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ElizabethAnn

Research: No contrast in grandparenting of bio-offspring vs. adopted kids

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In case there was any question, here's good news from the researchers at the University of Haifa, compliments of NewsWise. Their study concluded that there's no difference in the grandparenting of children regardless of whether they are born or adopted into a family.

They did, however, identify 5 stages in the development of emotional relationships between grandparents and their adopted grandkids:

1) Grandparent views child as solution to son or daughter's infertility crisis

2) Grandparent rationalizes adoption as the "saving" of a child in need

3) Grandparent develops superficial emotional connection with child

4) Grandparent accepts child as integral part of a multi-generational family

5) Grandparents' fully-formed connection to child is achieved; may increase grandparents' fears that child's interest in birthfamily may threaten child's future connection to adoptive family (indicative of grandparents' emotional dependence on child as significant relative.)

Which raises the question: what can be done to enhance the bonding and attachment process between grandparents and the children their sons or daughters adopt? Clearly, it would be helpful to involve the grandparents-to-be in some open adoption education, to decrease their apprehension of birthparents' role, thereby enhancing their grandchild's sense of security and self, as well...

Any ideas or input from the been-there, done-that crowd?

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One of the things that has helped Dante's Grand-parents accept our open adoption and ongoing relationships with Dante's Birthparent's is meeting them personally. We still have a ways to go in building that relationship due to distance, infrequent visits etc., but still working on it. I would love for my parents or Marcelo's to attend Camp Abrazo one day, so they can see the adoption community in action first hand. Exposure and education is key. I mention Stephanie and Whitney in casual conversation often. I talk about the connections Dante has to his Birthparent's that are so important to us, such as his culture, race, personality and physical traits. That way, they don't forget what an integral part of our family they have become.

Edited by MarceloandClaudia

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Very interesting.....I hadn't really ever thought of this - there has never seemed to be any sort of bonding issue or any difference between my mom and Kayleigh (Lance's mom is just so far away, in England, it's really hard to know how things really are with her - but at least she seems as though she totally accepts Kayleigh - of course, Kayleigh is her only grand-child also).

I hate to speak for my mom but I guess I will - I'll have to get her to read this sometime though when she's at my house and get her to express her own thoughts as well. My mom did not really support our infertility treatment efforts - she began pushing adoption very early on - she did NOT want me to do in-vitro (the hormones made her nervous) and she had a friend whose daughter and son-in-law had such a wonderful experience adopting their son (through Abrazo), she begged me for 4 years to call that agency in San Antonio that Michelle had used. She was so relieved when I called her to ask for the number - so, adoption was always her "first choice" for how our family should be built anyway. My cousins were adopted (my dad's sister and her husband adopted their 2 children) and so my mom always saw them as members of our family who belonged in our family - she just never had any hang-ups really with adoption. She never really had any fears of birthparents - perhaps because her daughter (i.e. me :) ) is one - I mean, I don't think she was quite as educated/fearless as I was with regards to open adoption, etc and she has learned a lot along the way through me - but she's also been open to learning about it - and I've been armed with good information on it compliments of you guys (Abrazo) so it's been easy to explain things to her, answer her questions, reassure her, etc. Now, she's very excited about open adoption and I wouldn't say she finds the lack of contact with Kayleigh's birthfamily as frustrating as I do but she does have a strong desire as well to have them in our lives and more importantly, in Kayleigh's life.

