“Words are powerful,” writes Michelle Madrid-Branch. She should know. As a child in the foster care system she was labeled as “difficult to place,” and that phrase was a burden she carried with her for years. In the foster care system, children who are older, from minority groups, in sibling groups, or disabled are described as “difficult to place.”
This label only makes things more difficult for these children, argues Madrid-Branch, who says that we need to change our language surrounding these children to help them find the loving homes they deserve.
She offers some alternatives . . . “Disabled only means a child is gifted in unique and dynamic ways; ethnic means a child has a rich and diverse story to share; and over four years of age only means that you may have missed out on the first four years, but — oh — won’t you be blessed in the years ahead. And, as for sibling groups, perhaps you just might experience more love than if you only adopted one.”