How do I tell my family I am adopting? 

-Sudatta Online

Telling the grandparents is often the most challenging part of making the decision to adopt. A young couple planning to adopt their second child reached out to other more experienced adoptive parents for inputs on how to tell the extended family
“We’re expecting a baby!” a statement that brings smiles to the faces of the extended family. After all, that’s the news everyone is waiting for after the wedding day. All very well if one is pregnant. But what if that statement is actually expanded to mean, “We’re expecting to welcome a baby home”? Can you imagine telling your family that?!

Most couples thinking of adopting a child reach a decision and then get into the nerve-wracking dilemma of telling the extended family. So many doubts and questions arise………

Do they need to know? In the Indian context where family is important, yes, as any agency will tell you while you are registering for adoption. You have to tell your family, before you adopt.

Is their approval necessary? No, it’s your life and your child.

However in some Indian States the home study involves giving information about the extended family. In some situations such as a single parent it becomes necessary to consider this aspect of the child’s future environment. Sometimes one has to declare a guardian in the event something happens to the parent.

How do we inform the family? It’s a matter of wishing to share the joy of one’s decision and wanting them to be as excited about the new child. But on the other hand there is fear of disapproval, rejection, disappointment etc. Not wanting the reaction to be negative, and the dream to be shelved temporarily or permanently, aspiring parents are challenged to find the ‘right’ way to inform the grandparents.

One such couple reached out to SuDatta’s online support forum 2 years back and received the much needed strength and a whole bunch of suggestions on how to approach this delicate situation.

I just joined this group. We have almost decided to adopt a little brother for our daughter. But we're very nervous about telling the grandparents. Can anyone who has adopted recently tell me any ideas on how to put it across firmly and positively? 

Congrats on your decision. We have one biological child and one adopted child. Boy and girl respectively.

It is advisable to tell parents about your decision to adopt without a lot of preamble. Stay calm and inform politely and boldly of your decision. Continue to stay calm, polite but firm if they react. Important: You should never react back.

Elders have apprehensions. If you address them politely and honestly, they will appreciate and welcome your decision and stand by you.


Hi ,
You could casually invite a family with an adopted child over to your place and allow the elders to praise the child. Then after the guests have left, quietly inform your parents or in-laws that the child is adopted. Perhaps bring up a discussion about the child. Depending upon their reactions you will know how to take the next step. You may find it's not a problem at all and that they are probably as enthusiastic about the idea as you.


PS: My in-laws came with us to the adoption agency when we were to see our second baby. Everyone fell in love with him immediately. He's over 2 years old now and the delight of his grandparents' lives.

I adopted my daughter very long time back. She is 13 now. It was the best decision of my life.

Once we had decided.... we were so sure about it that we just did not expect anyone would have a negative response. We conveyed the information to both sets of grandparents as one of the most joyful happenings in our lives. In the face of such an attitude I think their apprehensions just melted away...

All the best G

One way would be to talk over this over several sittings. Perhaps start by just sharing your thoughts on adoption, how long you have been thinking, what concerns you may have, why you think it is a wonderful idea, what concerns they have and then slowly in the second or third discussion disclosing your decision to adopt.

In our case, our parents knew that while we are talking about these, the decision is ours not our parents, and they respected that -- so it was not difficult for us. Besides, my parents were overjoyed to have a grand daughter. For us, adopting a daughter meant our son was thrilled to have a baby sister. But that was 8 years ago and they are fighting a lot these days!!! Oh what fun parenting.

Good luck .... 

We adopted Diya 2 years ago. We informed my in-laws and parents even before we went to apply. They were initially not comfortable with the idea. Talking about their fears, insecurities related to adoption did help. I have my first born daughter Tisha - so my mother thought that all our relatives will compare our parenting skills between the two. They also wanted to know why we are adopting. We talked to them about what we felt and why we made the decision. They eventually did understand.

Thankfully there is a comfortable wait period from when you apply to when you 'get' a child. By then parents usually accept your decision. Many adoption agencies have pre-adoption counselling sessions. You can take them to such programmes. My experience has been wonderful – her grandparents dote on her just as any of their other grandchildren.

All the best! 

Dear N,
I am so happy you have planned to adopt. There is a saying that Grandparents never refer to the adopted child as 'he/she is my adopted grandchild' but only as 'he/she is my grandchild'. This itself proves a lot!!! And once you are convinced about adopting, believe me its very easy convincing others!!! In fact, when we planned to adopt our daughter of 4 (we had a biological son of 8 years then), our mother-in-law reacted positively first, but got influenced by her family and was very negative later.

Believe me, my husband did some more talking and then she was the first one to come around and apologise, and praise our decision for wanting to adopt!!! And she now lives with us, and every now and then feels so happy that we adopted Medha who is 10 years now!

There are many things we can achieve financially, but when you can achieve something like adoption, it’s the best thing that you can do for yourself, the child and society at large!!! I strongly believe you can pass any hurdle for this joy!!! Just go ahead and start your life!!

With warm regards,

Dear N,
We have a biological girl child (13 years) and we have adopted a boy (4 years). 4 years ago when we adopted him, we simply met our parents (my wife’s as well as mine) and informed them directly of our intentions to adopt. There were apprehensions (religion, genetics, caste), there were several questions (why don't you want to have another biological child etc). However, we were quite well prepared for all these questions and were firm with our answers.

They accepted our decision and today see him as one of their own grandchildren. It is also important and helpful to get your siblings and those of your husband's to back your decisions and perhaps advocate your decision to your parents and in-laws.

Best regards

Dear N, 
You must have got quite a bit of ammunition on how to broach the topic of adoption, probably enough to face your parents. Some more from me, special ammunition, just in case....

I had read quite a bit on adoption before I thought of telling my family including my parents and my sister who would be my daughter's guardian. Obviously, my parents advised me to reconsider adopting a child being single, as they were worried about the child not having a father. But as C said, it is how convinced you are about the mission of adoption and how boldly you put it across to them. In any case, they have a biological grand-daughter to contend with.

As a back-up, you can get your daughter do a bit of recommending by way of asking for a brother "now". The grandparents will definitely yield. Ultimately, what do parents want more than their children's happiness? In fact, my parents dote on my daughter more than they ever did on me. She is pampered and loved, so much so that they favour her when I reprimand her in studies or otherwise.