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Becoming a grandparent is a status many parents hope to achieve someday. You long to see your child look at their child like you’ve looked at them for years. You pray you raised them right, so they can teach their children all you’ve taught them. You look forward to watching your children become the parents you knew they could be.

For Birth Grandparents

But what happens when your child makes the decision to choose adoption for their child?

This may be your first grandchild. Adoption is emotional and can be overwhelming for everyone involved. Birth grandparents often feel conflicted; their support and love for their child may be at odds with the fear of the unknown of the adoption process. This is normal.

Before you can help your child during the adoption process, you need to come to terms with your own feelings. It is okay to be sad and to grieve the upcoming changes in your child’s life, as well as your own.

  1. One way to help you manage your emotions during this confusing time is to seek counseling. There are many support groups dedicated to families going through the adoption process, including birth grandparents. Find a group or individual counselor who can help you work through the potential feeling of loss you may have for your grandchild. After you have come to terms with your emotions, you can begin to focus on helping your child during this time.
  2. Take time to educate yourself on modern open adoption. Rarely are domestic infant adoptions closed. Your child’s adoption agency can walk you through the entire process so you know what to expect. Go with your child when they visit the adoptive family. Get to know them so you can feel comfortable knowing your grandchild will be with a very loving and grateful family. Nurturing this relationship will allow you to keep in touch and be in your grandchild’s life for as long as you like.

Watching your child choose adoption for your grandchild can be difficult. But you should also take solace in the fact that they are showing such bravery and love in choosing a wonderful home for their child. With open adoption, this is not where your birth grandchild’s story ends. It is only the beginning.

For Adoptive Grandparents

You have just heard you will be a grandparent through adoption. Your mind is flooded with emotion. You have a lot of fears. What you know about adoption is limited from the media. Hopefully you are also excited about being a grandparent. You want to be encouraging, supportive and fall in love with your grandchild. You feel you need some answers and wonder how to express your concerns.

  1. Begin by listening to how the decision was made and ask questions about the process. You can mention what you know is from the media and, therefore, have concerns. Ask your child who they have spoken to and who will guide them through the legal process. You can ask how long it will take and how old the child will be when placed into their home. You can also research adoption and adopting parenting by talking to others or looking on the Internet.
  2. You may also ask if there is anything you can do to help, but respect the need for privacy and settle in for an “adoptive pregnancy” of any length in time. Depending on the type of adoption, some happen in 2 weeks, others take several years.
  3. As you get closer to the birth or arrival of the child, imagine your child as a parent and you as a grandparent. Start thinking about holding your new grandchild, taking them to the museum or park, and celebrating family holidays with a child at the table. If you live far away, learn how to Skype and view photos on-line.
Grandparents wait for the day they can show off their grandchild. They don’t say “meet my adopted grandchild.” They say “Meet my grandchild.” Grandparents who accept the adopted child as one of their own, enjoy the time they spend together and delight in their daily accomplishments. They watch their children develop parent skills and rejoice in the expansion of the family.
Even if you are nervous about the process, chances are you will fall in love once you see your grandchild or it is placed in your arms. Your reaction and interaction will influence your relationship with your own child. If you are nervous about the adoption discuss it with your child before the adoption takes place.
No matter how they became a part of the family, grandchildren are a blessing. Congratulations!
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