Adoption is a social, emotional, and legal process through which children who will not be raised by their birth parents become full, permanent, and legal members of another family. As such, adoption involves the rights of the birth parents, the child, and the adoptive parents. Adoption is also a lifelong process. Ethical issues change over time as children who were adopted become adults and may choose to claim their right to know their genetic and historical identity. It is imperative that professionals working in adoption act ethically to ensure the rights of all the involved parties at all points in the process. In this section, find resources to help guide the professional's ethical practice in all phases of adoption.
Access to Adoption Records
Child Advocacy: A Guide for Adoption Agencies
Lanter & Robbins (2021)
National Council for Adoption
Offers guidelines for adoption professionals and reviews ethical considerations related to working on behalf of children and families.
Ethical Considerations in Adoption Research: Navigating Confidentiality and Privacy Across the Adoption Kinship Network
Lo, Grotevant, & McRoy (2019)
Adoption Quarterly, 22(1)
Discusses ethical concerns researchers may face when working with populations impacted by adoption, including privacy and confidentiality concerns.
Ethics in Adoption
North American Council on Adoptable Children
Lists key principles that should guide professionals working on all types of adoptions.
Examining the Intersection of Ethics and Adoption
Koh & Kim (2020)
Adoption Quarterly, 24(1)
Examines how ethics intersects with adoption and summarizes five articles featured in a special edition of Adoption Quarterly that focus on ethical adoption.
Providing Background Information on Children to Prospective Adoptive Parents
Striving Towards Ethical Adoption Practice
Harvard Law School Petrie-Flom Center, Bill of Health
Shares tenets of ethical adoption practice that are oriented toward the goals of antiracism, child centeredness, and reproductive justice.
Top Ten Ethical Considerations in Open Adoption Practice
American Adoption Congress
Presents a list of 10 principles to follow for an ethical open adoption.
The Truth About Intercountry Adoption’s Decline
Jacobs & Flatley (2019)
Outlines reasons international adoptions to the United States and all other receiving countries have declined.
Writing Children’s Narratives
Outlines the specific information that should or should not be included when using photolistings to recruit adoptive families and protect the privacy of children and youth.