Adoption is filled with its own ups and downs. There are overwhelming times in adoption, emotional vulnerability, and so many possible unknowns that we should be vigilant to avoid cutting corners along the way. Adoption involves the thoughts and feelings of two families, legal processes each step of the way, and the need for guidance and encouragement from helpful and experienced professionals who ensure the validity of each step of your adoption.
When so many lives are affected by this journey, not finding an adoption professional who meets all of your needs can directly affect your adoption outcome. One of the most important decisions you will make when bringing home a child through adoption will be partnering with an agency that provides virtue and accuracy throughout one of the most important chapters of your life. Pay attention to what constitutes an ethical adoption, and follow these five tips to ensure your adoption is ethical:
1. Stay Informed
Make sure that your adoption expert is sharing any and all details about your adoption with you, as well as answering any questions you may have throughout the process. Adoption requirements, verbiage, and legalities can sometimes be confusing. So, insist on being in the loop and having a good understanding about any specifics of your adoption. If an attorney or adoption professional refuses to acknowledge requests to be more helpful, they may not be the one you should work with.
2. Don’t Allow for Shortcuts
During any step of your adoption, taking a shortcut could be detrimental for the birth family, your family, the child’s future, or the legal process involved. An adoption is not the time to find the cheapest way or easiest solution if that means they are unethical and threaten the legitimacy of the adoption process. Be certain all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed appropriately. Doing this may require you to educate yourself on the adoption prerequisites and to stay informed with your adoption professional.
3. Be Aware of Any Red Flags
If you are made uneasy by anything pertaining to the adoption, take notice of those feelings and investigate. You may not even be a parent yet, but your parenting instincts have started to kick in because you want to do what’s best for the child you will be matched with and bring into your family. Be looking for what’s best for everyone involved and follow those parenting instincts you are cultivating.
4. Look out for the Birth Parents
Respect. One word that carries so much weight for the birth family in an adoption. Respect the decision made for adoption. Respect any fears or anxieties a potential birth parent may have. Respect the wishes for contact before and after the birth. Hold your respect for them to such a high standard that you look out for them throughout the entire adoption process and make sure they are not neglected in any way.
5. Know What You’re Paying for
From smaller amounts of money spent on background checks, postage for mailing profiles, application fees to larger sums allocated for home studies, legal fees, and birth mother expenses, finances will be a significant topic of discussion for any family walking through an adoption. Not only should you keep record of every adoption expense for tax purposes, but you can ensure that your adoption fees are ethical as well. Ask an adoption professional about their fees and to see a detailed statement of what it pays for. Also, be careful that during a match a fee is not being used to coerce a prospective birth parent in any way to reaffirm their adoption decision because not only would this be wrong but illegal.
At any time during your adoption process, you can request a second opinion from someone else in the adoption or legal field to offer further expertise in the event that you feel it is needed. Adoption is permanent, and getting things done the right way is crucial for everyone involved.
Jill is a 32-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for eight years and has 5-year-old and 1-year-old daughters. Jill and her husband are currently in the adoption process to bring another baby into their home. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish and obtained her Master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports, and eating good food.