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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