The Market Forces in Adoption. //Adoption and Ethics//.
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, New York, NY.
Publication Information: Volume 2. Child Welfare League of America, Inc., Washington, DC.
Available from: Child Welfare League of America (CWLA)
727 15th Street, NW 12th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
The second volume in a series of books about the ethical implications of adoption highlights the economic factors that influence the adoption process and adoption trends. The text explores the role of money, accountability, regulation, and the differences in the resources of birth and adoptive parents. These issues are relevant especially for the adoption of infants, international adoptions, and the adoption of foster children. Adoption agencies are being operated like businesses, rather than as services for children who need a permanent home. The market forces of supply and demand have increased the competition for infants, as well as the costs related to adoption. Ethical concerns focus on whether high adoption fees are fair for prospective parents and whether infants are being treated as commodities. Although it is generally considered to be illegal and unethical to sell a child for a profit, there is no agreement about the amount of money that is reasonable for the services of adoption brokers, agencies, and birth parents. Questions are being asked about the differences in social, political, and economic power between birth and adoptive parents. Ethical concerns about the disparity between birth parents living in poor third world countries and the wealth of adoptive parents in the United States are raised even when the international adoption is perceived as a method for ensuring the survival of children. The high demand and limited supply of healthy infants from poor countries has helped to create an environment in which some prospective parents shop for the perfect child and are willing to pay any expense. The lucrative nature of the adoption business has resulted in a proliferation of illegal adoption agencies and unethical practices. However, the increasing demand for international adoptions has had a positive impact on the adoption market, as it becomes an accepted way to help children who do not have families and promotes adoption within the child's country of origin. Market influences in the adoption of children from foster care in the United States reflect the significant need for adoptive families for children who cannot be raised by their parents and the limited supply of willing adoptive parents. Specific questions about the ethics of adoption from foster care focus on the role of poverty and the role of welfare reform in creating the need for adoption; the impact of involuntary termination of parental rights on children; the match between the characteristics of the child and the parents; and the commitment of policymakers to expand the supply of adoptive parents. Issues related to the role of money include subsidies for the care of children with special needs and financial support for postadoption services to ensure permanency for children. Finally, there are ethical concerns about advertisements made by prospective parents, nonprofit adoption agencies, and attorneys. Although these marketing strategies are intended to promote the idea of adoption to adoptive parents and birth parents, they also run the risk of presenting children as a product for which payment is expected. Numerous references.
adoption trends; adoption research; ethics; transcultural adoption; transracial adoption; intercountry adoption; adoption research; adoption laws