For families involved in the adoption process, either as a birth parent or sibling or as an adopting parent, your Children’s Aid Society worker may speak to you about using Child Protection Mediation as a way of bringing everyone together to work out the details of the openness arrangements with everyone at the same table. These openness arrangements will focus on contact for the child and birth family after the adoption. The contact can take many forms: visits, letters, email updates, contact through social media or phone. Each plan is unique and is designed to meet the needs of the child. The openness arrangements that you discuss and agree to will often form the basis of a plan for the child post adoption.
Many Child Protection Mediators have taken extra training to be able to offer a specialized mediation service in Openness to families, both birth family members and adopting families. For a list of Child Protection Mediators in your geographic area who specialize in Openness, click here.
The Child Protection Mediator will meet with each of the birth parents and identified family members, adopting parents, and child’s counsel representing the siblings before bringing everyone together along with the Children’s Aid Society. During the individual meetings, you can expect the Child Protection Mediator to provide you with general information about Openness, detail what goes into Openness arrangements and point you in the direction of additional resources that you might find helpful.
Child Protection Mediators are very skilled at bringing people together to have discussions about sensitive topics and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and respected. You can be assured that Child Protection Mediators will pay attention to your worries and concerns and frame the discussion in a productive manner.
Consider asking your CAS worker to make a referral on your behalf or alternatively contact the ADR agency in your geographic region.