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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 07-Nov-14 18:05:51

Our grandson is adopted.

It's National Adoption Week and to mark the event, we hear from Gransnet Wiltshire Editor, Dee, who is grandmother to an adopted grandson and tells us what it's really like to be a grandparent to an adopted child.

Dee (Local Editor)

Our grandson is adopted

Posted on: Fri 07-Nov-14 18:05:51


Lead photo

While behavioural problems aren't uncommon in adopted children, it's not always easy for adoptive parents to get the support they need.

Our grandson is adopted. Our granddaughter was born after our daughter adopted our grandson, and people often ask me what it's like to be a grandparent to an adopted child. Well, as my grandson was our first grandchild I was ecstatic when our daughter advised that she and her husband had been accepted as adopters. Following a long and drawn out process we were eventually told they would have a little boy aged around a year.

We saw pictures of him and loved him from the offset - fair hair, cute smile, big eyes with eyelashes to die for and a history that to this day, I know very little about. I didn't want to know so that my judgement could not be clouded by what I knew would be upsetting and traumatic. To protect his identity he will be referred to as Mini and his sister as Dollop.

Mini had suffered - we know that much. Mini, at the age of seven, has "issues" relating to attachment. He struggles at times with aspects of home life and with schooling, and whilst at home presents with what most people would view as behavioural problems, though I must stress are not normal naughty boy behaviours and tantrums - these are spectacular meltdowns which can also result in violence towards those around him, until he calms.

These sadly worsened when Dollop came along, probably due to jealousy. Mini has (unintentionally) caused much stress to his parents resulting in depression for them both and of course worry for us as his grandparents. However, Mini is loved by us all and we wouldn't change him for the world. We love him and Dollop equally and to us he is treated the same.

Mini's behaviour is not unusual within the adoption field, however post adoption support whilst it has been there, has been very limited, has had to be fought for and is not provided very quickly.

We are learning that certain triggers affect his behaviours; particularly things that cause him to feel shame, so we are learning via our daughter and her husband what things in particular not to do or say with him.

Mini’s behaviour is not unusual within the adoption field, however post adoption support whilst it has been there, has been very limited, has had to be fought for and is not provided very quickly.

It provides practical help of sorts, but very little from the emotional viewpoint. So, is it different to have an adopted grandchild? We have four grandchildren in total and I can honestly say we feel the same about him as we do the other three. We probably do make some concessions for him as we don't want to upset the apple cart and make him feel bad resulting in possible meltdowns for his parents, but otherwise he is treated the same, as he has to learn that he is not different.

It's hard, however, to watch the struggles our family have had to go through to get the support they need and as we live a four hour drive away, we feel helpless at times to provide support. Despite this, we are here for them all and we are a shoulder to cry on. We are also here to Skype with, so that the children get used to using technology and speaking and seeing us from a distance. We receive emails too from Mini though Dollop is a bit young for that yet.

Mini is a loving boy who enjoys a cuddle, kicking a football about, looking after his guinea pigs and watching Dr Who and The Turtles on TV - in fact all the usual things boys of his age enjoy too.

As a consequence of the battles our daughter and son-in-law have had to go through to get this help, she and a friend (also an adopter) started a website called The Adoption Social and using the social media highway, now have hundreds of followers across the UK and beyond. They have been nominated for various awards and my daughter was approached to be a trustee for The Open Nest, who provide post adoption support and advice, therapeutic training and short break facilities for adopters and their families.

Both organisations provide her and other adopters and their families support. They welcome adoptive grandparents input - if you want to follow them their details are as follows: @TheOpenNest and @TheAdoptionSocial

By Dee (Local Editor)

Twitter: @TheAdoptionSocial