Becoming a grandparent is something that many people look forward to. More and more, we are seeing women who decide to place the baby with their own parents (the baby’s grandparents) to be raised. But what happens if the grandparents who have agreed to raise the baby end up not being able to for the long term? Or decide they don’t want to?
We have helped many grandparents who want to consider an open adoption for their grandchild. Adoptive families are open to maintaining extended family relationships with them through open adoption. This is often the reassurance that birth grandparents need as they explore their options in adoption.
Here are two tips for grandparents considering placing their grandchild for adoption.
#1: Identify your feelings.
Raising a child is a big job. Grandparents know; they’ve already done it! There are many positive emotions, such as love and joy, in seeing children grow and learn new things.
Starting over with a child you weren’t planning on raising later in life brings mixed emotions. You want to help your child and grandchild, but this may not be how you imagined your golden years. Grandparents are older this time around and may not have the energy or stamina to keep up with a growing child. And if you are on a fixed income, a child will definitely affect what you are able to do financially.
You may have other feelings, such as resentment, fear, stress, and anger. It can be hard to admit because it is your own family. It is important to acknowledge all the feelings that you are experiencing, both negative and positive. Your feelings are an important part of the process as you consider if you wish to be the primary parent for your grandchild for the long term.
#2: Identify what’s best for the child.
As a grandparent, it is likely that you didn’t expect to raise a baby at this stage in your life. Babies take a lot of physical, emotional, and financial resources that can be overpowering at times. Look ahead 5, 10, 15 years…the resources needed don’t diminish. In fact, they increase. Examine your resources, energy level, overall health, and help that you have.
Are you, at your current age and place in life, able to be the active parents that this child needs and deserves? Do you want to start over with little league or dance? Can you afford the things you want for this child on a fixed income? Sometimes after thinking through these things and processing them, birth grandparents decide that placing their grandchild with a young family in an open adoption is best.
The beauty of open adoption is that you can look at and talk to waiting parents before you decide to move forward. You can discuss what the future looks like in regards to ongoing contact and communication. You can ask, if you wish, to still be grandparents.
It’s common to feel as if you are failing your child and your grandchild. It’s good to remember that biology does not make a family; love does. Choosing adoption may be a choice to give your grandchild more than you are able to. And sometimes, it simply is the best option to place the child into a loving, ready, and active adoptive family.
An open adoption is a great option for birth grandparents. It is an option that gives the child a bright future full of love and opportunity for success while maintaining contact.
Open adoptions allow for you to keep in contact with your grandchild after the adoption takes place. This requires an agreement with the adoptive family, and we’ve seen it work quite well for many years.
With open adoptions, grandparents can remain involved in the child’s life and possibly continue to invest in their growth and development. Open adoptions are incredibly beneficial for this reason, and they also give adoptive families a way to stay up to date on their adoptive child’s medical and family history, should any questions or issues arise.
Feelings of Separation and Loss
Birth grandparents who choose to place their grandchild for adoption, giving baby a chance at a new life, will still likely experience feelings of grief, separation, and loss. It is normal to mourn not being able to raise the child and not being able to experience every day and phase of life with them.
However, understand that a choice for open adoption gives grandparents a deeper sense of peace because they know they can still stay in touch through visits, phone calls, and more.
Choosing adoption is a selfless decision that requires bravery. If you have decided that you want to move ahead with the open adoption process with a family outside of your home, our caring and experienced team of adoption coordinators can help.
Lifetime Adoption’s expert, caring, and experienced adoption coordinators will gladly answer your questions and talk through your feelings with you so you can ensure you are making the right choice.
We’re happy to work with birth grandparents and birth families from all walks of life. We understand that you are making a choice that is best for your grandchild’s health and well-being. We are here to provide adoption support.
To speak with a compassionate adoption specialist, contact Lifetime Adoption agency today. We’ll discuss adoption plans, building a relationship with adoptive families, and so much more. We’re just a phone call or a text message away, at 1-800-923-6784.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.