Implications for Practice / Discussion

Document Type


Department (Manual Entry)

School of Social Work


Total secrecy and confidentiality no longer typify adoption in the United States. Today, most adoptions involve an exchange of information or some form of contact between the birth family and adoptive family - so-called open adoptions. This article provides a comprehensive overview of ethical issues associated with various forms of open adoption, including issues of privacy, confidentiality, self-determination, paternalism, conflicts of interest, deception, and truthtelling.We present guidelines for social work practice in open adoptions, based on current ethical theory and ethical standards in social work.