words that trip me up

after all this time as an adoptive parent, there are still some words or phrases that trip me up or that I just don’t like.  For instance:

“firstborn” — is Gabriel my “firstborn” even if he wasn’t born to me?  My “eldest” yes, but my firstborn?

“offspring” — is Gabriel my “offspring” if he didn’t spring out of me?

“progeny” / “begat” / etc.  — see above, more or less…


words that make me uncomfortable:

“nurse” (not as in the profession, but as in “to breastfeed”)– oddly, “breastfeed” doesn’t bother me, but “nurse” does.  not sure if this is adoption/infertility related or just a me thing.  can’t remember how I felt about the word before infertility diagnosis.

[can’t seem to remember the other “ick” words related here, but I’ll continue to update this list as I think of them.]


a story for you:

One day, I was marveling about how my son had just, on his own, come up with the “Old MacDonald” permutation, “Old MacDonald had my mom” which I had also sung as a youngster.  I chuckled to myself and thought, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!” and immediately followed that thought with, “oh crap.  is that another one of those phrases that will now trip me up?”  After more thought, I decided that actually THIS metaphor is pretty close to perfect since modern apple trees rely on grafting to produce fruit.  After all, isn’t adoption sort of like grafting onto our family trees?

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Heidi on 10.21.13 at 2:59 pm

I find myself using vague and generic language when talking with people I don’t know if I don’t feel like mentioning adoption. A luxury that not every adoptive family can take. One might get more unwanted attention by using the word “begat,” though.

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