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 three distinct "triad members": 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.
|Series Title||State Statutes|
Child Welfare Information Gateway
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Disregarding the Best Interest of the Child: Licenses to Discriminate in Child Welfare Services (PDF - 3,770 KB)
Human Rights Campaign Foundation (2017)
Highlights laws that have been passed by certain States that allow taxpayer-funded child welfare programs to choose who they will serve, which allows them to refuse to work with or medically treat LGBTQ people.
Ethics in Adoption
North American Council on Adoptable Children
Outlines principles to guide all adoptions, including those made by agencies and those arranged independently, in order to ensure ethical practices.
How Adoption Professionals Can Support Adult Adoptees' Search for Information (PDF - 154 KB)
National Council for Adoption
Reviews best practices for adoption agencies facilitating searches for adoption records requested by adopted adults or adoptive parents.
In Defense of Adoption: Reforms That Ensure Adoption Meets Its Full Potential (PDF - 186 KB)
National Council for Adoption
Explains resistance to adoption, reasons for resistance, and ethical lapses in the adoption process. This brief also includes recommendations for adoption professionals, expectant and biological parents, and adoptive parents.
Is There a Religious Right to Discriminate Against LGBT Foster and Adoptive Parents? A Federal Court Says No.
American Civil Liberties Union
Describes the issue of religious conservatives putting their religious beliefs ahead of the best interests of children in the State’s care.
|Series Title||Bulletins for Professionals|
Child Welfare Information Gateway (U.S.)
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Responding to Rehoming: Protecting Children & Strengthening Adoptive Families (PDF - 515 KB)
Child Welfare League of America, Center for Adoption Support and Education, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Donaldson Adoption Institute, North American Council on Adoptable Children, & Voice for Adoption (2015)
Recommends greater protection for adopted children nationwide and increased investments in support services after adoption.
State Adoption Legislation
American Adoption Congress (2020)
Reviews the policy of the American Adoption Congress to support State legislative efforts to restore adult adoptees' unrestricted access to original birth certificates.
The Truth About Intercountry Adoption’s Decline
Jacobs & Flatley (2019)
The Chronicle of Social Change
Outlines reasons international adoptions to the United States and all other receiving countries have declined.