"Adoption" Language at Christmastime

by Christina Hite

One of the things we love about our village is your desire to jump in and come alongside families in our community. We see you showing up in big ways, especially during the Christmas season. Isn’t there just something about the holidays that makes us want to reach out?

Many of us do this by purchasing gifts for a specific child or family, which you may have heard referred to as “adopting a family or child for Christmas”. While we wholeheartedly believe it’s important to create a village of support for kids and families (no one can do it alone!), we think it’s equally important to examine the language we use when we’re giving.

We LOVE the generosity of our community and the heart behind this type of Christmas giving, so we wanted to shed some light on why “adoption” isn’t our favorite term for holiday giving.

For adoptees and their families, “adoption” is an especially important term because it means permanence. It’s the final step on one of the many paths our kids and families walk together, and it means forever. Adoption isn’t a seasonal act or a once-a-year outreach. Adoption is all day, everyday. It is a long-lasting commitment to connection and family.

So when we choose words to describe our desires to love our neighbors, let’s reach for words that are more accurate. Around our village, we appreciate phrases like, “Can we sponsor some Christmas gifts for a family?” or “We’d love to come alongside a specific family during this season. Is there a family who could use some gifts or tangible items this Christmas?”

When organizing a “gift-giving program” through an organization, we like to keep it simple — “Let’s come together to provide gifts for some families in our community who are vulnerable this season. Sign up to come alongside a specific family to shop from their wish list.”

We hope this shift in language can help us honor adoptees and their families, while still making a big difference in our communities!

And look for more information this holiday season about our “Christmas Beyond the Toys” campaign. It’s one of our favorite ways to come alongside caregivers during this season of giving.