THE NEED FOR EDUCATION AND ONGOING SUPPORT
Most openness arrangements work quite well. Of course there are awkward moments, and Berry's research indicates a clear need for the continued involvement of professionals serving in a mediating role. In agreeing to an ongoing relationship, adoptive families and birthparents are creating a new kind of extended family relationship. In some ways, a fully open adoption is like a marriage. It demands respect for one another and a commitment to maintaining a positive relationship. But marriages are hard work and usually they involve two people of similar ages, backgrounds, and value systems.
In fact, adoption often matches people who would not have much in common if it were not for the adoption. The two sets of parents are almost always of significantly different ages. This can be particularly difficult when the expectant mother begins to see the adopting couple as surrogate parents for herself. Sometimes this goes unnoticed when the adopting couple, so focused on the excitement of the coming baby, fail to understand the tenor of the relationship as viewed by the expectant parent.