September 27th, 2007
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As an expectant mother considering adoption, you may be seeing some different terminology used as you are researching. Today, we’ll explore the differences in some of those.

Birthmother/Placing Mother
You may be reading letters addressed “dear birthmother,” looking at areas on agency websites that say “for birthmothers,” and hear the word birthmother used in regards to you. It might all be a little confusing.

Are you a birthmother? No, not yet! And you may not become one at all if you do not follow through with an adoption plan.

Technically, you do not become a birthmother until you sign the relinquishment papers terminating your parental rights. Until that moment, you are simply a good mother or a good expectant mother considering the adoption option for her child.


Placing mother is a newer term or at least it is newer to me. I’ve only started to hear this term in the past year or so. I think it has a lot of the same connotations and implications as the term birthmother, implying that you are definitely placing your child for adoption, when yet you still may be very much in the considering stages.

A positive thing that I am noticing though is the more we speak out about this the more people are beginning to make changes and call expectant mothers just what they are, expectant mothers.

Crisis Pregnancy/Unplanned Pregnancy
I know that you have probably seen these words a lot in your research. Which one do you prefer?

Personally speaking, I prefer unplanned pregnancy over crisis pregnancy. In my opinion, crisis pregnancy sounds very negative and dramatic; although in some instances I’m sure becoming pregnant could throw a person into crisis mode. In choosing between the two terms, crisis pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy, I prefer unplanned pregnancy.

More Posts about Adoption Terminology:

Terminology and Crisis Pregnancy
Adoption Terms and Lingo
Birthmother and it’s Many Variations

One Response to “Terminology”

  1. Sunbonnet Sue says:

    The term expectant mother is a huge improvement over birth mother. After all, every mother who gives birth is a birth mother! Making the switch is challenging to me personally tho, old habits die hard. Well worth the effort, if it will assist a young person in any way. Same with the unplanned vs. crisis term. Unplanned is a much less disparaging view.

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