Adopting a child affects not only the immediate family, but the extended family as well. If you are in the early stages of considering adoption, you might want to speak with your parents about their feelings on the subject. Of course, your choices are your own, but having the support of extended family is an important step to a successful adoption experience.
If your parents live close, why not invite them over for an evening meal and heart- to- heart discussion? Let them in on the journey you and your spouse have been on. If they are not aware of infertility issues, explain what you have been through. Have you had any miscarriages that they are not aware of? Tell them! Share the feelings it has brought up in you.
Be honest with them about your plans for adoption. Explain what that will mean to them (as future grandparents). Adopted children have the same legal and inheritance rights as biological children. If you are working with Lifetime Adoption, show them the literature and website. Explain the open adoption process with them and answer any questions they might have honestly and openly.
Having the support and blessing of extended family can make adopting a baby much easier. Your parents and in-laws might be willing to financially assist you to reach your goal. They can be a wealth of emotional support as well as a consistent and safe babysitting resource.
Grandparents of adopted children need to understand their important role in the family. Multi-generational ties are vital to a child’s sense of self-esteem and well-being. Children instinctively know when they have the full acceptance of their grandparents. They sense the warm and comforting love that binds extended family members together.
If you and your spouse are determined to adopt without your parent’s blessing, then you must limit access to your children in order to protect them emotionally. This is a very important decision and can have wide reaching affects. Most parents are more than willing and eager to take on the grandparent role. Just make sure you are aware how they feel and to what level they are willing to involve themselves in your family’s life. Put your child’s feelings at the top of your list. Shelter them from anyone in your life that is not fully supportive of your decision to adopt.
It would be helpful to other adoptive parents to hear about your experience (good or bad). How did you handle it? How did you share the news of your adoption to your extended family? If you have already adopted, how do you involve the grandparents in your child’s life? Is there anything you wish you had done or said in the beginning stages? Do you have any advice for those couples that are just starting the process? Share your comments!