My husband and I are in the process of adopting his 19mth old grandson and his grandson's 3 yr old half sister (different birth father). My stepson (grandson's bf) and both kids birth mom want the children to continue to call them mom and dad. I feel since they both gave up their rights they really don't have a say in the matter, but my husband wants to keep his relationship with his son. The birthmother still has not stopped taking drugs and was on drugs while pregnant with both kids. Stepson was in prison but now seems to be getting his life together. I am their mom, mommy, mama, etc and I don't want them to be confused. What should we do? What is best for the kids in the long run?

First, I do know this is a difficult situation, and it is wonderful that you have been able to step up to parent your step-grandchildren.

All the research shows that children are never confused about who their parents, no matter what they call them. Children raised by grandparents know that their grandparents are their parents even if they call them "grandma" or "grandpa."

I understand that you are both angry and resentful that the birthmother who has made irresponsible choices as a parent would get to be called "Mom." But it would be a show of respect to her to allow the children to call her this. The research is absolutely conclusive that adoptive children have the best outcomes when their adoptive parents (even if they are the grandparents) show love and respect for their birthparents. I know this can be difficult in a situation such as you describe, but if you disparage or resent the birthparents the children will pick up on this and will likely feel that there is something wrong with them too.

I can assure you, that your children will love and admire you more than you can imagine if you are able to provide them with this gift.