Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Stork Central

Creative Grandparenting!

Recommended Posts

Just for you, our parents of parents-to-be: a corner for folks to share great thoughts, pointers, questions and ideas on good grandparenting... getting ready for grandkids... adjusting to your new role... and learning how to best build generational memories to last another lifetime! (Let us be the first to congratulate you, and to say you look much too young to be anybody's grandmother, yet! )  ;)

Becoming someone's Grandparent is a major milestone, after all, and one to be celebrated. It is a position of honor, and an opportunity for rejuvenation.  What are your favorite recollections of time spent with your own grandparents? How will you want to be remembered? What do you want to be called? What pearls of wisdom will you want to pass along to your family's newest generation? What kind of grandparent do you hope to be, and why?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Helpful Tips for the Adoptive Grandparent

Few things are more completely enjoyable than becoming a grandparent. Grandchildren are one of life’s joys, whether they come by birth or via adoption. All grandchildren are loved equally and are equally lovable.

When a new family member is adopted, share your excitement. Share snapshots. Exclaim about the traits that make this child a prodigy! And know that adoption brings some unique challenges. Following are a few suggestions for navigating once you find you are a member of an adoptive family.

People are fascinated by adoption, and this fascination can lead well-meaning friends and neighbors to pose very personal questions. Remember that a child’s adoption story is akin to a conception story. It is private, and one should consult with the adopted person before sharing the details.

Think about language, and encourage others to do so. As an adult adoptee, I have heard this question all my life: "Have you ever met your real parents?" What this said to me as a child was, "Your adoptive parents are fake." I felt confused. As an adult, I answer, "I was raised by my real parents." It’s a good idea to call the family of origin birth family (as in birth mother) as opposed to natural family (which implies the adoptive family is unnatural or artificial). Many people will have the best of intentions but use terms that confuse or hurt children.

If your family adopted internationally, you have become a member of a transcultural and often transracial complex family. Translated into day-to-day events, this means you might celebrate Chinese New Year in addition to the traditional holidays. Unfortunately, this also means that your grandchild will be confronted by bigotry and will need your support and sensitivity. Your lifetime of experiences will be key in shaping your responses. Be wholly honest.

Remember, throughout, that your grandchildren are connected to you and to the family. They may not look a lot like you or your child, but they will develop similar voice patterns, talents, tastes, and interests. Don’t assume the adopted child will automatically know this—it took me 45 years to figure out that I got, first, my dry sense of humor from my adoptive father, and, second, my ability to ‘stretch and save’ from my grandmother, a North Carolina farmer. Every Carolina reunion I attend reminds me that genetics are not the only way to pass on family traits.

At a recent reunion, I was introduced to my mother’s best childhood friend. They hadn’t seen each other in over 60 years. The friend inspected me closely and stated, "You sure don’t look like a Haney." I smiled back, shook my head, and said, "I sure don’t." I knew what she really wanted to know. But at that moment, I was completely my mother’s daughter.

By Beth O’Malley, M.Ed. Copyright ©2001, Beth O’Malley. Ms. O’Malley is an adoptee and adoption social worker, and the author of Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child. Order via 1.800.469.9666 or lifebooks@earthlink.net (see www.adoptionlifebooks.com).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Read stories or sing songs on tape for your grandchild so that he/she can hear your voice as much as they want to!  (This also helps Mom when she's read Green Eggs and Ham for the umpteenth time in a row -- she can get that kiddie cassette rolling and let Grandma or Grandpa tell the story a few times!)

We recently had a speaker at our kindergartener's school talk about the benefits of reading stories -- she made this suggestion and then told the touching story of how her own mother had done it when she had the first grandchild.  Her mother then passed away before the second grandchild was born.  "But," she said, "because of those tapes, my second child 'knew' his grandmother -- he could tell his friends that his grandmother had read him his favorite bedtime story."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It bugs me that my husband's parents tell other people that "this is our adopted grand-child" when they go out somewhere.  I don't want to say anything to them to rock the boat.  But why don't they just say "our grand-child" like  with the others and leave it at that!!!!?

:angry:  :angry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dreamer,

Do you think your husband could say something to his parents? Maybe they aren't even thinking about what they are saying or how it sounds to you. Even more importantly, how is it going to make your child feel if he hears himself introduced that way by his grandparents? Just a thought. I know I have avoided issues with family members before when it's just my feelings at stake (who likes confrontations...especially with family members), but when it involves my son I am a lot more motivated to speak up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dreamer!

