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Advice for extended family on our delight at new adopted grandson/nephew/cousin please

(10 Posts)
Happiestinwellybobs Thu 03-Oct-13 21:20:11

My DN was 5 when we adopted DD (aged 10 mo). DSis had prepared to explain the adoption to him - turns out he knew what it was already!

I would second everything said above. Lots of celebration, just as you would celebrate a birth child. Let the parents take the lead and be prepared for things to be a bit different. We took it very slowly to introduce DD to our close family.

Kewcumber Thu 03-Oct-13 12:36:13

9 months old is a baby to a 5 year old. "X and Y have a new baby" is probably enough.

And what everyone else said.

Supporting parents in whatever way they need is important - post adoption depression is very common. I could have kissed the person who turned up to meet DS with her own sandwiches (and for me!) stayed and hour cleared up after herself then left. Everyone else expected coffee/tea/cake/lunch and left me with carnage afterwards when I was still trying to work out how in hell you get out of a door with both of you fully dressed in less than 2 hours.

In some wyas it is like having a new born becasue you are learning all the things everyone else has to learn from day 1 with a much wrigglier much more aware baby.

Maryz Wed 02-Oct-13 22:51:01


I would say follow a lot of what Teen said. Don't expect too much too soon, though, because even though he is quite young it is still a terrible shock for him to have new parents, too many new people at a time can be a disaster.

Support his parents, even if some of the things they seem to do are very different from what you would expect of a birth child that age. So they may treat him much as much more babyish, for a long time, for example. This can be part of making sure they have a strong attachment.

They may feel quite sensitive to comments, even well-intentioned ones. And they will be knackered and stressed, like all parents, but possibly not able to admit it. I know I was reluctant to say I was struggling with dd, for example, because I felt it was somehow my choice to take her, so I should be able to manage, and I felt disloyal complaining.

I can tell you what my sil did, and you can avoid that. Don't refer to him as "not a real grandchild". Don't tell your children that he isn't a blood relative, or a real member of the family. And don't tell other family children that people pay money to adopt hmm

Italiangreyhound Wed 02-Oct-13 18:39:12


I am very happy for all concerned.

parrotsandcarsnips Wed 02-Oct-13 15:30:36

i appreciate the replies. I hope if we take the lead from the new mummy and daddy that we wont go far wrong. We are very aware that my ds aged 5 will ask LOTS of questions that we may struggle to answer

TeenAndTween Wed 02-Oct-13 14:30:43

You could ask the new parents how they would like it explained.

Otherwise maybe something like:

Auntie XX and Uncle YY have got a new baby boy. He's already 9 months old because his first/birth family couldn't look after him and keep him safe, so he's going to be Auntie and Uncle's son now forever, and we will love him just as much as if he had grown in Auntie's tummy.

Or if baby was relinquished: birth mum felt she wasn't going to be a good enough Mummy so Auntie XX is going to be his forever mummy because she knows lots about how to be a Mum.

I think the above would work for children between 4 and 7/8. For older children if they ask more questions you could expand into generalisations (eg some parents aren't good at making sure there is enough food / toys / clothes. or love their children but aren't good at showing that love. Could also always mention Tracey Beaker). But without knowing the background, the more general you can keep it the better really.

parrotsandcarsnips Wed 02-Oct-13 13:59:46

Thks cards & flowers advice good as was unsure. Any ideas how to approach with children I was keen to just say it was new baby as ds only 5 but older cousins will need explanation?

TeenAndTween Wed 02-Oct-13 13:30:31

For children within the family. Talk to them about why children need adopting. Use the terms the adoptive parents want to use (eg birth family). Stress new baby is as much their cousin as existing cousins.

TeenAndTween Wed 02-Oct-13 13:28:56

Send cards /flowers like you would for a new baby.

Take lead from new parents. e.g.
- They may not wish you to all visit at once
- They may not wish you to hold their son in first weeks / months
- They may not wish you to help change nappies etc
- They may appear totally over protective

Refer to him as grandson etc, not adopted grandson

Don't slag off birth family.

Ask how they would like you to help.

Don't offer 'advice' unless asked.

Congratulations. smile

(adopted sisters 6 years ago).

parrotsandcarsnips Wed 02-Oct-13 12:44:19

As stated we are so happy for our family to have a new addition to the family. Advice welcome on helping dn settle into new family & for us to do things sensitively.dn is 9 months old

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