For some birth and adoption families, navigating the contact agreement can be simple and seamless. For other open adoptions, ongoing contact discussions can be more complicated and emotional for everyone. Both biological and adoptive parents want to be generous in their commitment while wanting clear boundaries to make promises they know they can keep in the months and years to come. For parents and legal guardians, remember that while you may have to go to mediation, it`s not like court. It is more informal and there are no rules of procedure or evidence. You and the others involved in the mediation will decide what you all want to talk about. The program has a brochure to prepare families for mediation. For all those involved in mediation, here are some tips that will help: since the parties reach agreements that must last for years, mediation can take up to 90 days to conclude with the provision of services of up to 30 hours. All parties must fully understand what they agree on and commit to the process and the outcome. This is the main reason why the program does not have a long mediation session.
Typically, a mediator takes turns meeting with each party for many shorter individual interviews at different locations on different days and only communicates what each party has agreed. If visits after adoption or guardianship are to be part of the agreement and there are no security concerns, the Mediator encourages the parties to meet for the contact part of the process. This is a common fear of many adoptive families. The reality is that many adopted children are in the care system, because their biological parents may have a history of substance abuse and/or have violent or risky behaviors on their bodies. A biological parent may love their child, but recognizes that their child has suffered because of their mistakes. Many adoptive parents find that meeting with the biological parent eases their fears by meeting; biological parents and adoptive parents become real people. Mediation develops a plan to address security and privacy issues. Professionals and expelling mediators first explain to future adoptive families and members of the biological family that an agreement after adoption or after guardianship can be of great help. . . .