We have all heard horror stories about babies being bought and sold to the highest bidder. Often, we imagine this occurs in third world countries, but the reality is, wherever economic inequality exists there is the possibility that parents may consider “selling” their babies for financial gain. This is the reason Adoption nowadays is highly regulated. Apart from “buying” of babies, there are other ethical considerations which must be considered:-
Ensuring voluntary relinquishment of parental rights
Voluntary relinquishment of parental rights, means just that. It is important for Adoptive parents to remember, they may have paid a birth mother’s living expenses for several months, but this in no way obligates her to relinquish the child and sign her consent to the adoption after the birth. She is legally allowed to reconsider and change her mind. It does however, obligate her to repay any money which an adoption entity or adoptive parents have paid on her behalf.
In Florida, once a birth mother has signed her consent to the adoption it is irrevocable. This is not the case in every state. In Florida, this means she cannot simply change her mind, but if she can prove fraud or duress the court may consider her consent null and void. It is therefore important to ensure a Birth Mother’s consent is obtained voluntarily, and in an ethical manner.
Florida Adoption Center’s staff attend every consent signing, accompanied by our adoption attorney and a court reporter. We believe it is important to record every aspect of the consent signing to ensure there can never be a valid claim of impropriety, fraud, duress, or wrong doing.
Adoption law limits the amount of financial assistance a Birth Mother can receive. In Florida, the amount is limited to $5,000.00 unless prior permission is obtained from the Court to exceed that amount. The reason for the limited amount of financial assistance is to protect Adoptive Parents from exploitation. There are many Adoptive Parents, who if they have the financial means, would pay an unlimited amount of money if it meant they could realize their dream of becoming parents.
Full disclosure to Adoptive Parents
Full disclosure to Adoptive Parents, refers to information which is obtained from Birth Parents and passed on to Adoptive Parents. We believe it is vitally important for Adoptive Parents to have all the information possible to enable them to make an informed decision about a child they are considering for adoption. We believe, Adoptive parents should have information on whether the baby has been exposed in-utero to substances, or whether there is a history of mental illness or genetic disease in the child’s familial background. With this in mind, we have our Birth Parents meet with one of our Master’s level Adoption Specialist to complete a full psychosocial assessment. A report is completed, using the information obtained from the Adoptive Parents, giving the adoptive parents a full picture of the child’s history.
We believe, full disclosure is important to enable us to match a child with the “right” Adoptive Parents. After all, there is no point matching a child with Adoptive Parents who do not have the will, or ability, to parent a child with special needs, particularly as there are plenty of Adoptive Parents who are more than willing to provide a loving home to such a child. Full disclosure, is very important because an Adoptive Family has to be sure they are financially, and emotionally prepared to parent a child. In cases where a child may have special medical needs, the Adoptive Parents must be financially able to meet those needs.
It has to be said, there are occasions when we are unable to obtain a full social and/or medical history on the Birth Parents/family. The psychosocial assessment is self-reported, but we explain to the Birth Parent why we collect the information, and how important it is for the child’s future wellbeing. We try to obtain the most complete dossier of information possible. If there are gaps, or no information at all, or if we feel there is a lack of honesty in the Birth Parents’ reporting, we will always disclose that fact to the Adoptive Parents. We NEVER want to hear “why weren’t told about this?” We believe, in giving Adoptive Parents all the information they need in order for them to be able to provide a child with what they will need to be nurtured, loved and cared for.