Thursday, May 7, 2015

Tips on overcoming an impasse at mediation

How To Overcome Impasse at Mediation:
As negotiations proceed, parties sometimes "hit a wall" and negotiations stop  -- often not due to overt conflict, but rather due to resistance to workable solutions or simply exhaustion of creativity.
While the impasse (stopping the mediation) might signal that the dispute is “unresolvable” in mediation, the mediator may believe that a workable agreement is still possible.
Below are some techniques to get negotiations moving.
Always remember: The goal isn't to overcome impasse but to help the parties analyze and negotiate constructively. The parties are free to stick with a position -- there may be a legitimate reason for impasse, and it's not your job to pressure the parties into a settlement!
1. Take a break. Often, things have a way of looking different when you return. Suggest everyone get a snack - sometimes low blood sugar makes people "grumpy". 
2. Ask the parties if they agree to set the issue aside temporarily and go on to something else - preferably an easier issue.
3. Ask the parties to explain their perspectives on why they appear to be at an impasse. Sometimes, the parties need to feel and focus consciously on their deadlock.
4. Ask the parties, "what would you like to do next?" and pause expectantly. Or, say, "frankly, it looks like we're really stuck on this issue. What do you think we should do?" These questions help the parties actively share the burden of the impasse.
5. Ask each party to describe his/her fears (but don't appear condescending and don't make them defensive). Really listen to what the party is saying. 
6. Try a global summary of both parties' sides and what they've said so far, "telescoping" the case so that the parties can see the part they're stuck on in overall context. Sometimes, the impasse issue will then seem less important.
7. Restate all the areas they have agreed to so far, praise them for their work and accomplishments, and validate that they've come a long way. Then, ask something like: "do you want to let all that get away from you?"
8. Ask the parties to focus on the ideal future; for example, ask each: "where would you like to be [concerning the matter in impasse] a year from now?" Follow the answers with questions about how they might get there.
9. Suggest a trial period or plan; e.g., "sometimes, folks will agree to try an approach for six months and then meet again to discuss how it's working."
10. Help the parties define what they need by developing criteria for an acceptable outcome. Say: "before we focus on the outcome itself, would you like to try to define the qualities that any good outcome should have?"
11. Be a catalyst. Offer a "what if" that is only marginally realistic or even a little wild, just to see if the parties' reactions gets them unstuck.
  12. Offer a model. Say: "sometimes, we see parties to this kind of dispute agree to something like the following . . . ."

13. Try role-reversal. Say: "if you were [the other party], why do you think your proposal wouldn't be workable?" or "if you were [the other party], why would you accept your proposal?"
14. Another role-reversal technique is to ask each party to briefly assume the other's role and then react to the impasse issue. You also can ask each party to be a "devil’s advocate" and argue against their own position.
15. Ask the parties if they would like to try an exercise to ensure they understand each other's position before mediation ends. Ask party A to state his/her position and why, ask party B to repeat what B heard, and then ask A if B's repetition is accurate. Repeat for B. Listen and look for opportunities to clarify.
16. Ask: "what would you be willing to offer if [the other party] agreed to accept your proposal?"
17. Use reality-checking. For example, "what do you think will happen if this goes to court?" Draw out the emotional, financial, and other costs of litigation and delay.
18. If all else fails, suggest (or threaten) ending the mediation. Parties who have invested in the mediation often won't want it to fail, and may suddenly come unstuck. This approach is useful where one party may be hanging on because he/she enjoys the attention the process provides, or enjoys the other party's discomfort.
19. Offer to do a "partial settlement".  
20. Offer to do a second session. Sometimes if people "sleep on it" resolution can easily be reached at the second session.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Adult Adoptees

Read my blog post of 9/2/2013 for more adult adoptee information!

Go to bottom of this page to see a bunch of websites to begin your search...

I opened my own adoption records over 13 years ago when my oncologist insisted I get my medical history when I learned I had breast cancer.

I have moved and I cannot find my file on everything I did - I keep hoping it will turn up but it's been 2 years and still missing - very frustrating!

If you were born in Texas, go the to State of Texas Department of State Health Services on-line. You can order a non-certified copy of your original birth certificate for around $10.

You can also call the Texas Department of State Health Services - they were very nice to me.

There was an adult adoptee location service that I used. Unfortunately, it did not connect me with my half-sister that was looking for me -- we were very close but both of us had some incorrect info so the agency did not match us.

There are many adult adoptee sites on the internet.  Some people have learned ways to find out info or people that will amaze you.

You can hire a skip-trace person to help you find "missing" people. If you find one with a lot of experience they won't tell you how they do it but they can find people -- even ones that are trying to hide. With the internet today it's hard to go off the radar.

