DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: Even though we have no reason to believe we wouldn’t be able to conceive children of our own, my husband and I decided that we want to adopt at least two children who need families. We are currently working with an adoption agency, and they found twins whose mother has a history of heroin use and addiction. The twins were born early, and one almost didn’t make it.
We know they have many issues, some of which will be long-term, both because of their prematurity and their mother’s drug use, but we are more than willing to bring them into our life. We are blessed with good incomes, excellent health insurance, and very importantly, a good support system, led by my sister and my parents, who live nearby.
Unfortunately, my mother-in-law and her husband are entirely against the adoption. They think we’re taking on more than we can handle, and keep bringing up how the twins’ birth mother could get cleaned up and decide to take steps to get her children back.
This is something my husband and I have considered and investigated. While there are circumstances where it can happen, it isn’t likely to happen, and if their birth mother did take steps to reverse the adoption after it’s been legally established, she would most likely have a very hard time getting full custody of her children.
I know my mother-in-law and father-in-law are worried that we could get our hearts broken if the twin’s mother comes back into the picture, and that we’re taking on a huge challenge with two babies with a lot already stacked against them. But we want them to understand we are willing to take the risk, and take on everything that comes with babies with such a compromised start.
What can we do to convince my in-laws that we know what we’re getting into, and to have some faith in us? --- READY FOR THE CHALLENGE
DEAR READY FOR THE CHALLENGE: Your in-laws are within their rights to be concerned about what lies ahead for your soon-to-be growing family. It is, as you yourself acknowledge, a huge commitment and challenge.
Perhaps it would help, if it’s practical, to include them directly in the care of the babies once they’re in their new home. If they become familiar with what’s involved in parenting special need infants, not only would it hopefully allow them some insight into their new grandchildren’s and your lives, but it may also give them more of a stake in your reality, rather than the what-ifs they may be currently blinded by. Their direct involvement might also serve to extend your support system.