Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Dear Sugar: Helping Future Grandparents Understand Adoption

Dear Sugar,

Let's talk about g-parents.

When you announce that you are choosing to build your family by adoption, you may be met with a myriad of responses. Excitement, fear, hope, ignorance, elation, doubt. ALL of these reactions are normal, because adoption is a BIG deal.  And because though you have made your decision, had some time to simmer in the adoption world, they are brand new to adoption, to adoption feelings, and to all sorts of other things like terminology, timelines, and the process.  
So I want you to be ready to do two things for those dear future grandparents.

Purchase and hand them two incredibly helpful books, written just for them!   IN ON IT (by Elisabeth O'Toole) and Adoption is a Family Affair (Patricia Irwin Johnston).  Both of these books are highly regarded in the adoption community.  

Why hand them these two books?   So they can learn at their own pace, reference the books time and time again, and have resources in hand that speak directly to their feelings, concerns, questions, and joys.   

Then I want you to get them one of those super cheesy "grandparent" picture frames.  Fill the window with a short love-note about how you can't wait to give them a photo of their grandbaby one day. Thank them for supporting you.   Write something from the heart.  

Revisit the adoption conversation often with the future grandparents.  What questions do they have?  Concerns?  What are they looking forward to?  Do they need you to provide more resources like articles, favorite blog posts, or even meet with another grandparent who already has an adoptee in his or her family?  

Being proactive is so important!  Just like you, grandparents need time and education in order to understand adoption and be the best possible support to the adoptee.  

Let me know on our Facebook page:  what other books, articles, blog posts, etc. would you add to my list of must-read resources for grandparents?  

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