Don't expect a lot of info in your adoption file. My file was very thin and did not contain a lot of information. Also, my birth parents lied a lot -- so a lot of the info was wrong! The man listed as bio dad was not bio dad -- so be prepared for anything!

I hope this information is helpful.

Be aware that some Texas judges will not open your sealed adoption file.

If you were adopted through an agency, there is a website to contact - even if the agency has gone out of business.

Being an adult adoptee is a journey filled with many twists and turns.  I encourage you to talk to people that have been in your shoes. Just because it worked for me does not mean that what I did will work for you - be creative and patient.  Good luck on your journey!

I "googled" Texas Adult Adoptee and here is what I found:

Warning: I have no idea who these groups are & have not visited every site listed. 

You need to try different search engines (yahoo, bing, google, etc. because each might be different.)

But I receive at least 2 calls a month from people just beginning their journey and this will be a good place to begin your searches.

  1. Adoption and Adult Adoptee Information - Texas Department ...

    Texas Department of State Health Services
    Oct 8, 2013 - General Information about adoption in Texas. ... processing time. Adult Adoptee Application for Non-Certified Copy of Original Birth Certificate.
  2. The Adoption Revolution Led by Adoptees Searching on the ...
    Here in Texas we have the Texas Coalition for Adoption Resources and Education ... Our first goal is to give adult adoptees a legal right to have a copy of their ...
  3. Resources for Adult Adoptees | Adoptionsbygladney

    The Gladney Center for Adoption
    Sep 24, 2011 - ... Your Page Too. On this page you will find resources of interest toadult adoptees: ... 6300 John Ryan Drive | Fort Worth, Texas 76132-4122.

  4. is a free site & it contains lots of Texas legal information.
  5. I recommend this site. 

  6. Adult Adoptees | Texas Free Legal Forms, Law, Pro Bono ...

    Adult Adoptees who were born in Texas can click on this link to the Texas Department of State Health Services to request a copy of their original birth certificate.
  7. Adoptees Meetups - Meetup

    This group is open to all members of the adoption adoptees, adoptive ... Welcome to the Texas Adoption Reunion and Support Group of Houston!
  9. STAR | Support Texas Adoptee Rights | Working to Restore ...

    We support legislation restoring to adult adoptees born in Texas, full access to their first medical record; their original, factual and unaltered certificates of birth.
  10. AAAFC A site by adoptees, for adoptees.

    Feb 9, 2015 - Is this why it's often so hard for reunions to work for both sides with us caught in the middle even as adults? Because the arents are given first ...
  11. Adult Adoptees in Texas - Opening Adoption Records - Fran ...

    Sep 2, 2013 - Adult Adoptees in Texas - Opening Adoption Records. Update January, 2015: A couple of people have emailed me that the suggestions I made ...
  12. Adoption group supports bill to access original birth certificates

    Jan 19, 2015 - He is part of the nonprofit Adoption Knowledge Affiliates, which supportsadult adoptees from Texas to be able to easily get their hands on ...
  13. Adoptee Rights | Facebook
    Support Texas Adoptee Rights STAR is heading to the capitol today for .... 352, which if passed would give adult adoptees from Indiana's “closed records” period ...
  14. Forum | AAAFC

    Adult Adoptees Advocating for Change is an adoptee-centered support forum. This forum was created by adoptees, and is owned, administered and moderated ...
  15. Forum - AAAFC

    Adult Adoptees.Org is an adoptee-centric support forum. We strive to meet the needs of the adoptee first with support, understanding, friendship and more than a ...
  16. AAAFC A site by adoptees, for adoptees.

    Feb 9, 2015 - Once we are adults, it seems so wrong to still have to carry the original ..... to join the forum so that she could hopefully help her adopted son to ...
  17. Adult Adoptees - Forums

    Adult Adoptees - Find support and encouragement for issues concerning adult adoptees.
  18. Adoptee Support - Forums
    ... Needs & Attachment Forums · Search & Reunion Forums · Adult Adoptees Forums· Birth Parents Forums ... Threads in Forum : Adoptee Support, Forum Tools ...
  19. Adoption family tree search. Adopted? Find birth parents.

    I'm an adoptee searching for a birth family member. ... FORUMS ... I am an adult adoptee, aged 55, who found my birth family 5 years ago, unfortunately too late ...
  20. POSITIVE Adult Adoptee Support (birth, options, parents, stories ... › ... › General Forums › Parenting › Adoption
    Oct 6, 2012 - 10 posts - ‎8 authors
    Any adult adoptees who feel their lives have been positively influenced by adoption please post your stories here. Adoption can be a Blessing.
  21. I Was Adopted | Group with Personal Stories, Forums and ...

