Chapter 4
Ethical Codes Influencing
Adoption Practice

We cannot escape these ethical questions. We must focus on them if we want to act well toward others and act with personal integrity. --Margaret Rhodes


ETHICAL CODES OF CONDUCT INFLUENCING
ADOPTION PRACTICE: A RESEARCH STUDY

This chapter is an overview of the author's research studying the procedures established by licensed adoption agencies and adoption-related organizations in the implementation and application of professional ethics in adoption practice ( Babb, 1996). This survey analyzed adoption practice standards for licensed child-placing agencies and the codes of ethics, values, or standards adopted by professional, child welfare, and adoptionrelated organizations in the practice of adoption. Fifty state licensors of adoption agencies and 23 professional and child welfare associations and adoption-related organizations were surveyed.

The statutes governing adoption in the 50 states were not studied because statutes often do not codify or express ethical professional behavior and sometimes even conflict with ethical behavior. For example, 70 percent to 90 percent of adoptees want access to identifying information regarding their biological parents, and professionals have often agreed on the need to give adult adoptees their original birth certificates--yet in only a few states in the Union ( Alaska, Kansas, and Tennessee [at the time of this printing Oregon was still in the courts deciding its legality]) may adop-

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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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