How do I navigate a difficult start to a kinship adoption?

There is a lot to unpack here, so I will try to be brief. :)

My husband’s niece got pregnant in 2012. The family kept it a huge secret until she was around 20 weeks pregnant. At that time, our niece approached my husband and I about the possibility of adopting her unborn child. My husband and I had been through infertility and were already working with an agency to adopt. After much prayer, discussion and thought, both parties agreed.

She graciously allowed us to be a part of her pregnancy. It was great because she didn’t have access to good prenatal care, so we were a good partnership. When our daughter was born, I caught her. We got bonding time and she was able to be with her birth mom. We brought our daughter home the next day and have been trying to navigate this road for the past 4 months.

From the beginning we expressed a desire to have an open adoption, especially because it was through family. We have sought counseling services to help us define and set boundaries, but the birth mom has not. Her own mother is less than supportive, and verbally expresses this often. Even saying she wishes she had been given the chance to parent instead of us.
I know there must be a lot of guilt, grief, shame, sadness and loss that goes with the huge and unselfish thing she did for our daughter. We want very much for our daughter to know where she came from, but it seems that emotionally her birth mom cannot handle it at this time.

Her mother does not support her decision, her boyfriend (our daughter’s father) left her, she’s living with my mother-in-law and sleeping on her couch, she’s young and doesn’t have anyone to talk to. She cries often, asks for more visitation than we can even physically accommodate, tries to leave the room for alone time with our child when we are around, etc. I’m worried for her emotional state. And I’m inspired by the idea that an open adoption is much different than actual openness.

I’m looking for ideas on how to navigate this situation. It has been suggested to me to delete my Facebook and Instagram. To stay completely away from her until she is ready. It has also been suggested to talk to her about her expectations and our boundaries.

We want what is best for our daughter, and right now her birth mother’s grief is so strong, I just don’t feel it’s a positive relationship right now. With Christmas approaching, we are so confused about how to handle being around family.

Anyone have advice? Long-term advice?

Thank you so much for reading our whole story! :)

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