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When your grandchild adopts

Created date

October 14th, 2014

Being a grandparent is a very special relationship. Ask any one of us. I certainly have done my share of bragging. And being a great-grandparent just adds to the awe you already feel.  

But what if one of your grandchildren decides to adopt? Will it change how you feel? Should it make any difference at all? 

Handling how you feel

I’m a behavioral therapist. I don’t try to get people to change, but rather, to alter their behavior. So while emotions aren’t under our full control, they can be put under control. Let’s say that the idea of your grandchild adopting upsets you. The reason your grandchild and his or her spouse are adopting may be because they can’t have children of their own, or perhaps they believe it’s the right thing to do. Their motivation may affect how you feel—especially if you resist the adoption—but in the end, that doesn’t matter. 

When something happens that upsets you, trying to push that emotion back down is not going to work. If something makes you sad or angry, then you have to experience that sadness or anger because the only way to squelch those emotions is to squelch all your emotions, and that’s not healthy.  

The key is what you do next. Do you allow yourself to feel the emotion and then move on, or do you allow the emotion to build and fester? If you follow the latter course, you’re headed for trouble. In the specific case of adoption, if you react negatively, your grandchild will limit how much you can see of this new bundle of joy coming into your life. That would be terrible. 

Instead, concentrate on what it feels like to hold the baby in your arms whenever you start to get upset with the parents. This takes concentration and effort, but you’ll feel less upset over time. And you’ll learn to give your love and support to this new person in your life and receive all the joy this child can bring in return.

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