Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents

The Donaldson Adoption Institute offers a list of rights that all birthparents should have.


The Donaldson Adoption Institute’s mission is “to better the lives of everyone touched by adoption by providing leadership that improves the laws, policies and practices through sound research, education and advocacy.” A document written by the Institute entitled, “Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents in the Adoption Process,” offers a host of insightful information, including the following list of rights that all birth parents should have:

  • To make the placement decision in a fully informed manner devoid of pressure or coercion.
  • To exercise all parental rights he/she wishes prior to placing a child for adoption.
  • To be treated with dignity, respect, and honesty.
  • To have independent legal counsel to protect her/his best interests in the process.
  • To receive nondirective counseling to help him/her understand all of the options and resources available and the implications of the decision.
  • To be legally assured that promises and agreements regarding the ongoing information or contact made as a part of the process will be adhered to.

Adoption STAR is fully in support of this list of rights as “best practice,” as aforementioned list does a great deal to explain, counsel, and prepare birth parents for the lifelong experience that is adoption (which is key). Adoption was once viewed as a single event that occurred at a point in time. We now know and recognize that birth parents, adoptive parents, the adoptee, and future generations of all of the above are united in the sense that adoption will have an impact on all of their lives.