General Adoption Ethics

Ethical Concerns in an Adoption Proceeding

Doing the Right Thing When You Adopt a Child

In many ways, adoption is big business. Adoptive parents will spend a lot of money to get the child they want. Unfortunately, when there’s a lot of money involved, the best interests of everyone involved can be forgotten or ignored. Adoption is more than creating a happy new family by the addition of a child. The birth parents can be easily exploited and feel a tremendous sense of loss. Adopted children can feel abandoned and develop attachment issues. The needs and concerns of all three parties—birthparents, adoptive parents and the adoptee—need to be considered. Here are some ethical guidelines for adoption.

The Birthparents

Birthparents who consider adoption and seek information on adoption are generally under a great deal of stress. Adoption professionals need to be very clear about all the options available, carefully and honestly describing the advantages and disadvantages of each option. If the birthparent opts to place the child up for adoption, the adoption professional should make certain they understand the different types of adoptions—public and private, open and closed. Before making a final decision, a birthparent should know whether they will know who the adoptive parents are and where they live, as well as whether there will be any continuing contact with the child.

Birthparents should also be educated about the potential emotional consequences of putting a child up for adoption. Birthparent may experience a broad spectrum of emotions, from loss and grief to guilt, shame or low self-esteem. Adoption professionals should make certain that birthparents have information about support groups, counseling and other resources to deal with post-adoption challenges.

The Child

In all adoptions, the primary goal and the focal point should be the best interests of the child. Adoption professionals should clearly determine the needs of the child, and work to implement an adoption that will best meet the child’s needs.

Studies indicate that the best interests of the child are best-served in a permanent home, where the child will receive consistent and loving care. If that can be done in the birthparents’ home, adoption professionals should support keeping a child with birthparents, particularly if there are siblings with whom the child has established a bond. If it’s clear that staying with birthparents is not in the child’s best interests, the adoption professional should seek a permanent placement as soon as possible, to minimize the potential negative impact on the emotional growth of the child. In addition, if the child has siblings, all efforts should be made to keep siblings together.

The Adopting Parent(s)

Adopting parents can just as easily be exploited, as the desire to have a child can blind them to the realities of the situation. Adoption professionals should clearly explain the different types of adoption proceedings, making certain that adoptive parents know that they can use different agencies, or can adopt without the assistance of an agency. All potential costs should be disclosed up front, and adoptive parents should clearly understand if there will be any communication or contact with the birthparent after the adoption is finalized. Adoptive parents should also be educated about potential emotional challenges the child may face, including acting out and attachment disorders.

Adoption Attorneys in New Jersey

At the law office of Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC, our lawyers bring more than 25 years of experience to every matter we handle. Attorney Donald C. Cofsky has personally handled more than 1,500 adoption proceedings since joining the bar in 1974. Attorney Bruce D. Zeidman has protected the interests of clients in state and federal courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 1984. We understand the challenges you face, and can help you identify all your options so that you can make good decisions that are in your best long-term interests.

Contact our office online or call us at (856) 429-5005 in Haddonfield, NJ, at (856) 429-5005 in Woodbury, NJ, or in Philadelphia, PA, at (856) 429-5005. We also provide a free initial consultation in personal injury and workers’ compensation matters.

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