The era known forever in American adoption history as The Baby Scoop Era reminds us of a time when Birthmothers were neither cared for nor acknowledged in what was always a closed adoption. Normal adoption practices then included the new mother never meeting her child before he or she was whisked away to faceless, anonymous adoptive parents, never to be seen again. What grief must have come to these young women. These Birthmothers, now ranging from ages sixty to eighty years, almost always commonly share one thing; the adoption plan was not theirs. Underage young women who found themselves pregnant were usually forced into making an adoption plan by their parents. Grief of child loss, compounded by a decision they were forced to follow through on has done decades of damage. Unfortunately, some of those unethical adoption practices still whisper in Birthmother adoption stories today.


Better adoption education is needed if we are to ensure that women making an adoption plan are doing so of their own volition and are well aware of their rights in the states they reside in. The people in the places that serve women facing unexpected pregnancies are the frontlines in creating safe spaces for women to consider adoption without fear of coercion or agencies who dabble in unethical adoption practices. Knowing what to look for helps the helpers know what direction to steer her in.


What Do Unethical Adoption Practices Look Like After The Baby Scoop Era?


These days, hospitals are doing a much better job of making sure that the moms on their maternity floors are not falling into the hands of adoption agencies and adoption attorneys who have unethical adoption practices. There are better laws to protect mother and child in most states, but just because something passes as legal doesn’t mean it is ethical. What should pregnancy resources centers and hospital staff look for that may alert them to unethical adoption practices?


Unresolved Language Barriers – There should never be a time when an expectant mom making an adoption plan is not able to understand her rights due to a language barrier. Being able to understand what making and executing on an adoption plan in her state means and how that affects her and her child in her native language is paramount. Any adoption agency or adoption attorney who does not remedy a language barrier situation is not working ethically. If the expectant mom is not able to understand the adoption entity or the paperwork they are asking her to sign, find an interpreter for her immediately.


Being Relocated To Another State – There is no reason for an expectant mom to have to be  relocated to another state so that an adoption agency can work with her. To do so, in short, is usually Medicaid fraud. Expectant moms need to be with as much of a support system as they can to carry out such a difficult task. Removing her from her family, friends, help systems, and ministry help causes further harm and can jeopardize her mental health long term. If you know of an expectant mom who is being manipulated by an adoption agency or attorney who is asking her to relocate to provide services, contact your state licensing agency and help her find an ethical agency in her state.


Has Not Met The Prospective Adoptive Family – Every expectant mom has the right to meet the people who could possibly be adopting her child face-to-face and before she is in labor. This life changing decision requires commitment to her from the prospective adoptive family. Any agency that is trying to talk her out of meeting a family in person or who is telling her it is not possible is using manipulation and unethical adoption practices to achieve a goal that is not in her best interests.


Purposefully Omitting Information That May Change Her Mind – This one is best saved for last because this situation can feel more subjective than objective, but a couple examples should clear the air as to what might be a situation like this that alerts you to unethical adoption practices. For example, an expectant mom has the right to know if there is a revocation period in her state and how long that revocation period is after she signs adoption paperwork. She also has the right to know if there is not a revocation period in her state. Ask specifically if the expectant mom is aware of revocation period or non-revocation period regulations in her state. Ask her if she understands what that means. She should be able to articulate this well if she is properly informed.


Another example of purposeful information omission is not informing the expectant

mom about what the rights of the biological father are and what steps need to be taken legally in order for her to follow through with her adoption plan. She should be perfectly well informed by the adoption agency about what they need to do in her state to legally inform him of her plan and what they need to do regarding his rights so she can move forward.



Better Adoption Practices Start And End With Us All


If you would like to better adoption education about how to help expectant moms make adoption plans free of unethical adoption practices, contact us for our free resource, 5 Things You Need To Know About Adoption today. You can also contact us for information on our Adoption Training Sessions for Pregnancy Resource Centers and Hospital staff. We are here to help end unethical adoption practices.