Adoption options abound, some ethical and some not so ethical. The last thing you want to do is participate in an adoption that ends up as a story in the blogosphere as another example of an unethical adoption agency, or an angry birth parent, or, the worst, a child who feels cheated. Here are some basic principles to help ensure that your adoption is an ethical one:
- If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. “We don’t have to disclose that,” “It doesn’t really violate the spirit of the law,” “You can always change the agreement after the adoption if you need to,” “$60,000 sounds like a lot, but it’s for your child.” These statements should raise red flags. When you recognize a red flag, heed the warning. Don’t fall into the trap of the bride-to-be with second thoughts who goes through with it because she already has the ring. If something doesn’t feel right, investigate and, if you’re not satisfied, get out.
- Choose your professional carefully. Being a licensed, and even “non-profit” agency means very little. Being an attorney means very little. You need to make sure that the Adoption Professional you choose is experienced in adoptions, and has a proven track-record of satisfied clients. Check out our article, “Five Questions to ask your Adoption Professional” (link) for questions to help you choose an ethical professional.
- Make sure that your match is real. Only consider the match agreed upon after your Adoption Professional has provided you with a thorough history on the Expectant Mother who has chosen you. You should see medical and social histories, and a report from her OB before committing. Transparency is key. You need to know any issues you may be committing to, just as she needs to know all of the relevant issues in your life.
- Be honest. Seriously. Brutally. Don’t mess around with this one, about anything. Period. You are asking a woman to entrust you with her child. You better be honest with her. About your history, your life, your intentions. Everything. Got it?
- Keep your promises and, better yet, make them in writing. Post-contact agreements, even if they’re not enforceable in your state, should be in writing. It makes intentions clear and helps keep everyone honest.
- Remember, a child is best served by adoptive and birth parents who honor and respect one another, even when times and circumstances are hard. Choose to be positive about the other party. Love covers a multitude of offenses.
Be honest, but be gracious and kind. Compassion is powerful.