The Joy of Grandparents

14 Mar

It’s our parents’ job to worry about us and shield us from the harsh realities of the world outside As we, in turn, will do with our own children. But when does the worrying stop? Well, it doesn’t! Irrespective of our age, our parents will always be concerned that we are making the right choices in life.  Worrying is intrinsic to our very being.

At 26, I got the top of my left ear pierced. I remember my mum saying, “I get you to this age, married off, with no hitches, and then you go and do a stupid thing like that”. Annoyingly – as I’ve been told so often and as I will no doubt tell my own kids – mums are always right. It’s something I now deeply regret since my ear cartilage has subsequently rebelled and I look like I could have hailed from the Planet Vulcan.

So then at the grand old age of 36 (and 38 for OH), we go and do another ‘stupid’ thing to worry both sets of parents, we go and adopt a child! A stamped, marked, branded difficult-to-place child!

It never entered our heads when we embarked on this undulating journey: the fact that our parents would inherit the impact of our decisions, that they would be forced to accept a non-biologically related child as an integral part of the family, that they would feel the pressure to develop an emotional connection with a tiny tantrum-toting tyke.  And aside from that, as carers for the kids every Friday night, my parents would also have to be interviewed by the social worker and undergo CRB checks. They would have to be open and willing to do this. To take on the impact of a decision we made.

They did this readily and without question.

Both sets of parents were concerned about whether they would ‘take’ to the child, whether they could love him/her in the same way as a birth child, how we would feel in the future when that child wanted to contact his/her birth parents. All of these are very common concerns of grandparents in adoption.

Thankfully, Pickle never gave them a chance not to ‘take’ to him or love him. His boundless love, humour and energy make it pretty impossible for even complete strangers not to take to him on first meeting. Not that it has been an easy ride for them at all.  My parents still believe that they are some 4 or 5 months behind in terms of managing his behaviour, gaining his trust and developing security.  He pushes buttons with them that he dare not push with us. For OH’s parents, development is dragging even further behind. Primarily because they live a few hundred miles away and we only get to see them every couple of months.

A supportive family network is a crucial crutch when going through the adoption process.  The extended family is vital for helping to build and consolidate attachments and to create that all-important sense of permanence in an adopted child’s life.

This post is really just meant as a big shout out, pat on the back, and huge whoop whoop for all those grandparents who have inherited the ‘stupid’ decisions we kids make.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We couldn’t have done it without you.


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