words that describe all the people involved. Much has been said and written about the correct terminology. This is NOT one of those lectures or pleas.
This post has to do with a small descriptive word of only four letters. It is used so frequently most people do not even realize they are saying it or how it might sound to the other person in the conversation.
Here are the four little letters… J-U-S-T. Just. As in, “If you can’t take care of your baby, just give it up for adoption.” Or “If you can’t get pregnant, just adopt a kid.” Just.
Making the decision to place a baby for adoption is emotional. It is gut wrenchingly difficult. It is not done without thought, care, or information. The emotional cost in placing a child for adoption is often life-long. There is no just about it.
Likewise, the decision to adopt a baby or child is emotional. For families experiencing infertility, just adopting involves letting go of the dream of having a biological connection to a child. For all families hoping to adopt, there is a lengthy process of background checks, home visits, and questions about motives. Adoptive families sometimes feel as though this process is intrusive and unfair. There is no just about it.
What can you say instead? Is there a replacement for just?
How about “I care about you. Can I offer any suggestions?” Or “If you need to talk, I’m ready to listen?”
And if you can’t think of anything at all to say, just don’t say anything. Be a presence. Show your love. That will always be appreciated.