There is a very, very, very strong bond between my mom and Kayleigh - my mom even tells me that she never thought she could love a child as much as she loved me...until Kayleigh came along - and I don't know what it is exactly, but the connection between my mom and Kayleigh is deep and thick and mutual. My oldest sister also shares a very strong connection with Kayleigh - we never planned it this way but both my mom and oldest sister were very involved in the process when we rec'd the call about Kayleigh - I was actually with them and not Lance when that call happened. Lance was in Seattle and I was in Dallas with them - so they experienced that first 24 hours with me, every high, every low, every twist, every turn - it was them that I went through it with - not so much with Lance - they were sitting right there when the call came in the first time - they were sitting right with me when the call came the second time, the next day when we learned that Kayleigh was in fact going to be placed with us - so they felt very, very emotionally invested in the process - my other sister, was being kept informed on the phone but it wasn't the same as actually being with me like Stacy and my mom were. Then, again - we didn't plan this but I went to Austin to be with Kayleigh when we got the "okay" and Lance arrived later that night - unfortunately, he had to fly back to Seattle to get back to work shortly after placement/paperwork signed because we had just returned from a 2 week vacation a few days before getting the call about Kayleigh. Kayleigh had to stay in Austin in the NICU and I stayed with her - I thought I could do it alone and I was trying to be strong but I realized, a few hours after he left how much I needed someone with me - I called my mom and she flew to Austin that day and stayed with me the rest of the time - she was with me and Kayleigh in the NICU every day, every night. We stayed in the same room at the Ronald McDonald House - she rocked with me, she was my rock and we experienced that week or so together - the three of us - so again, my mom was very emotionally invovled and I depended on her - as did my baby girl, for emotional support.

It helps too I think that my mom and Kayleigh share a birthday - my mom is convinced it's no accident that they share a birthday - my mom says all of our beloved relatives in heaven knew we needed our Kayleigh in our lives - and just to make sure we all knew they had a hand in it, they chose my mom (and sister's) birthday to give us a sign. My mom just feels as though Kayleigh has always been who our child was supposed to be - people my mom worked with before she fully retired were always surprised to find out that Kayleigh is actually my mom's 7th grand-child - not her first because of how much my mom talks about Kayleigh (the other grand-kids are all grown - that was another big thing I think when Kayleigh came along, there hadn't been a baby in the family for 17 years - and my mom was soooo ready at that point to be a grand-mother again).

Very interesting though - I'll try to remember to have her come back to this and add anything I may not have thought about.

Lisa

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Great topic...

This makes me smile as I remember my Moms first visit after Camille's placement. She told me to take it easy and not lift that box. I looked at her in question and she laughed and said, I'm sorry Nita, I keep forgetting you didn't just give birth.

I know that Camille and my Mom have a special relationship that is bonded. Camille is at ease with my Mom and can do almost anything I can without Camille's protest. Even with all the miles that separate us, I chalk it up to familiarity of the love she knows through me. She's Maw-Maw's baby too, just like all her other grandchildren.

The other evidence that has come up several times is; when I mention our birthfamily to my family. They have each told me that they forget Camille is adopted and has extended family. Yet, prays for our Bparents peace and comfort. Camille is not treated any different than the bio-kids. My brothers make a point to give her extra special attention as she is the baby. She just gets the top seat on their shoulders while they play with all the other kids. She loves it!

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Prior to the adoption of our first daughter, I remember my mom saying to me, "This is so hard for me to admit, but I'm scared that I may not love an adopted grandchild the same way I do Joseph" (my brother's newborn baby -- the first grandchild). Although it kind of hurt that she said it out loud to me, I was (and am) appreciative of the fact that she felt involved enough in our quest for a family that she could share her concerns and fears too. Not to worry though -- all it took was for us to walk in the doorway that first time with Brittany in our arms and there was NO separating the two of them! In fact, I would even venture to say that, today, both my mom and dad feel closer to my children than to their other six biological grandchildren. The love is definitely there!

Although George's parents are now deceased, they were in their early '80's when we first adopted. Prior to Brittany's arrival, I can remember my father-in-law pointing out every negative news story there was about adoptees and their adoptive parents. But, all of that "negativity" vanished once Brittany appeared on the scene. One of the sweetest memories I have of George's dad and Brittany occurred when we were staying with him while he was dying from lung cancer. He couldn't get out of his chair in the den, and I had put Brittany on a blanket on the floor in the den while I fixed lunch in the kitchen. I could hear George's dad whisper, "Come here, baby. Come on. You can make it!" And then, in a minute, he gruffly yelled to me, "Karen, come get this baby! She's crawled all the way over here to me and is trying to stand up on my leg!" I would no sooner put her back on her blanket and go back into the kitchen when I would hear him whisper again, "Come on, baby! You can do it! Come here!" Ah, sweet memories ... :rolleyes:

It seems that, for our parents, many of their fears and concerns went by the wayside once they actually saw and touched our children. Openness was scary to them, but I think I can honestly say that today, my parents "get it" and see how it is beneficial for our girls. I kind of get amused when I hear my mother explain our openness to her friends -- as the old commercial jingle said, "She's come a long way, baby!"

