As an adoptive parent, now a grandparent, I found David Pitcher's article on adopted children and their grandparents fascinating reading. It made me wonder whether there has been any further research into the emotional position of the subsequent generation, and I would like to raise some questions and issues triggered by his article from a personal point of view, which I hope will have wider interest.
My adopted son has two children of his own, now seven and three years old. How do I feel validated as a grandparent?
The question starts when the pregnancy is announced. I have never been pregnant, so can I share in this in the same way as other 'expectant grandparents'? Do I have feelings of jealousy to contend with--jealousy of the pregnant daughter, or daughter-in-law, or jealousy of the other grandparents who will have already had this experience? When my first grandchild was born, I did not experience an instant feeling of connection to him. I worried that this was because he had no genetic connection to me. I was very reassured a few months later in talking to another 'normal' grandparent to learn that she also did not experience an instant feeling of bonding with her new grandchild. How universal are these feelings?
Normal grandparents talk of their grandchild being like other members of the extended family. This is not an option for me. What has delighted me is my grandson's physical and emotional likeness to my son. It has been like bringing him up all over again, and is a huge help in the bonding process. Watching my son be a good parent has validated my own parenting skills some of this must have come from me. Being a parent, like his cousins, has cemented my son's position in the extended family, as the next generation forms links for the future.
The issue adoptive parents have to face, of feeling they have stolen the child from his birth parents, now extends into the knowledge that the birth parents are missing out on the joys of being a grandparent.
I don't know whether our grandchildren have yet been told that their daddy is an adopted child. I don't fear telling them, any more than I feared it when I told their father. I know I love them and I know they love me; but we told their father at a very young age, so
I hope his parents don't leave it too long. I feel it is not my place to tell, although I shall answer truthfully if the subject arises, and let my son and daughter-in-law know afterwards what I have said. We...