Adoption from a Grandmother’s Perspective

Grandmother pushing granddaughter on swing in park

When my daughter announced that she and her husband were planning to adopt a child, I was both delighted and concerned. Delighted because I had been looking forward to being a grandmother. Concerned because I knew nothing about adoption and had many questions.

Upon doing a Google search on grandparents and adoption, I found, to my surprise, very little information. It seemed as though grandparents were not considered an integral part of the adoption process. Yet, I have since learned they are a very important part. For this reason, we need to be aware of some issues we will face as the grandparents of children who have been adopted. Here are some of those issues:

1) The New Look of Adoption. We adoptive grandparents need to understand that adoption today is much different from what it was in our day. Chief among these differences is the openness and transparency with which adoption is conducted today.

Back when I was growing up, a girl who got pregnant out of wedlock was sent away to avoid shame for herself and her family. If she chose to have her baby adopted, the adoption was conducted privately and sometimes kept hidden from the child for his entire life.

Today, adoptive mothers often keep in close touch with the birth mothers of their children. The adopted children are told at an early age that they are adopted and are encouraged to keep open the lines of communication with their birth mothers and/or birth fathers.

2) Unexpected Questions. When my daughter shared with me some of the questions people would ask her–questions like, Where is he from?; What nationality is she?; Does she know she is adopted?–I was relieved that my daughter would be the one answering those questions. Imagine how surprised I was when people started asking me the same questions.

Because I wasn’t prepared, I kept the conversation short and sweet. I then got some coaching from my daughter as to how to answer such personal questions, if at all. Sometimes people are genuinely interested; most of the time, they are just plain nosey.

3) Practical Help. Look for practical ways to help your children as they go through the challenging adoption process. For example, instead of a traditional baby shower, donate a gift of plane tickets for travel related to the adoption. Offer to babysit when you can. Cook a meal or two for your child and her family. What you can do is limited only by your creative ingenuity.

Bottom line, remember this: Adoption is a gift of life. Just as God the Father has adopted us into His family and made us equal heirs to His salvation, so must we look on our adopted grandchildren as equal heirs of our love, our support, and our devotion.

Resources for Adoptive Grandparents: (My Daughter’s [Dr. Lia Diorio Gerken’s] Blog on Adoption) – A Resource for Grandparents

Copyright 2017 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved.

FINAL COVER.3Dr. MaryAnn Diorio writes compelling fiction about the deepest issues of the human heart. Her children’s picture book, CANDLE LOVE, deals with the subject of sibling rivalry.

MaryAnn and her husband are the blessed parents of two awesome adult daughters and the happy grandparents of five adopted grandchildren. You may reach MaryAnn at and at


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Adoption from a Grandmother’s Perspective — 6 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this informative and sensitive post. It’s a topic we need to know more about. Great suggestions!

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