Best Practices in Ethical Adoptions, part 2

In a recent post, I mused about what makes for an ethical adoption. I promised then to follow up with a post from a cross-triad discussion board.

When I posted this draft on this discussion board, I asked for help from other members to flesh it out. After all, I am just a tiny piece in the adoption mosaic. There were a few people who posted some suggestions, but I was surprised at the otherwise roaring silence from this historically clamorous group. Could it be that the loudest complainers would rather wail than work on issues? Ahhh, that’s for another post.

So, throwing it out once again, here is a working draft…feel free to chime in with your thoughts.

Ethics in Infant Adoption
Who we are: An online community representing

  • Adoptive parents
  • Birth/first parents
  • Adult adoptees

Our guiding principle: Since there are competing interests among members of the triad, we seek balance among these competing interest so that all parts of the triad are respected in fundamental ways.

Our goals:

  • Compassion and empathy among members of the triad.
  • Elimination of adoption coercion. Just as coercing a partner into marriage is void of integrity and not conducive to long-lasting relationship health, so is coercion in adoption. We recognize that coercive language and practices are harmful to all parties involved in adoption (first parents, adoptees and adoptive parents).
  • Prosecution of adoption scammers.
  • Education of the general public about the true faces of first parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees.
  • Adherence to Best Practices in adoption by agencies and other adoption professionals.
  • Integrity — integrating truth and informed choice in language, intentions and actions.
  • A uniform and reasonable period between birth and Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)
  • Access for adult adoptees to their original birth certificates. Such information on one’s own DNA is a fundamental right which affects one’s physical, emotional and mental health.

Best practices:
First parents

  • People in crisis pregnancies are considered “expectant parents” or simply “parents” until TPR is signed. Only after this occurs do they become birth or first parents.
  • Expectant parents considering adoption are presented with resources for parenting (WIC, etc).
  • Appropriate counseling helps people in crisis pregnancies to accurately envision both avenues open to them: parenting (and all available resources) and adoption.
  • An expectant mother considering adoption is given the opportunity to be paired with a first mother mentor, someone who has been through the process herself. This mentor serves as a volunteer. This community maintains a list of qualified (i.e. not having an adoption agenda) first parent volunteers.
  • Agency/professional provides ongoing grief counseling for up to two years after placement.

It is acknowledged that adoption is a loss for the child, a tribal severance from one’s clan. Adoption must be freely chosen by expectant parents, only when they deem it is a better option than parenting, taking into account issues of safety, security, finances, familial relationships, desire to parent, and other pertinent factors.

Pre-adoptive parents

  • No less than 1/3 of the total cost is due after placement.
  • Agency/professional supplies accurate statistics on number of placements, number of waiting couples, average wait times, and reclamations during a recent time period.
  • Agency/professional discourages matches prior to six weeks before due date.
  • Agency/professional provides grief counseling to pre-adoptive parents who have experienced infertility.


So now what? If you see there is a problem, want to be part of a solution?

3 thoughts on “Best Practices in Ethical Adoptions, part 2”

  1. Hi, Meg. I wholeheartedly agree with you about open adoption education for pre-adoptive parents.Fortunately, we had this through the agency we used in Colorado. Looks like yours in Indiana is effective in this area, too.I will add this into my next version.

  2. I think a lot of your points are correct, but what about the importance of pre-adoption education for prospective adoptive parents and the continued availability of post-adoption education and support services. I come into contact with many adoptive parents who have been told to “tell the child about their adoption” but have not been prepared in how to talk about adoptive issues. An ethical agency recognizes the need and responsibility to prepare and empower adoptive families.

  3. I really appreciate all of you points above, but the one I’d be interesting in discussing is the limit of 6 weeks prior to birth for placement. In the case of an open adoption, the pre-adoptive parents can give some assistance to the mother, which she might need for good nutrition and even a safe place to live. I understand the problems that can happen if the mother changes her mind, but on the other hand, it seems worth the risk if the cooperation can make it a better experience for mother, child, and pre-adoptive parents.

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