Friday, January 25, 2013

Keeping adoption ethical

I am part of a group on Facebook that shares information and acts as an adoption support group. Recently it seems as though there has been a lot regarding making sure that adoption stays ethical. As much as I hate to say it, adoption has a business side to it. I wish it didn't have to, I wish that expectant parents could simply say that they would like to place their baby for adoption, adoptive parents would be notified, some papers would be signed and that would be it (I'm sure this would lead to other unethical practices as well, but just bear with me). However, there is way more to it than that. Adoptive parents have to be evaluated to make sure that they are fit to adopt, they have to be cleared through the state, and then there is a whole slew of legalities that must take place for the adoption to be legal. For all of this to happen there needs to be people who are willing to work in this field and know adoption law inside and out for each state and each country. There need to be people that will help expectant parents locate adoptive parents and vice versa both here in the US and in various countries. With this, like any business, comes wonderful, ethical organizations and lawyers, but that also means that there are just as many not so wonderful unethical organizations and lawyers.

How these ethics manifest from international adoption to domestic adoption are different. With international, one has to be very careful in researching how the children became available for adoption. Has every effort been made to make sure that they are truly classified as orphans or abandoned? Has every effort been made to find them a home in that country? Were they actually abandoned or orphaned, or where their parents lied to and offered money? These are difficult questions, but they have to be asked especially with human trafficking in today's world. If all of these things check out, then you have to look at the finances and ask yourself whether you think that their fees are reasonable and realistic.

With domestic adoption, the ethics tend to come with the finances. Yes, there could be other issues like what we find in international, but these would be less common. Adoption is expensive as there is a lot of paperwork that needs to be taken care of and the workers put a lot of time and energy into the process. I was once told by someone that he and his wife would love to adopt, but they don't agree with paying ransom for a child. I thought that this was sad that a child may never have a forever home because they didn't fully understand why adoption has to cost at least a certain amount and that, while our government may charge more than we agree with, the process (for the most part) is in the best interest of the child. I have to admit though that I probably would pay ransom if it meant saving a child's life or at least providing a life that he/she wouldn't have otherwise. However, how expensive adoption is where the issue lies. One can adopt for less than $10,000 if the adoption is private and the expectant parent approaches them. This does happen, but it's not as common. Once you decide to use an agency or attorney to help you in the process the cost will go up because they have to put more time and energy into the process. I'm sure there are those out there that would love to work for free, but if we are realistic, there are not many that can. We have made it our goal to only sign on with an attorney or agency that will keep fees at $20,000 or less (hopefully less). Our agency's baseline is $15,000, but there are other expenses that can come up and we need to budget for them. Our attorney is also very reasonable, but after all is said and done we need to prepare for around $20,000, which is why she recommended us to this agency. This may seem like a big jump, but in the world of adoption agencies it's actually very reasonable. These fees tell us that this agency is not in the business to make huge profits off of adoptive parents, but they are in it because they are passionate about adoption. This is not always the case however. There are large agencies and facilitators (which are illegal in NY), that I have seen charge over $50,000! This to me is outrageous. They are not in this business for the right reasons and they are making huge profits off of the desires of adoptive parents.

The sad thing is, there are people that can and will pay these fees. As adoptive parents, we need to make it known that this is wrong and not sign on with organizations like these. It is our job to make sure that adoption practices stay ethical and that it doesn't become "paying ransom". It makes me so sad that organizations would take advantage of the emotions that adoptive parents feel throughout this process and it makes me angry that they can take advantage and that there are people supporting them, possibly because they don't know that there are other options. Please understand, that adoptive parents are in this because we truly want to do something good. Some have children already, some don't, but all want to offer a child a life that his/her expectant parents don't feel that they can offer. Please join us in supporting ethical agencies and attorney's whether it be through education, supporting adopting couples through love and prayer or choosing to adopt through an ethical agency or attorney yourself.

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