The Adoption Files Initiative | Amara

The Adoption Files Initiative

We envision a world where those impacted by adoption have access to their own narrative.

Amara’s post-adoption program works to make amends and evolve best practices by leading the adoption community through comprehensive and ethical reviews of adoption files. We believe adoptees and birth parents are the rightful owners of their truth and that their files contain information that has the power to heal. 

The Power of a Single File

Angela Tucker, Director of Post-Adoption Services, shares about The Adoption Files Initiative, an important project to review over 3,700 adoption files and ensure adoptees receive information and items they weren’t able to access because of previous laws and social work practices. One adoptee, Patty, shares how meaningful it was to receive a ring from her birth father that had been sitting in her file for years.

Every piece of information is precious.

All adoption files are confidential in accordance with State and Federal laws. However, the adoption files contain non-identifying information that can be delivered to the adoptee. We recognize the importance of transparency and the benefits of an adoptee knowing as many details about their birth family as possible. In March 2019, we began auditing 3,700 of our own adoption files searching for non-identifying information that we may be able to provide – the color of their birthparent’s eyes, their birthfather’s height, a photograph. Our hope is to support adoptees to better understand their sense of self and to influence best practices for record keeping. 

 

A National Ethics Committee Keeps Us Accountable.

The Adoption Files Initiative (formerly Project Search & Reunion) is an unprecedented project. We are pushing back against the status quo for adoptees and their families in the hopes that this project will change the way adoptions are addressed in the United States.

A national ethics committee was created specifically for this initiative. The committee’s charge is not necessarily to unify moral beliefs and commitments, but instead to open up dialogue, challenge worldviews and norms, and explore tensions between individual and shared meanings around adoption. All members are committed to justice by prioritizing equity and engaging in robust dialogue about morals, values and principles. The committee utilizes Frederic Reamer’s Ethical Decision-Making Model to ensure that we offer autonomy to all involved and ensure beneficence by avoiding causing any harm.

The Ethics Committee consists of adoptees, adoptive parents, a birth mother, legal professionals, social workers and other experts within the field.

 

Join our team of volunteers – the engine behind this massive undertaking!

The Adoption Files Initiative volunteers are trained to document details from each file and offer recommendations for files to be discussed by the Ethics Committee.

Volunteers gain an opportunity to learn about past practices, including learning how decisions were made about placing children for adoption, the support (or lack thereof) provided to birth parents and the ways institutionalized racism and sexism interacted with the decisions.

 

Are you looking for a biological family member?

Our Confidential Intermediary can support adoptees or birth parents who desire to locate biological family members. 

Related Stories

Diving Deep on The Adoption Files Initiative

Rena Konomis, Amara’s Confidential Intermediary discusses this unprecedented project (formerly called Project Search & Reunion) with the “A Fostered Life” podcast.

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Introducing the Adoption Files Initiative

Angela Tucker, Director of Post-Adoption Services, writes about the origin and inception of this initiative (formerly called Project Search & Reunion).

Read More

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