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Encouragement for adoptive grandparents Four readers offer their advice, following a letter in our August issue from a reader worried about what it would be like when her daughter and son-in-law adopted a child.

I don’t have to worry about putting my foot in it and speaking out of turn. I tell them all about their granddad, who is with the Lord, and

their great-gran and granddad who used to fly Spitfires during the war. I also talk about myself and mummy when she was a little girl. In fact, I forget that they have been adopted and often compare them to their mummy and uncle when they were their age and getting up to mischief! So I would say to Jean, don’t worry, just love them and accept it

Experience from both sides I have lived with adoption my entire life. My elder sister and

brother were adopted, separately, before my parents conceived me. As a young married, I then adopted my daughter, and more recently, have become Granny on the birth of her first, then second child. The issue for me was not about love, but how I would practically be able to support my daughter, having never been pregnant, given birth, or cared for new-borns. And therein lies another story! But to answer Jean’s question. From my personal experience, and also that of my mother, who has both adopted and conceived children, bonding with a child does not only come about because you give birth to them (or in turn, your own children give birth to your grandchildren), but because they are your children (and grandchildren). My mother had to deal with many naïve, hurtful comments, as

I have also faced on occasion. One relative on hearing that she was pregnant, having already adopted my brother and sister, said, “Now you’ll really know what it’s like to be a mother.” Such words could only arise from someone who has no understanding or experience of the emotional bonds of adoption. As for my mother, she would say, as one experienced from both sides of the discussion, “I was determined to love the others more than you. I know that sounds silly, but I was determined they wouldn’t miss out. In reality, I didn’t have to make myself do anything, motherhood is motherhood regardless of whether you’ve carried and given birth, and I naturally loved them all equally.” I totally agree. Furthermore, I was overwhelmed by the love I

felt when I held my first grandson. I love my daughter as deeply as any mother. It is only natural I suppose, that I should therefore feel such a deep love and attachment to her children too, just as you will when her adopted children become your grandchildren. In which case you will you have no worries of ‘putting your foot in it’ as you described in your letter. Anne, Worcestershire

I love my grandchildren I’m an adoptive grandma to two adorable children: a brother and

sister aged five and three. When my daughter told me she couldn’t have children but was

going to adopt, I was very apprehensive. Like Jean, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to love them or that they would dislike me, but I bonded with them immediately and took them to my heart. I now feel that they are mine and part of my family, and my

family belongs to them. They have already been told that they are adopted and specially chosen to be ours and part of our family, so

42 October 2015 womanalive

back in return. Sherrie, Billingham

My grandparents were wonderful I felt very moved by Jean’s letter about wanting help with

becoming an adoptive grandparent and as an adoptive child who was blessed with wonderful grandparents, I would like to encourage her and others. The greatest gift I received from both my adoptive grandmothers was their faith in Christ. Without them, I am not sure how long it would have taken me to find the Lord! I also think adoptive grandparents brought me great stability as they were there regularly and were often a source of wisdom and support as I grew up. I know from my mum and dad that being an adoptive parent

can be very challenging, particularly when children come home from school and have been made to feel ‘different’ in some way. As an adoptive grandparent, you can be someone who can show Christ’s unconditional love to children who may have had a challenging start in life. Adoptive children, even in the most loving adoptive home as

I had, can often feel anxious about not being good enough, and grandparents are so important because you can support through visits and perhaps going to see the child doing something at school if you live near enough. Don’t worry about being a straight talker. I grew up when adoption was not something to be talked about but thankfully those days have largely gone. Above all, Jean, please pray for your adoptive grandchildren – my granny once said it took 16 years of prayer before I became a Christian, but she never gave up! Katharine, Sheffield

I loved him instantly Our daughter and son-in-law adopted a little boy when he

was two and a half years old. After our first meeting, he waved goodbye and said “bye bye gama” and I fell instantly in love with him. Life was not easy for his new parents. After a ‘honeymoon’ period when he was well-behaved, the bad behaviours started. His parents took this to mean that he felt secure enough to push the boundaries! He is now 11 and a well-rounded boy, who still causes his parents a few problems like all children do. Unless they are adopted as tiny babies, most children who

are put up for adoption have had trauma or lack of love in their early lives. Their early behaviour can be due to their deep-seated, forgotten treatment and may require counselling when they are older. To see a child who has had a bad start in life through no fault of their own, happy and secure in a loving family makes it all worthwhile. Margaret, Leamington Spa

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