From Erica Becks’ Cure for the Common Conflict.
Individuals all around the world choose to adopt children for various reasons. For those who have been unable to conceive on their own, it is a wonderful opportunity to realize their dream of becoming a parent. For others, there may be a desire to bring hope and love to a child who may otherwise who have grown up in a less than ideal environment. Many adoptive parents undergo the adoption process with ease and are able to raise their children as planned. However, for those who choose to partake in what is called “Open Adoption” the experience isn’t always as smooth.
Open Adoption is one where the identity of the birth parents is known to the adoptive parents and vice versa. Under this type of adoption, the birth parent’s legal rights are still terminated, however, adoptive parents can choose to allow contact between the birth parents and the child. In some areas, birth parents and adoptive parents may enter into a legally binding agreement concerning visitation, exchange of information or other interaction involving the child. While this type of arrangement certainly has it’s advantages, it too has it’s setbacks. Many issues can arise between the birth parents, adoptive parents and/or the child involving interaction, communication and more. Likewise, these agreements can be challenged, which can create a serious conflict between the families, and in worse case scenario, a legal battle.
This is especially true in the case of older foster children who are adopted. Often adoptive parents allow ongoing contact between birth families and their newly adopted (formerly foster) children. The relationship between the adoptive family, the child, and the birth family, is one that is not easily navigated, especially when there has been a history of negative experiences associated with the birth family.
After the adoption process is finalized, however, there are few interactions between the families and other adoption specialists, like social workers, who would otherwise serve as liasons between the families. These families do have options available to them, however, to settle their dispute in a peaceful manner. Through the use of a trained mediator (ideally one with a professional background in social work or mental health), the families can have the opportunity to engage in an open dialogue in a safe, non-judgmental environment to resolve their issues before they escalate into full-blown legal battles.
I am delighted to break the news through this blog that my New Zealand colleague, Prof Ian Macduff (recently of Victoria University and now The Singapore Management University) is heading...By Geoff Sharp