    Were You Adopted? Join 3403 friendly people sharing 736 true stories in the I WasAdopted group. Find forums, advice and chat with groups who share this life ...
  22. [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: When an adoptee says: I'm not ...

    Feb 26, 2014 - As late as 1960, some forty percent of the states still had laws on the books recognizing "an unrestricted right of adult adoptees to inspect their ...
  23. AAAFC A site by adoptees, for adoptees.

    Feb 9, 2015 - Once we are adults, it seems so wrong to still have to carry the original lie around if .... The first hit on a Google search for adoptee support is often ... how lucky and grateful they were, like it was part of the culture of the group.
  24. Adult Adoptees Resources - Band Back Together

    Joining Support Groups - local, national and international support groups exist foradult adoptees everywhere. These support groups are a wonderful place to ...
  25. Adult Adoptees « Center for Adoption Support and Education


    Center for Adoption Support and Education C.A.S.E.
    Adult Adoptees. In the adoption community, we say “Adoption is a lifelong journey.” Being adopted can have a significant impact on a person's life at any age.
  26. 10 Things Adoptees Want You to Know | Lesli Johnson

    The Huffington Post
    Jan 11, 2013 - Only eight states in the U.S. allow adult adoptees access to their ... can find connection through support groups, interaction with other adoptees ...
  27. Services-Adoption-Post Adoption - Catholic Charities of the ...

    Adult Adoptee and Birthmother Search Services. Counseling. Birth parent support group. Search and Reunion Support Group. Adoption Day Camp (ages 6-12 ...
  28. Texas Adoption Reunion and Support of Houston ... - Meetup

    Oct 11, 2014 - Welcome to the Texas Adoption Reunion and Support Group of Houston! We are a diverse group of adult adoptees, birthparents and adoptive ...
  29. Adoptees Meetups - Meetup

    Welcome to the Texas Adoption Reunion and Support Group of Houston! We are a diverse group of adult adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents who are ...
  30. [PDF]Support Groups - American Adoption Congress

    Apr 4, 2012 - Support Groups. 1. Last Updated on April 4, 2012. ALABAMA. Birth Parents/Adult Adoptees Group. Birmingham, AL. Audrey Derevenko, LCSW.

  31. Adoption Support Group: Young Adult Adoptees - Adoptive ... › Groups

    Home > Groups > Young Adult Adoptees. National Adoption Directory. Find an Adoption Agency. By Country, U.S., Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan ...

  32. This is an article from the website 
  34. look under "family" and click adoption link -- 
  35. Lots of info on this website including suggested forms!


  37. In Texas, courts must seal adoption records. But sometimes, people can show good reasons why the records should be opened to them. Only the adopted child or an immediate relative to the adopted child can ask for access to the sealed records. The request, called an Application, should be filed with the District Clerk in the county where the adoption took place. You must sign the Application in front of a notary. Because the release of adoption information has long been considered a highly emotional issue, the Court may require you to undergo counseling before the records are released to you. Depending on circumstances in your case, the Court may order that the records be released to an Adoption Intermediary, who can pursue contact with other parties on your behalf. If the Court orders that an Intermediary be appointed in your case, you will be responsible for the Intermediary’s fees The judge will usually honor your request to have a specific counselor or intermediary appointed. It is a good idea to have discussed fees with a counselor or intermediary, and have one in mind before you go to see the judge. You will also be responsible for any fees associated with copying the sealed records in your case. When you complete your Application, be as specific as you can be in explaining why you need access to the sealed records. After you complete the Application and Order, make a copy for your records. File the original in the county where the adoption took place. Ask the clerk how to set a hearing for your Application. In some counties, you may be able to see a judge the same day you file your Application. This is not possible in all counties. When your case is called before the judge, walk up to the judge’s bench. Stand close enough for the judge to hear you. Remember not to lean against the judge’s bench. The judge will swear you in, asking you to tell the truth, and then ask you some questions about your situation. Be prepared to answer the judge in a courteous, honest, and respectful manner. After the judge has heard your testimony and reviewed your case, s/he will make a decision about whether or not you can have access to the information you requested. If the judge grants your request, and allows the information to be released directly to you, ask the District Clerk to make a certified copy of the order you have requested, along with a certified copy of the Order Regarding Access to Termination and Adoption Records. If the judge allows you to have access through an Intermediary, you will have to contact the Intermediary. You should ask the District Clerk to make a certified copy of the Order Regarding Access to Termination and Adoption Records to give to the Intermediary. You might want to make a copy for yourself, as well. The Clerk’s office usually charges a fee for certified copies. 

  38. Keep in mind, the judge might tell you s/he can’t give you access to the records. The judge has sole discretion to decide whether or not you are entitled access to the records.