You and your partner have finally come to the decision to adopt, or maybe you have already begun the adoption process. You are both filled with excitement.
Then the question arises: How do we tell our parents?
These will soon be your child’s grandparents. It is an honored role that most parents cannot wait to enjoy. Still, adoption is a complicated subject for many families and as accepting as you may believe your own parents to be, broaching the topic might be a little intimidating.
No matter how you expect the reactions to be, there are some key things to keep in mind.
Not all parents will jump for joy at the news. Maybe they expressed nothing but doubt or in some cases, disapproval. It is important to be patient with them. Adoption is a complex choice for anyone to make, and they need to go through a similar process as you did before you came to your decision. Inform them thoroughly about all your considerations, your reasons for adopting, and of course, your happiness. Help them to understand how much this means to you and how much their support would be appreciated.
You can choose to include them in preparations for your adoption at some level. It can build excitement for everyone to go shopping for their new grandchild, or just talking about the future and all the fun things they will do with their new grandchild. Parents that are still having a hard time accepting your choice to adopt may benefit from meeting others within your support network. Your professional adoption agency or friends who have gone through the process may be able to have eye-opening discussions with them.
Set Some Ground Rules
Whether they have accepted and celebrated your adoption or they are still mulling over it, you will need to set some boundaries either way. Grandparents play an important role in a child’s life, and in the case of adoption, their involvement can be complex. Explain to your parents how you want the topic of adoption brought up with your child so they do not inadvertently interfere. If yours is an open adoption, be sure to outline the level of involvement the birthmother will have in your child’s life. The more your parent understands how adoption works, the better grandparents they can be.
The most important thing to remember is that even if your own parents do not initially accept or support your choice to adopt, it is still ultimately your choice to make. While we all want our parents approval in our lives, sometimes this is just unfortunately not in the cards. It should be noted that if you already have a strained relationship with your parents, consider how much you actually want them involved as potential grandparents. As adoptive parents you are responsible for the wellbeing of your new child and that includes making judgements about healthy family relationships.