One recent family application of mediation is to use it to solve the myriad of questions that come up in an “open” adoption.
In “open” adoption a birth mother and the adopting parents have contact — a departure from the historic approach to adoption in which an impenetrable wall was constructed between the woman who gave birth and the people who raised the child.
The practice of open adoption covers a spectrum of practices, however, and the label itself doesn’t establish the necessary particulars. Some birth mothers will interview and choose the adoptive parents; some will want them to be present at the birth; some will want to have photos of, or reports on, the child given them from time to time; some wish to be able to visit with the child after adoption. There is no “correct” way to define an “open” adoption or best way to do it — except to help both the birth parents and adopting parents clarify what their expectations and rights will be. Mediation is elegantly suited to helping everyone involved with the child to define where on the spectrum — from discrete distance to open, co-operative contact — each of the participants envision they should be.
What are the precise parameters of the kinship system that’s to be planned – and how do you change it if it’s not working ? Adoption mediation allows everyone concerned with the child to negotiate in advance the details of what the roles, and what the rules, are to be in this new family configuration.