Twenty percent of Canadian couples battle infertility; many of these couples will turn to adoption to complete the family they've dreamed of. A number of couples will decide to pursue an open adoption, where the birth mother (and maybe the father) is still involved in the child's life. If you're thinking about an open adoption, or know someone who is, perhaps you should read on to understand some of the misconceptions that couples have about the process. In addition to helping you assess your readiness for it, the information could also help to put all your insecurities about open adoptions to rest.

Mistake #1: Forgetting that the child will have two sets of parents.

Very often, adoptive parents become so consumed with the idea of riding off into the sunset with their new baby, that they forget the birth parents. Open adoptions will involve the birth parents from the birth of the child until they are at least 18 years old.

The child in an open adoption will grow up with full knowledge of their familial roots, their culture, and why they were put up for adoption. Their birth parents can request visits, send pictures, speak on the phone, and email. Can you reverse this? No. Actually, the birth parents have the right to change their minds as open adoptions are not legally binding. If this is not something you're comfortable with, consider a closed adoption.

Mistake #2: Thinking they won't need a family attorney.

In Canada, open adoptions are normally based on a mutual trust that each party will stick to the agreement. As such, many adoptive parents feel they won't need an attorney to negotiate the terms, doing an adoption pro se.

An open adoption is not as simple as it sounds. The laws which govern the process vary among provinces; these are laws which family attorneys are familiar with and can advise you on your rights and responsibilities adequately. Think about the financial terms; that's something you'll need your family attorney to negotiate because they work in your best interest.

Also, if the birth mother is in another province, you'll have to comply with her laws there, not the ones in your area. You don't want your custody to be challenged because of failing to comply with those laws so hiring a family attorney is extremely critical.

Mistake #3: Refusing to meet the birth mother before she gives birth.

While some adoptive parents are very close with the birth mother before the child's birth, some tend to develop an adversarial, "our child" mentality. They'll often take few steps to meet with the birth mother before the birth, sending the adoption agent instead. Perhaps this will work in a closed adoption where you don't have to reconnect with the birth mother. In an open adoption, this is not advised.

Most birth mothers and adoption agencies report that meeting with the adoptive mother is actually a positive experience. It will be much more than a casual meeting. You can learn about the family's medical history, connect on a more personal level, and develop realistic goals about the adoption. This reduces the likelihood of the birth mother changing her mind.

If you're serious about an open adoption, your best bet is to seek counsel from a family attorney, such as Brown Law Firm, and also educate yourself on the details of this arrangement. Where the welfare of a child is concerned, it is prudent to be thoroughly prepared.