Ethical Rules


NORDIC ADOPTION COUNCIL
ETHICAL RULES
The rules are shared by EurAdopt.
The Ethical Rules are divided into four parts:
The Biological Parents
The Child
The Adoptive Parents
The Adoption Organisations and their co-operation with other bodies.
THE BIOLOGICAL PARENTS
Article 1
Parents who relinquish their child for adoption must be given all the necessary information concerning the implications of their decision and also reasonable time to reflect upon their decision. lf possible, alternative proposals should be suggested to them. Parents must always have the opportunity to change their mind up to the time a decision has been reached by a Court or corresponding authority in the child''s country of origin.
Expenses incurred, if any, by the organisation or its contact abroad in relation to the care of the child must not be used as a reason for preventing the parents from having the opportunity to change their mind. No consent to an adoption may be given before the birth of the child.
Article 2
There must be no promise of direct or indirect financial support to the biological parents that could influence their decision to give up their child for adoption. If, at a later stage, the adoptive parents wish to help the biological family financially, this should not be done by direct contact but through a suitable organisation.
Article 3
Except in the case of family adoption, there must be no direct contact between the biological family or their child on the one hand and the future adoptive family on the other hand before the required consents to the adoption have been given and have become definitive, insofar as the law of the sending country allows it.
Should contact between the biological family and the adoptive family prove desirable at a later stage, this should be established through relevant authorities or organisations. They should use their experience and knowledge to safeguard the right to confidentiality of both the biological and adoptive families while at the same time taking into account the child''s right to information about his or her background.
THE CHILD
Article 4
Before deciding whether a child should be placed abroad for adoption, the organisation must be satisfied that no other appropriate solution for the child could be found in his or her country of origin and that intercountry adoption is in the best interest of the
child.
Before the child''s representative decides to place the child for adoption, a case study must be prepared by a person qualified in social work, giving details of the child''s background, the reason for him or her being given up for adoption, his or her characteristics and special needs. It is not for the organisation to carry out such a case study but the organisation must ascertain to the largest extent possible that the case study has been carried out taking into account all aspects and that all possible efforts have been put to retrieve all relevant information.
Article 5
lf a person employed by an organisation has direct contact with the family of a child who might be in need of adoption, that person must not take an active part in the placement of the child and the responsible authority must be informed.
Article 6
Children placed for adoption through the organisation must be medically examined. The organisation must see to it that the children receive good quality care during the waiting time.
Article 7
Children past the age of infancy must be prepared for the change awaiting them. If the law of the receiving country permits the adoption of children over 10- 12 years of age, these children must give their consent to the adoption.
Article 8
The organisation must see to it that the child''s welfare is safeguarded during the journey to the receiving country.
The organisation should encourage the future adoptive parents, if possible, to travel to the child''s country of origin and take him or her home, particularly in cases where the child is past the stage of infancy.
An escort ought not to travel with more than 2 children. The organisation should avoid making arrangements for escorting large groups of children at the same time. A change of escorts should also be avoided.
Article 9
Biological siblings should be placed within the same adoptive family. Cases in which this cannot be possible should be considered an exception. The organisation has a responsibility to ensure that the future adoptive parents are encouraged to develop a positive attitude towards contact between the siblings.
Article 10
The child has a right to his or her ethnical and cultural identity. The organisation is responsible for making available to the parents information about the particular ethnical and cultural identity of the child.
Article 11
It is the right of every adopted child to have access to information concerning his or her background. The organisation is responsible for procuring available information about the child''s background and for providing the child''s adoptive parents with access to the information. This information should be presented to the child according to his or her age and level of understanding except when this is contrary to the child''s best interest.
The organisation should also keep copies of all written information about the child for an unlimited period of time.
THE ADOPTIVE PARENTS
Article 12
Prospective adoptive parents must be subject to an investigation concerning their suitability to adopt.
