Adam Pertman, the Director of The Adoption Institute, discusses adoption ethics in this interview from Chao Ban Newsletter.
What areas do you feel are of concern in adoption in regards to ethics?
Although you can't blame all the ethical problems in adoption on secrecy, it plays a big part. I like to say that "Beautiful flowers do not grow in the dark, they need light. Fungus grows in dark." Too many people who have concerns other than family and child welfare are involved in the process - there is too much money, too much opportunity for abuse, too much secrecy... The miracle is that things run as well and ethically as they do.
Go into a beauty parlor and there is a diploma on the wall. Go into a garage and there is a diploma for the guy under your car. But for adoption of a child almost anyone off the street can do it. Adoption has less respect and fewer regulations than changing oil and fixing hair! It needs monitoring, licensing, regulations, good technical stands - all informed by ethics. There will always be problems, but it can be greatly improved.
What can adoptive parents do to increase ethical adoptions?
From the "get-go" adoptive parents need to become better consumers of adoption services, including legal, counseling, and medical services. As a group we are a shy lot - afraid to speak up and lose the baby. We need to get over it! These are habits from times when we couldn't talk about adoption.
This change has to come from all directions, but especially it has to come from pre-adoptive parents. They are the community that is served. Most people want ethical behavior by the people who help form their families! Most prospective parents want to behave ethically themselves.
Service after the adoption matters too. Don't say, "They didn't call me back so I'll go read a book about it " Hold their feet to the fire. If we demand good post placement services and counseling, the situation will improve. If enough pre-adoptive parents say, "Isn't it like baby selling if you are only delivering a child?" and they expect ethical behavior and service then the pressure will be on to deliver it to you. They will respond or lose clients.