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This subject was (is) never an issue for either of our families. On the Luther side of the family, let me tell you once you're "in the family, you are in the family". And that's that! They constantly ask about our birthparents and want to know if there's something they can do to help them in any way or just to do something nice for them to show them how appreciative they are. And if I had to venture to say, I would say the grandparents have bonded more with Gracie than the other grandchildren because of the miraculous way she joined our family.

On my side of the family, the youngest grandchild was 13 when Gracie came along. So, my family was just besides themselves to get their hands on a baby. They just can't get enough of her. I asked my sister to babysit for a couple of hours Saturday afternoon. Her response "only if she can spend the night". Since my father is now deceased and my mother isn't very healthy, my sister has tended to fill the grandparent role on my side of the family and it has been such a wonderful blessing for all of us.

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When Shayla arrived in our lives, we had waited for 4 years to become parents. Our parents could hardly stand the fact that we were in California with her & they were in Virginia. As soon as we got off of the airplane (prior to 9/11 & the tightened security), our parents met us at the gate...biting their nails with anticipation for us to get off the plane. Once we saw my dad, he almost grabbed Shayla out of my arms......it was so sweet. I can still see his face, it was the sweetest look. It was like he had been waiting all his life for that one moment.

With Hayden, it was a very long day of travel that he & I had before we arrived home. But our parents were there at our house awaiting their first looks, holds & kisses.......it was like a long labor, hours of pacing & then the glorious entrance, :).

There is no difference in our children & my sister's children (bio). Our parents ask about the kids birthparents & how they are & what is new for them. Our families really care about the birthfamilies.

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In case there was any question, here's good news from the researchers at the University of Haifa, compliments of NewsWise. Their study concluded that there's no difference in the grandparenting of children regardless of whether they are born or adopted into a family.

They did, however, identify 5 stages in the development of emotional relationships between grandparents and their adopted grandkids:

1) Grandparent views child as solution to son or daughter's infertility crisis

2) Grandparent rationalizes adoption as the "saving" of a child in need

3) Grandparent develops superficial emotional connection with child

4) Grandparent accepts child as integral part of a multi-generational family

5) Grandparents' fully-formed connection to child is achieved; may increase grandparents' fears that child's interest in birthfamily may threaten child's future connection to adoptive family (indicative of grandparents' emotional dependence on child as significant relative.)

Which raises the question: what can be done to enhance the bonding and attachment process between grandparents and the children their sons or daughters adopt? Clearly, it would be helpful to involve the grandparents-to-be in some open adoption education, to decrease their apprehension of birthparents' role, thereby enhancing their grandchild's sense of security and self, as well...

Any ideas or input from the been-there, done-that crowd?

Hi Elizabeth,

This is a great topic and one that I feel very comfortable talking about. I think all parents want to see their children grow up and be succesful and most of all happy, and when that child comes to you and tells you they have made the decision to adopt you welcome that news and research it together with an open mind and be there for them with open arms, to love and support whatever road they have chosen. And when that day comes as the Abrazo Chicks can atest to you wait, and wait for that phone call to come that your new grandchild is in their arms and you thank God that your childs life is now complete and a new and wonderful love has begon. I was blessed with my first grandchild in Oct. 06 and my second one in Dec. 06 but for some reason Abby is the light of my life and the special child chosen by God to be my granddaughter. I have never even thought of her as coming from anywhere other then my child. I don't see color I just see love when I walk into a room and her face lights up for me.

My one sad thought is that we have not had the oppotunity to meet our birth mother, but I can say that my heart breaks for her and the hard choice she had to make. I admire her courage and strength and know that I am not that brave. One day I hope she will decide to meet us and that will be a happy day for my family.

Thank you for reading my ramble,

Sharron

Proud and happy Gram of two beautiful grandchildren

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