If I were you I would speak up as well.  We have a 5 month old (as of tomorrow!;) and we have had issues with our parents.  They are all so excited over the adoption and just love Andrew to death. They don't make a distinction between biological and adopted which is great, but also the problem.  My parents (mainly my dad ) are still having some issues with our openness.  It has always been very difficult communicating with my parents so I have skirted around the issues for several months and have given them books to read on adoption in hopes that they would deal with it on their own.  Any time I would bring adoption up they would just get mad that I was trying to "tell them how it was".  After doing more reading as Andrew has gotten a little older I have decided that they are just dealing with their own fears of having me hurt and of not completely accepting our infertility.

It blew up two weeks ago. Without going into detail let me say it got ugly.  Basically I stood up and explained that Andrew will be able to associate words and actions with meanings soon and they must deal with their issues.  After much discussion everything was fine.  I explained to them that how concerned they are over me being hurt is how I feel about MY son and that I was not going to let it happen.  I think that hit home to my father.  It turns out that my mother is ok with things.  She has done some research and has learned that our BP can't just walk into our house at any time and take away Andrew.  My hope is that as time goes on she will learn that our BP does not want to walk into our house and take Andrew away.

My mother-in-law is a little different.  She always is concerned over saying the wrong thing, but does not know when it is wrong at times.  She came to visit a few weeks ago as well.  I ended up setting out our adoption magazines for her to read.  It was a very good thing.  In one of the issues they had good and bad adoption language.  She was very happy to see that and suggested that Jimmy and I make a list of the proper and improper things to say so that the family can learn what is appropriate.  In the same conversation she was saying that Andrew is such a lucky boy.  That drives me up the wall when people say that.  I kept saying that it is Jimmy and I who are lucky, but she did not get the hint.  I do believe that will be one of the no no's on the list .  

We have given everyone in our immediate family a copy of Dear Birthmother.  My mother-in-law says she can't read it because she starts crying immediately.  That is what is involved in adoption though.  She has lost her husband within the past year so I do not press the issue.  What I have decided to do is give both of our parents a subscription to Adoptive Families.  That way they can see little bits and pieces here and there and finally get the whole picture.  I guess that is better than nothing.  In the mean time I have learned to stand up to my family because who I am standing up for is my son.  He is what it is all about.  I know that I will not be able to protect him from everything, but you better believe I will protect him when I can!

I have rambled on long enough.  I hope this helps out in some way.  Good luck with the family!

Lisa V

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Dreamer,

    Am I right in assuming your in-laws have other, biological grandchildren??  Therefore they may feel it necessary to make a "distinction."  Hopefully, in time that feeling will fade.  When Catherine was first born and we brought her home, I felt I had to explain that we had just adopted her...especially since I got so many comments from strangers on how quickly I'd lost my "pregnancy weight"!!!!!!!!!!!!  

    My in-laws dote on Catherine because she is their only grandchild.  I think sometimes they forget she is adopted, because they'll say something like "She's so much like her Aunt Lori was at this age" or "She looks just like....(someone else in the family)!!  

   Or another tact to try...if you are with your in-laws when they explain this, you might add  "Yes, we are so blessed to have him/her in our lives through the miracle of adoption.  After all, family is about relationship, not just biology, and we are so happy our son/daughter has such a loving relationship with his/her grandparents."   Maybe after hearing this explanation a few times, your in-laws will realize that it is the quality of their relationship, not biological ties, that truly make one a "grand" grandparent!!!!!!!

    Be patient, and good luck!!   :0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tyson recently told me that Grandma was a better reader than me....I said "oh yea why? " He said " because silly she has glasses and you don't anddddddd she makes funny faces". I said "you have a good grandma huh??? "' He proceeded to tell me "yup Da BEST!"

Sabrina

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Teyler thinks that his Grandma is amazing. She picks him up from school everyday. He asked me one day if I knew how to do homework and I said yes but, why? He said well grandmas always helps me. When I look back on the kind of woman my mother is ...I am amazed at where she has been...and in awe of who she is.

Sabrina

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have just found this thread and found it very insightful, thank you. I am new to the Forum and am still finding my way around. I think that is one of my fears is the correct language from family. Knowing they mean well but having the wrong language used and not wanting to hurt my children and their new baby. But I have come to relize that tactfully saying something nicely seems to be the way to handle it, I only hope when and if the time comes I can be strong enough to take care of the problem right away.

Thanks,

Sharron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the folks at Fisher-Price, here's a special resource with info and ideas for grandparents: CLICK HERE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks for the cute web site I really liked some of the ideas and was quick to put in my favorites. Can't ever have to many ideas because Gram will be the one Abby thinks is the coolest!

Have a good one,

Sharron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×