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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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What is the Role of the Birth Grandparents in an Adoption Plan?

Because everyone is so focused on the birth parents’ emotions during the adoption process, it can sometimes be easy to forget about their parents — the “birth grandparents.” The truth is that birth grandparents go through a gamut of emotions, too, and these feelings are important and should be acknowledged.

If your child is considering making an adoption plan for their child, there are a few things you should know — both about your rights to that child and about how you can be supportive during the adoption process.

If a parent gives a child up for adoption, what rights do the grandparents have to that child?

If you’re wondering, “If my daughter gives her baby up for adoption, does that take away my grandparent rights?” you aren’t alone. It’s important to know, though, that should your child legally consent to their child’s adoption, that means you no longer have any rights as that child’s grandparent. So, if you’ve been questioning whether a grandma can ask for visitation after non-biological parents adopt a child, that answer is no. Just like your child no longer has any legal rights to their child, neither do you as a grandparent.

It is completely okay to be upset by this. It’s okay to be sad, to ask questions, and to have doubts that adoption is really the best choice — just like birth parents do. It’s likely that you’ll go through a grief process of your own, which may look extremely similar to the process your child goes through as the birth parent. You may experience shock, anger, pain and guilt before eventually coming to acceptance, and this is alright. However, read the next section to remember your main role in the adoption process.

What is a birth grandparent’s role in the adoption process?

As a birth grandparent, your main role is to support the birth mother’s choice. Remember that this decision is hers and hers alone; she is the only one who can really determine whether or not she’s ready to parent her baby. She is the only one who knows what the best decision is in this situation.

It can be tempting to tell her what to do, but remember that she’s not just your child anymore; she’s a mother in her own right, and the weight of choosing the right path for her baby rests on her shoulders alone. Help her when you can, and support her no matter what. Ask her what she needs from you. If she wants to sit and talk through ideal adoptive family characteristics with you, you can absolutely help her to determine what’s important to her. If all she needs is a shoulder to lean on, then let her know you’ll be there regardless of what happens.

It’ll be very important that you’re there at the hospital when she goes into labor, too. This is going to be an extremely difficult day for her, and being a source of strength for her when she needs it will be invaluable.

Can the birth grandparents be a part of an open adoption plan?

Absolutely. If your daughter chooses an open adoption for her baby and wishes to develop a relationship with her child’s adoptive parents, you can absolutely be a part of that — as long as she’s okay with it. It’s not uncommon for birth grandparents to be there when their daughter meets her child’s adoptive parents, and even form their own relationships with their grandchild’s adoptive parents! If your daughter plans to see her baby after placement, you can absolutely do the same.

Again, it’s important that you put your daughter’s needs and wants first. If she chooses an open adoption, you can express to her that you’d like to be a part of that. As long as she’s okay with it, there’s no reason why you can’t also have a relationship with your grandchild!

Also know that if you contact American Adoptions asking about your child’s adoption plan, this is information that we will not be able to give you unless your daughter has previously said that this is okay. Her adoption plan is confidential between her, her adoption specialist and her child’s adoptive family. It will be her right to fill you in and involve you in her adoption process if she chooses, but also her right to keep some things to herself. With any questions about how you can help your daughter, feel free to reach out to American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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