According to the different national laws, this will be the task of the national competent authorities or the authorised adoption organisations themselves. In any case, a detailed psycho-medico-social report must be prepared.
The organisation has a responsibility towards the child to be adopted as well as towards the child''s representative in his or her country of origin concerning the prospective adoptive parents and their suitability to take care of an adopted child.
Article 13
The organisation must ensure that the prospective adoptive parents receive adequate preparation for the adoption. This preparation should be organised either by the adoption organisation itself or by other competent organisations or both.
Article 14
The organisation must inform future adoptive parents of the progress of their adoption case as well as the reason for their application being refused, if this is the case.
The organisation must inform parents of the cost of the adoption and retain evidence of expenses incurred.
The organisation should encourage adoptive parents to keep continuous contact with the organisation while their case is being processed as well as after the arrival of the child, and ensure that the family has the benefit of post-adoption care and counselling.
Article 15
The organisation must see to it that future adoptive parents complete the adoption as soon as possible, apply for new citizenship for the child and submit reports in accordance with the requirements of the country of origin.
Pending the completion of the adoption process, the child should be financially protected (will, insurance, etc). Adoptive parents who do not fulfil their obligations cannot count on assistance in the case of a new adoption application.
ADOPTION ORGANISATIONS AND CO-OPERATION WITH OTHER BODIES
Article 16
The organisation can put in place co-operation with other bodies only if there is the assurance that they always work to achieve the best interest of the child in a way that is consistent with the rules laid down in this document.
Article 17
The organisation must work primarily towards providing abandoned children with new families in their home countries and secondly, in other countries. Prevention of abandonment and support for children who cannot be placed with a new family should be included in the program of the organisation.
Article 18
The contact with whom the organisation co-operates in the child''s country of origin must be an authority, organisation or institution which is authorised to mediate in the field of intercountry adoption according to thelaws of that country.
The organisation must procure thorough information of the activities of this contact and establish that these activities, beyond any reasonable doubt, follow the ICSW Guidelines for intercountry adoption.
Article 19
The organisation must inform the relevant authorities in the child''s country of origin of the principles and practices upon which the organisation intends to work.
Article 20
The organisation is responsible for the working methods of its representatives and co-workers.
Representatives and co-workers who might influence the number of children placed for adoption should notbe paid on a per case basis. The salary paid to representatives and co-workers by the organisation shouldbe reasonable, taking into consideration the cost of living of the country as well as the scope and terms of the work undertaken.
Article 21
Fees charged to the organisation by professionals should be commensurate with the work carried out.
Article 22
Representatives and co-workers responsible for the adoption procedures should have professional or other appropriate training.
Article 23
Organisations must provide information to the competent authorities of both the sending and receivingcountries concerning child trafficking, improper financial gain and any other abuses. They must promote adoption through licensed or authorised organisations.
Article 24
The organisations should try to develop practical co-operation amongst themselves concerning theplacement for adoption of children with special needs so as to increase their chances of being placed with suitable adoptive families. They should also promote co-operation regarding research, counselling groups, adoptive parents groups, social services etc., and spread the information.
Article 25
The adoption work should be carried out in such a way that competition for children or contacts should be avoided.
Article 26
Organisations having or intending to have the same contact in a country should consult and exchange information.
Article 27
An organisation which terminates co-operation with a contact in a country of origin
because it appears that the contact is operating in violation of the ICSW Guidelines or contrary to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child or is ethically doubtful in other ways, must inform other organisations accordingly.
Article 28
An organisation wishing to express criticism concerning the work of another organisation must convey the matter directly to the organisation concerned and, if necessary, bring the matter to the attention of NAC and/or EurAdopt Executive Board.
In cases of serious or repeated breaches, the exclusion from EurAdopt of the organisation concerned shouldbe considered when the matter is referred for discussion at the next plenary session of NAC and/or EurAdopt.
Lage Vuursche, the Netherlands, March 1993
Amended, Berlin, 29 April 2012