For anyone who may be new to adoption, the question of ethical adoption may seem quite confusing. Adoption can be incredibly beautiful and life-changing. However, as with any good thing, there are also some people who will try to monetize the emotions of others. Adoption is, unfortunately, no exception to this rule. There will be adoption agencies that practice in unethical ways. There may also be demands asked of adoptive parents that they should not ethically honor. Expectant parents may also experience types of coercion or under-representation. Regardless of the unethical behavior, there are a few ways you can do your due diligence to make sure your domestic infant adoption is ethical.

1. Do Your Research

Before hiring any adoption professional, it is crucial to do your research. Take time to check out any information the professional has online. Call them and request information to be sent to you. Check adoption forums or Facebook groups to ask for reviews on various professionals. Read the reviews online for any adoption professional. Reviews and feedback from others will be the best sources of information. If an agency is involved in unethical practices, it is often likely that someone has gone online to mention it. Make a list of questions to ask the agency or professional before you sign on with them. Here is a great article highlighting questions you should ask before committing.

2. Avoid Coercive Practices

Coercion can take on many different forms. In ensuring your adoption is ethical, you may find it surprising how easy it is to become the problem. When you become matched with an expectant mother, it is easy to form a bond and want to support her in any way. However, gift-giving, monetary help, and anything that does not go directly through your attorney or agency can be seen as coercion. You never want an expectant mom to feel guilty if she chooses to parent or like she does not have that choice. This would be incredibly unethical. It is also important that your agency or attorney does not use coercive language or practices. It is best to go with an adoption professional who hires outside legal counsel for the expectant mother and also provides many opportunities for counseling and support.

3. Make Necessary Moves

If you sign on with an adoption agency and discover that they are involved in unethical practices in any way, switch professionals. It may be costly, and it may be time-consuming, but it is the right thing to do, not only for you but for all involved in the adoption. While it can be hard to sever that tie, it will ensure that your adoption is done ethically and legally. This will avoid any life-altering issues in the future while protecting you, your child, and the birth parents. If your gut is telling you to go, listen.

Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on