Today is National Grandparents Day, a day to celebrate the integral figures of the family tree. In an open adoption, adoptive parents encourage a loving bond not just with their parents but also with their birth grandparents. This day is to celebrate the bond between grandparents and grandchildren.
Whether you have an open or closed adoption, you are a grandparent, and you want to support your child in their decisions, especially the decision to place their child for adoption. However, your love and support for your child and grandchild do not stop there.
Birth mother Samantha underwent an unplanned pregnancy. Her parents, Chris and Adrienne, let Samantha know from the get-go they would support her in whatever she decides on (parenting or placing for adoption). “I don’t think it was a question if it [adoption] was the right decision. That was Samantha’s decision that we stood behind”, said Chris. Samantha decided to place her daughter, Charlotte, for adoption and her parents were there every step of the way.
Chris, Adrienne, and Samantha leaned on one another during the transition post-placement. Chris’s boss, an adoptive father, was very supportive and respectful of Samantha’s decision. Adrienne credits her best friend, Barbara, for helping her through those first few months post-placement. Barbara gave Adrienne the time to be open about her feelings by not passing judgment on placing Charlotte for adoption. The same friend also reminded Adrienne to take pride and celebrate that she is Charlotte’s birth grandmother.
Picture and letter updates from the adoptive parents are one of the many pros of open adoption. Chris and Adrienne experience the same joy Samantha has whenever she receives new letters and pictures from adoptive parents, Justin and Wenonah. They get to see how much Charlotte has grown, her milestones, and her unique personality.
The only thing better than pictures is the visits with Charlotte. On the most recent visit, the adoption triad got together for a day at Milburn Farms. For Chris and Adrienne, there is nothing better than seeing their granddaughter so happy. Little Charlotte was so vocal and waving to everybody. Watching their granddaughter walk with Samantha was a beautiful moment as well. “She seems so friendly to everybody. I think part of it is just Justin and Wenonah; she’s not excluded from anything. She doesn’t seem to be at all shy,” said Samantha. It is amazing to see how much their bond with the adoptive family has grown since the very first visit at the AFTH family picnic to their most recent outing. “We’re all getting a little more comfortable with each other. We are not afraid of saying something stupid. They really seem like easygoing and nice people, and you know we try to be,” said Chris.
As much as Chris’s and Adrienne’s advocate for birth parents like their daughter, Samantha has been an enormous advocate for birth grandparents. “They are overlooked. I wish there were a community for birth grandparents like there is for birth parents,” said Samantha. Adrienne notes that “you’re always going to love and care for them,” and not only that, grandparents have a lot of wisdom and life lessons to teach their children and grandchildren. “Both of our parents were married for a very long time, and we have a lot of support to show Samantha about life and marriage, and we want to be able to pass that on to our grandchildren,” said Adrienne. Chris and Adrienne have been married for 30 years, and their love has grown stronger through both good times and hard times. This type of dedication to their loved ones and resilience to overcome life’s test shaped Samantha into who she is today, and a trait they want to bestow to their “little peanut,” which Adrienne affectionately calls Charlotte.
Grandparents’ day is to celebrate not only the beauty of family but also the celebrate the support and love grandparents will always give to their child and grandchildren.