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Grandparents in Adoption

starfish-insideTomorrow’s all Adoption Meeting (7pm at the Karl Road Library) is about grandparents. We have a couple of birth grandparents who regularly attend meetings and hopefully they’ll be there tomorrow night.

Back when I was running Open Adoption Support, (which, by the way, I’ve handled over to the fabulous Heather.PNR) we got lots of emails from grandparents. This is a population that is nearly invisible and terribly under-served. Not that birth families in general get enough services (because they don’t) but there is really nothing out there for birth grandparents.

Here in Central Ohio there is the Kinship Network, which exists to support families who are caring for relatives’ children. I’m not sure how active it is (I had a client trying to track down someone to call her back so she could get some direction/help but she never heard from anyone) but it’s not for families who are dealing with adoption fall-out.

Grandparents, like parents, are generally ill-prepared for the level of grief that comes with losing a family’s child to adoption. Even when adoption is truly the best choice and truly supported by the birth family, it’s still a major loss. Grandparents and other extended family members have their own issues of grief, guilt, regret and sadness.

The circumstances around the adoption complicate matters. Grandparents may have pushed the adoption and are now overwhelmed with guilt as they see their children struggling with the loss. Or they may have wanted to step up and parent themselves only to be pushed out of the decision or have realized that their wants don’t come into play. Or they may be revisiting their frustration, anger and sadness for other choices of their adult children, which made the adoption inevitable.

Anyway, that’s what tomorrow’s meeting is about (and not just the experience of birth grandparents but also of adoptive grandparents). I hope to see you there!

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  1. Hope you had a great participating crowd! Open adoptions are absolutely wonderful. The participation of all family members offers an adopted child the best mental support it can hope for. Being given up for adoption is bad, but knowing the players in the birth family will give the child a much healthier sense of self. Because I knew my birth family, (in spite of all the confusion in later years) my mental stability and perception of self have always been strong.

    Your work is of great service.

    • Hi Catana! Unfortunately it was a small group BUT it was a productive one so maybe that’s a good thing. Your insight is a blessing — I’m going to go add your site to my feedreader. :)


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