Not so with the four children of my daughter, Rebecca, lost to adoption. Their mother had another mother who they knew as Grandma. I was fortunate that Rebecca introduced me to her children when we first reunited. I didn't claim the title Grandma lest I be accused of usurping a position I was not entitled to; I signed birthday cards "Jane." I cringed when strangers, seeing us together, referred to the children as my grandchildren, fearful the children would be upset. Still I developed relationships that continue.
Lorraine too has a relationship with the daughter of her lost daughter. She is off this week visiting her granddaughter in Michigan. Other natural mother aren't so lucky.
Their reunited sons and daughters refuse to let them meet their children or, if they meet, refuse to tell their children of the connection, concerned that the children would spill the beans about the reunion to the adoptive parents. If our lost child should die or divorce, we may have no recourse to continue a relationship with our natural grandchildren. "Legal" grandparents, on the other hand, may have the right under state laws to require their in-laws to allow visitation.
Parents whose child gives up or loses a child to adoption may also lose their ability to know their grandchild. Even if the adoption is "open," grandparents may not be included in visits or allowed to receive or send pictures and cards. Parents who force their daughter to give up a baby or their son to agree to adoption may suffer especially hard from not knowing their grandchild and knowing they were responsible for the loss.
Adoption is never a one-time thing. It lasts not only for our lifetimes but for generations to come. something young women may not consider when "making their adoption plans."
I must go now. Katie and her grandfather are going to try paddle-boarding on the Deschutes River. While I watch them, I'll be thankful for all my grandchildren.--jane
Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption
by Lorraine Dusky
"In this brilliantly crafted and compelling memoir, Dusky covers all perspectives: her own grief and pain as a first mother, her daughter's anger and longing, and the adoptive parents' fears...I was equally astounded by her ability to flawlessly weave in facts about adoption practices over the years, the impact of adoption on both adoptees and birth mothers, and the lack of progress to unseal records."