On hospital white boards around the country and deep within adoptee files is the acronym BUFA. “Baby Up For Adoption” This acronym is used to describe a patient who is seeking medical care and is considering adoption.
In the patient’s pre-natal medical records, it’s listed where you would put a “complication”, where it says she has high blood pressure or her family history of diabetes, or AMA “Advanced Maternal Age.” When mom is admitted onto the labor floor, “BUFA” is listed next to her name on the active labor board. When a medical provider comes to take care of her, he/she would know that the patient is considering adoption, before walking into the room.
I remember when I first learned of this acronym, I was in Kokomo, IN. I was outside the mom’s room and I noticed a sign outside her door that said BUFA. I asked her nurse what it meant, and she looked around and said quickly and quietly, “It means she’s putting her baby up for adoption.” I got this feeling in my gut, this feeling of what’s wrong with her choice. Her and I have been discussing this option for months. She has gone over and over why she feels she can’t bring her twin babies home. I felt shame myself, as I was part of her plan.
Debbie had nothing to be ashamed of. Debbie was 42 and had 3 babies at home she was raising with her husband. Their twin girls were 2 and they had a 1-year-old son. She said another set of twins would kill her and/or her marriage. I know the women that have this acronym next their names would feel so sad if/when they see it! So why do we use this outdated label? Because the word ADOPTION is so shameful? Because if someone knew, she would be JUDGED? Her adoption plan is a SECRET?
These are the things nurses and doctors have said over the years.
They use BUFA to protect their patient, this way they know what “language to use” before the encounter. Whatever the reason, I challenge you all to come up with something else. Some professionals use “Baby Blessing”.
I am not sure why we can’t just use ADOPTION?
By 2021, all medical professionals should be using respectful, neutral “language” no matter what the patient is considering. No shaming, no judging, no talking into or out of anything. Call it what it is.
It’s not good, it’s not bad, IT JUST IS. ADOPTION.
Since this article was written and awaiting to be posted: The post placement team got an inquiry from one of the twins that Debbie delivered and placed for adoption. We supported her reunion with her biological mother. This adoptee does not feel that she was given up, she stated “I was given the best life and I cannot wait to share that with my birth mom, and see who and where I came from!”