Category Archives: Ethics in adoption

Adoption: What do you consider “Best Practices”?

Jan Baker’s post on Adoption Reform got me thinking about what ethical adoptions look like. There are probably as many opinions as there are people who care.

We call it an adoption triad because of the three groups: the child adopted, the firstparents, and the adoptive parents. But there is a fourth element: the agency/facilitator. Choosing the adoption professional is a HUGE decision for both hopeful adoptive parents (click here for my article) and expectant mothers considering adoption. But after the matching and legalities are done, the agency fades away leaving the triad to deal with the lifelong outcomes (good and/or bad).

I’ve often thought that the adoption community should come up with a benchmark document, “Best Practices in Ethical Adoption.” This list would need to meld both the “wish lists” from all parts of the triad and their sometimes competing wishes, as well as practical realities that come with running a business (either for- or not-for-profit). These include (1) reasonable salaries and expenses for legitimate services; and (2) the need for marketing so that people who might use the agency’s services know about the agency.

This wiki-ish document could then become the “Good Housekeeping” seal for adoption professionals — benchmarks against which to measure ethics.

What would you consider the 3 most important points in ethical adoption? You, the person reading who cares about adoption. Let me know in a comment.

To help, here are some resources:


The Evan B Donaldson Institute

We may not find agreement on small points, but let’s see if we can reach consensus on the big points.

(Next I’ll post my recent attempt on a cross-forum board to clarify my own thoughts on this issue.)