Countless melodramatic stories on television and in films portray many people's notion of adoption and it's tradition of anonymity: The child "given up" by the mother and raised without knowing they are adopted. Today, "open adoptions" which have various meanings are becoming more common. An open adoption could mean that the child's status is not kept secret and could include provisions to keep the birth parent/s involved. A former spouse giving up his or her parental rights in favor of the new spouse, or adoptive parents adopting a child whose natural parents are their relatives are just a few of the situations that may be termed as "open". The natural parent's involvement may be significantly limited when adoption agreements are signed. These limitations can include being provided progress information and photographs of the child on a periodic basis, and designate a time when the child will be informed of his natural parents(s), etc.
The "Adoption Agreement" or "Kinship Agreement" is usually devised by many to define boundaries and parameters. This can be either a verbal or formal written contract that sets out acceptable levels of contact and involvement for the birth parent(s) and attempts to head off potential conflict. While some agreements are merely signed by both parties in good faith, others are formally filed with the court to ensure mutual compliance and protection.
Like any other agreement, care should be taken to make the agreement evolve along with the real-life situation.
Representation/Mediation in Open Adoption
By using a qualified attorney to represent their interest to address necessary matters, whether for the first time or when an agreement needs to be advised, parties can avoid problems. Conflicts can cause harm to the child's well-being and therefore must be avoided at all times. If this is not possible, early intervention by a mediator can help avoid litigation, excessive costs can help prevent negative consequences such as parents being cut off or the child being subject to the conflict. When both sets of parents enter into mediation with the best interests of the child in mind, they can be guided by a trained, professional mediator towards a solution that is healthy for all involved - especially the child. When identifying the reasons why the agreement no longer works, mediation helps keeps the lines of communication open, which is what a Contact Agreement is designed to do in the first place.
The sense of familial bond that inspired the Open Adoption in the first place almost always returns as soon as each side understands the other's difficulties clearly for the first time.
Mediation isn't a "magic bullet" that solves all problems - but for Open Adoptions that are founded on the concept of honesty and connection, it is often the best solution.
David A. Johnson provides quality legal services in East Idaho. As both a private attorney and a former Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney, Mr. Johnson has substantial courtroom experience and superior mediation skills guaranteed to help bring resolution to your case. Contact him today at 208-535-1000 or visit http://www.attorneyidaho.com for more information.