Adoption Language and Use of the Word “Birthmother”

adoption language and the word birth motherMy Choice to Use the Word “Birthmother

I did not choose this definition for myself. I was given, taught, introduced to this word by the adoption agency I had gone to. I went into adoption knowing I would come out as a birthmother, but I did not know the history of the word at all.

I have learned the history. I do not approve of the creation of the word birthmother. I know it is separates mothers from their children.

In the past, I have strongly supported the position of the word “birthmother” being a socially unacceptable label given to us by the adoption industry. I have caused a ruckus and fought the right of others to use this term which you can read about, in part, here: Let’s Discuss the Birthmother Disaster.

I have done the research on the Origins of the Word “Birthmother” and that research has continued over time.

I fully understand the reasoning why we, as the adoption community, and myself personally, should shy from the use of this term and educate others as to why no one wants to be called a birthmother. I completely respect the right of my fellow sisters to reject the term and to self identify with whatever wording they find most comfortable. If I had my druthers, I would drop all modifiers and simply be called what I am. I am a mother.

However, I follow the teachings of Google.

The use of adoption language is very important in terms of SEO. The purpose of this blog is to reach as many people who need it during their own adoption journeys. If we cannot get people the help they need when they search for it, then we cannot help them. We cannot determine, nor assume, their understanding of adoption language and the use of “proper terminology” especially when first beginning a search for adoption information. Google keyword research has clearly shown how people search and find adoption information online. This dictates that I use the word “birthmother” as that is what the overwhelming numbers of adoption searches use.

Otherwise I am preaching to the choir.

ETA: 2016;  I am happy to report that in early 2015, while conducting keyword research in preparation for my presentation at the American Adoption Congress Conference on SEO, I noticed that for the first time Google was ranking “birth mother” over the one word “birthmother” in searches. Whilethe public is a long way from dropping the identifying birth term completely, the simple separation is a sign that things are going in the right direction.

Accordingly, new posts and improvements on the website will reflect the separation of words. These changes will not be made all throughout the site however, as ten years of postings and thousands of instances where “birth mother” was typed make it an impossibility. We’re just going to have to deal.

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