Why Language Matters



The watering down of the English language is a growing trend in society today. Our language is continually evolving (and not always for the better). The word adopt is one of these casualties. For years it has been trivialized by advertisers, charities, and fundraisers, so much so, that when we hear the word “adopt” it is often associated with pet rescues. As a matter of fact when you type the word adopt into a Google search, “adopt a pet” is the first option listed. Adopt a child is 4th on that list.

We can adopt pets, wild animals, trees, soldiers, stars, highways, potholes and even entire families during the holiday season. Using “adopt-a-fill in the blank” to promote a fundraiser or program, misuses a very special and powerful word, and adds to the public’s misconceptions about adoption. It also does a disservice to adoptive families everywhere.

Adoption is permanent. It is a full and final legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities and creates a sacred, legal, and everlasting bond between a child and parent. When a child is adopted, he or she becomes a permanent part of a family. In honor of adoptive families everywhere, let us use the word adopt as it was intended. The term “sponsor-a-fill in the blank” is an ideal alternative and successfully conveys to donors and volunteers that a program needs support.

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