Show Hope : How To Adopt

Adoption tools for building bridges of hope by linking willing families with wanting children

Be Aware of Legalities and Ethics in Adoption

Legal problems are another area in which prospective adoptive parents can run into difficulties. Understand the laws (both domestic and international) which are intended to provide a protective framework for adoptive parents, children, and birth families. Unfortunately, there are unethical activities happening in the adoption arena, and by coming into the process aware and equipped of your rights, responsibilities, and what is considered "best practices" in child welfare, you will avoid typical pitfalls, compromising situations, and much heartache. It is important to keep in mind that the laws that are currently on the books in the U.S. and abroad have been created with the child's interest in mind. Honoring those laws is an important part of your adoption journey.

As you become emotionally involved with the child you are adopting, you will be tempted at times to try and circumvent rules which appear to be obstacles rather than a help. Remember, others will be adopting after you, and your actions will have an effect on future adoptions, and the overall system in which the orphans find themselves. If you find yourself continually bumping up against laws that seem to fly in the face of children's needs and best interests, you may wish to consider joining with others in advocacy efforts. There are always laws and regulations that need to be changed and reformed, and there are many opportunities for dedicated people of integrity to become involved in these advocacy efforts. See the chart below for resources and detailed information.

Adoption Kit Resource At-A-Glance
Resources for the Legal and Ethical Issues of Adoption

Resource About Resource...
Inter-Country Adoptions Adoption Application Process
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Legal Definition of an Orphan -
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Department of State This site provides both information and guidance to U.S. citizens seeking information about international adoptions.
National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC) Information and resources regarding different types of adoption. Includes legal information on who may adopt and who may be adopted in each State.
Ethica Summary of ethical issues in the adoption process. Ethica is an independent, nonprofit corporation that seeks to be an impartial voice for ethical adoption practices worldwide, and provides education
Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to eliminating the barriers that hinder children from realizing permanency
The Council on Foreign Relations Article written by Ethan B. Kapstein of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs is published by The Council on Foreign Relations. Article from "Foreign Affairs, entitled, "The Baby Trade" November/December 2003.
The National Center for Adoption Law & Policy The National Center for Adoption Law & Policy seeks to improve the law, policies, and practices associated with child protection and adoption systems.
The Intricate World of Adoption Ethics The Intricate World of Adoption Ethics. Presentation by Madelyn Freundlich.
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