Lighthouse Thoughts

September 11, 2011

Grandparents and Adoption

 

   How do my parents or in-laws view adoption?  Will they accept him as part of the family? Will they view my child differently or treat her different than the other grandchildren? These are all legitimate concerns that prospective adoptive parents have. Even when grandparents are “on board” with the adoption of a grandchild it is easily to be apprehensive about  
   Often these pre-adoption jitters are based in concern for their own child, the adoptive parent, getting hurt. Most grandparents quickly overcome any obstacles or anxieties once they say they meet and see the interaction between parent and child. Family bonds are forged by an adoption decree, but the act of parenting and grand parenting strengthens and solidifies those bonds.  Family traditions should include the adopted child regardless of his age at the time of adoption.
            Grandparents should spend quality time getting to know the child and it is important for them to understand the complex issues of adoption.  The following tips should help adoptive parents prepare grandparents for their new role:
Adoptive Parents should

 

1.      Talk openly and honestly about adoption. Try to clarify any misunderstandings.
2.      Teach Grandparents positive adoption language, example: birthmother versus natural or real mother.
3.      Teach grandparents how to respond to adoption questions. 
4.      Remind Grandparents that certain details about an adoption are private, and that they should limit the information that they share with others.
5.      If the child is of a different race or culture, try to incorporate cultural traditions or holidays to be included along with other family traditions.
6.      Help them understand that non-traditional or different parenting techniques may be necessary. Especially one that are designed towards bonding and attachment, or logical consequences.
7.      Educate grandparents about the adoption process.

 

Grandparents should:

 

1.      Continue to follow any family tradition to include the newly adopted child.
2.      Treat all grandchildren equally. This includes not only forms of discrimination but also an over emphasize on being ‘special”
3.      Find positive traits it their grandchild and enjoy getting to know them.
4.      Brag about them: it is a grandparents right to do so.
5.      Take pictures and show them off.
6.      Recognize that any child that is adopted trans-racially will experience prejudice and be prepared for it.
7.      Recognize that the child is a permanent member of the family. Acknowledge familiar family traits: he walks like Uncle David, she her Mother’s laugh.

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