So what exactly is an 'ethical' adoption agency?
For me, that meant that there was evidence the agency was doing everything in the power to keep children with their birth families, if at all possible. This could involve anything from help with finding employment, to providing supplemental food while the families are getting back on their feet, to providing access to schooling, community gardens, and wells for clean water.
Helping the families and community rather than just taking their future (the children) away from the them.
It also meant that safeguards were in place to ensure that the children being placed were truly in need of a home, that they were not being stolen and/or that the parents were not being forced or coerced into letting their children go to another family, with false promises of being reunified one day.
On one occasion, during my adoption from Haiti, I was able to see the director of the agency have a conversation with a young birth mother. The mother was wanting to place her baby in the creche but the director was adamant that what she needed was to first find a job, so that she could provide for her child (support was provided from the agency for her to make steps towards this goal.) Sadly, relinquishment happens when a loving birth families who lack the resources to provide for their children's most basic needs-food, clean water, medical care, or shelter.
During my adoption journey, I worked with three different agencies. Two were very ethical, and have in place programs like the ones I mentioned. One agency I left (several thousands of dollars into an adoption) because red flags started popping up. I didn't feel comfortable that they weren't using coercion to find children to place with their adoptive families, so I walked away.
So how does a person find an ethical agency?
1. Talk to anyone you know who has adopted. Ask them what their experience was like and if they would recommend their agency to others.
2. Search the internet. RESEARCH A TON. Make a list of agencies that have in place safe guards to maintain high ethical standards, and providing support for the birth families.
2. Interview agencies. Make a list of your questions. Call and ask to speak with the director of the program you are interested in. Do a gut check. Any red flags yet?
3. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints with the agencies you are looking at.
4. Take your narrowed down list, call back those agencies, and ask for references...families that have adopted through them. Most adoptive families are very open to talking about their experiences.
By going through these steps, you will, hopefully, have narrowed it down to one or two agencies. Take your time and don't rush this part of the process. You want to find an agency that not only is a good fit for you but, perhaps even more importantly, respects, honors, and supports the birth families as the struggle to make the best choice for their child.
Don't forget to check out the other blogs in the link up (here's one to check out) and leave a comment.
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