Introduction

The research on ethics in adoption shows that adoption, more than any other human service, is rife with conflict of interest. Adoption agency social workers and attorneys routinely represent both the birth and adoptive families party to the same adoption. Agencies whose very existence is based on fees paid for consummated adoptions claim to offer unbiased "crisis pregnancy" counseling to expectant mothers.

Professionals have yet to develop uniform ethical standards in adoption or to make meaningful attempts to monitor their own professional behavior. Instead, our own clients and former clients have had to impose an ethic of honesty and disclosure onto the profession from the outside. The development of open adoption, the open adoption records movement, and the tort of wrongful adoption are three examples of what happened when birth and adoptive parents and adoptees did what we said we wanted them to do all along--become self-determined.

The research also shows that professionals, especially in social work, the profession most likely to be involved in adoption, have been unable to translate ethical principles into behavior. This failure, I believe, is at the root of many of the problems with adoption services in the United States. this book addresses not only the historical problem of unethical behavior among professionals in adoption service delivery but also examines current practices, existing standards, and the problems we still have in adoption practice--and suggests solutions.

Professionals cannot hope to serve adoption clients, nor can their clients hope to be well-served, until they establish discrete standards for

-xxv-

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Ethics in American Adoption
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Introduction xxv
  • Part I Foundations 1
  • Chapter 1 Living the Experience 3
  • Chapter 2 Values in Adoption 27
  • Part II Explorations 71
  • Chapter 3 Ethical Inquiry 73
  • Chapter 4 Ethical Codes Influencing Adoption Practice 95
  • Part III Contentions 115
  • Chapter 5 When Professional Values Collide 117
  • Part IV Recommendations 133
  • Part V Challenges 161
  • Chapter 7 Challenges to Change 163
  • Appendix A 201
  • Appendix B 203
  • Glossary 211
  • References 217
  • Index 227
  • About the Author *
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