Sometimes when birthmoms are making adoption plans, we don’t fully realize the impact that placing a child for adoption will have on our entire family. Yes, we are losing our motherhood in the typical sense but a birthmom’s parents are also losing something; a typical grandparent/grandchild relationship. In some open adoptions now, birth grandparents can be included and also see the child. However there is still a loss and a grieving process for birth grandparents.
For Birth Grandparents in Open Adoptions
How can birth grandparents be involved?
It depends on the parties involved in the adoption agreement and is ideally discussed before the adoption takes place. Birth grandparents can be included at visits, receive pictures, be invited to birthday parties and other events, etc. Sometimes it takes time to develop a relationship and for the birth grandparents to become involved. In some cases, a birthmom may decide that the open adoption relationship is too difficult for her at the time and the birth grandparents step in so that the child still has a connection to his or her birth family.
What should the child call his/her birth grandparents?
Again this is something that should be discussed with the adoptive parents and beforehand if at all possible. In some cases, children may call their birth grandparents “grandma” or “grandpa” or whatever term it is that the other grandkids (if the child is not the first) call them. In other cases, he or she may just refer to them by their first name. It depends largely on the comfort level of the people involved with various terms.
For Birth Grandparents in All Types of Adoption
Birth grandparents do grieve just as we do and therefore, support is beneficial to them as well. There are not a lot of resources out there specifically for birth grandparents but here are a few we found below.
- Supporting Birthparents http://www.openadopt.org/images/uploads/supporting-birthparents.pdf
- Branches of the Family Tree http://www.openadopt.org/about-us/open-adoption-stories/full/branches-of-the-family-tree
- Grandparents in Open Adoptions http://birthfamily.adoption.com/birth-parents/grandparents-in-open-adoption-2.html
- Birth Grandparents Experience http://www.openadopt.org/birthparents/birth-grandparents/birth-grandparents-experience/
- Can a Child have too many Grandmas? http://www.openadoptioninsight.org/html/too_many_grandmas_.html