An ethical assessment of intercountry *adoption: Romania to the United States, 1990–2003

Terry Murphy, Salve Regina University


This dissertation examines the following question: Was the intercountry adoption of Romanian children by Americans during the period of 1990–2003 ethically justified? Stated formally, its thesis is: Utilizing developed ethical theories, specifically deontological ethics, an ethic of care, and utilitarianism, this dissertation assesses qualitatively intercountry adoption from Romania to the United States. The assessment begins by examining the internationally approved documents relating to intercountry adoption. These reports help produce a quasi-global consensus for the three main “value views” of intercountry adoption. These value views are then examined against the frameworks of deontological (Kantian) ethics, utilitarianism, and an ethic of care (grounded by phronesis or practical wisdom) to produce an “ethical model” of intercountry adoption. The Romanian/American situation is then compared against this “model.” The assessment demonstrates that during this period, intercountry adoption from Romania was ethical and should continue to be supported by citizens of a globalized world.

Subject Area

Philosophy|Social work

Recommended Citation

Murphy, Terry, "An ethical assessment of intercountry *adoption: Romania to the United States, 1990–2003" (2005). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI3169310.