Chapter 2
Values in Adoption

Our minds are possessed by three mysteries: where we came from, where we are going, and since we are not alone, but members of a countless family, how should we live with one another.
-- Edward Muir

Mary Benet wrote that "the moral views of every society have influenced its practice of adoption more heavily than have pragmatic considerations" ( 1976, p. 13). Certainly this is true of American adoption practice, supported by societal values of providing permanent families for children deprived of them and the protection of abused, neglected, or abandoned children. Coexisting with these values, and not always peacefully, are the values of blood relatedness and the preservation and support of the biological family, along with the values of identity, self-determination, and of knowing as much about one's own history as others know. In writing about value issues in contemporary adoption, Dukette observed that "values often clash with personal interests or with other values, and adoption is full of conflicting values" ( 1984, p. 234). How are adoption professionals, agencies, and the recipients of adoption services to understand and make ethical decisions in such a complex area, especially when the interests of those involved may be at odds? The answer lies in defining the values undergirding adoption practice and identifying the ethical codes and standards that embody them.

Dolgoff and Skolnik defined ethics as "values in operation, the guidelines for transforming values into action" ( 1992, p. 100). For the purposes

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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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