For many soon-to-be grandparents, adoption can feel unfamiliar. Waiting for a new child to join the family is always exciting, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have questions.
If you will become a grandparent through adoption in the near future, you may wonder what you can do to prepare for the journey. It is sure to be exciting and joyous, and the preparations you make now can make the adjustment from parent to grandparent all the more exciting.
The Concerns & Fears of New Grandparents
Whether it’s for the first time or the 20th, becoming a grandparent comes with fears and concerns. You are not alone in having whatever emotions you feel.
Let’s take a look at the story of a woman named Anna. Anna learned she was becoming a grandparent for the first time after her daughter and son-in-law announced they were adopting a newborn. They simply had to wait for three months, when the baby was due.
While Anna was exhilarated by the news, some fears crept into her mind. What if the birth parents changed their minds after the baby was born? Would she be able to develop a strong bond with this new little baby? How could she make sure that she showed her new grandchild real love and acceptance?
These are all normal questions, and you may find that you have some of these concerns yourself. The following tips will aid you in your journey.
Education Is Important
Education can provide a lot of perspective about adoption for grandparents. Grandparents often feel less knowledgeable about adoption because they don’t typically attend the educational programs that hopeful adoptive parents attend. The good news? There are a lot of books, blogs, and videos about the process.
Learn the Language
One of the first things you might notice by reading is the language people use when they discuss adoption. A lot has changed over the years, and adoption has taken on a new shape. For example, many people prefer to use phrases like “birth family” and “birth mother” instead of “real family” and “real mother.” Using your child’s preferred terminology can help you build a loving repertoire about the adoption process.
Understand Open Adoption
Open adoption is another concept you should take some time to read about. In the last few decades, open adoption has become much more common than it once was. Open adoption has been beneficial for helping children build a positive sense of self, self-esteem, and identity.
Communication is Key
If you still have questions after reading books about adoption or watching videos, communication will be crucial. Many of your concerns can be debunked or calmed by simply speaking with your family about your hopes, fears, and ideas. Asking questions helps you build a stronger relationship with your child and your future grandchild.
An Undefined Timeline
You may not know exactly when a new child will join the family. You don’t have the same timeline that comes with pregnancy. In today’s open adoptions, the birth mother chooses the adoptive parents for her child. Your child and his or her spouse will present themselves to potential birth parents through their adoption profile, website, and video. Once they pique the interest of a birth mother, they will have a conversation over the phone and decide whether they’d like to go forward with an adoption match. So, you could be waiting just a few weeks for a new little one, or you might be waiting for a year or more.
This lack of control over the situation can leave you with a lot of emotions. It can be exhausting at times, and you may not feel comfortable bringing up these feelings with your child. Fortunately, support groups and therapy can provide a lot of help during this time of uncertainty.
Let Your Child Take the Reins
It can be hard to let go during the adoption process. You love your child, and it is natural that you are taking on a protective role. You don’t want your child to experience heartbreak, and you want to help them make the right decision.
Just as it can be stressful for somebody to ask for frequent pregnancy or fertility updates, it can also be stressful for a prospective parent to be asked for adoption updates. Rest assured, knowing that if your child has news, he or she will share it with you. Follow the lead of your child, offering what is asked for when you can.
Provide Loving Support
Although it is important to allow your child to take control of the process, it does not mean you do not have a loving and critical role in becoming a grandparent.
As a future grandparent, you can provide support and guidance to your child. Provide a shoulder to lean on and an ear to vent to. Adoption can be a difficult and stressful process, but it is also one that is worth the reward. As a parent, you know the rewards that come with raising a child.
Adoption resources are available for those who seek answers about the process. Grandparents should not feel powerless throughout the process.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”