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question for those IN an open adoption relationship on dynamics - Page 2

post #21 of 37

but you are complaining because they do not pay enough attention to your bio kids.  Really?

Gosh.

I am in a real bad mood tonight but from where I am sitting- JEEZ.  Give them a break they don't know how to act or what to talk to you about.

post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sesa70 View Post


When we see BPs they are always respectful of our relationship with our daughter, but they also seem almost possesive of her in the sense that they spent almost the entire time we are together talking about how much she is like one or the other of them. Some things are relevant, of course, but others not so much and I feel like they almost spend all their time with her disecting every nuance of her and assigning it to one or the other and saying things like 'she gets that from her mom, or that comes from her daddy' etc.

 

The way I look at it is that she is our daughter, meaning theirs and ours, part of both sets of her parents; adoptive and birth. She is an amazing mix of their genetics and our environment. She has traits and characteristics from both sets of her parents and I happily acknowledge their role in that amazing mix and I just wish they would acknowledge ours.

 

They also seem completely disinterested in us as a family. I understand that their interest would be with their daughter, but she has sisters whom she adores and are a big part of her life. They don't seem want to know about what her home life is like or ever ask about our other children (even in relation to dd) when they picked us specifically becasue they wanted dd to have siblings.  In fact they had requested it just be us and them (with dd of course) the last time we saw them, purposely leaving our other children out. I look at us as being a family unit and the idea of meeting them without the rest of our kids adds a level of complexity to our relationship. Our original agreement was to meet 3 times a year, but last year we saw eachother 5. I don't want to make the relationship complicated, if that makes sense?

 

I don't want to sound like I am complaining about our daughters birth family or that I dislike them... in fact it is very much the opposite. I am grateful for our relationship and I enjoy seeing them, I just don't know what normal is and how other families navigate these relationships in the early stages. I want to make sure my expectations are realistic!



 

post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sesa70 View Post
. Our original agreement was to meet 3 times a year, but last year we saw each other 5. I don't want to make the relationship complicated, if that makes sense?

 

I don't want to sound like I am complaining about our daughters birth family or that I dislike them... in fact it is very much the opposite. I am grateful for our relationship and I enjoy seeing them, I just don't know what normal is and how other families navigate these relationships in the early stages. I want to make sure my expectations are realistic!


 

Fair?  Really. More open than any other relationship you have?  Who see's their child 3 times a year- and is expected to not only dote on their lost child but your bio kids to?  And that is fair to you?  I think you really need to think on this I hope the feedback you got is helpful. the blog I listed is very good and I hope you will read it- you could even ask this lady for some advice- she seems to really have a healthy relationship with her dd's birthmom.

post #24 of 37

I don't expect my kids birth parents (and extended family) to be as interested in my other child, but I do expect them to be friendly and to include them in things.  My children are very close to each other and I want their birth parents to see the child as a member of our family. I do the same with DS's birth mother's new husband and younger daughter (who lives with her.) We're going to her birthday party in two weeks. I'm going to ask that this year, we also sing Happy Birthday to my daughter who had her birthday yesterday. At gift giving times, I give gifts to her daughter and they give them to mine. Not just DS and his bio sisters.

 

Our relationship with DD's birth father is still new. There won't likely be a lot of communication in between our probably two visits a year (other than the information given by her younger brothers' adoptive family at their more frequent visits.) DS will be at those visits. I don't expect her birth father to care much about DS but I do expect that he respect the relationship between my two children and to respect us as a family unit. I would do the same if he was in a new relationship or had other children.

post #25 of 37

I didn't take Sesa's post as wanting the bps to be interested in her other children (which are a combo of bio and adoptive if I'm remembering right).  I got the impression that she wasn't sure it was normal that the bps wouldn't take a genuine interest in understanding the world and people that their biochild lives in day to day--who is important to their child, etc.  and trying to understand behavior that is unfamiliar to Sesa.  In fact, Sesa's post was an attempt to understand, not judge, if you go back and read it.

 

A few birthparents here have explained some of these behaviors, but suddenly, things got ugly.

 

Mom31--I didn't see where Sesa asked that they dote on her kids.  She asked why the bps have no interest in the people their child live with (which includes her other kids).  And CrazyCatLady, I think it's really sad that any set of bps would consider taking an actual interest in knowing more about the people their child live with as a game that has to be played to placate an ap.  Further, I don't see Sesa going to the extreme of not honoring her agreement over this.  Geesh.

 

From the ap side of it, this is just insane to me.  I could give a rat's arse if you have no interest in my kids.  But I truly WOULDN'T understand wanting to know more about the kids my kid lives with.  If this were a situation where a child were removed by the state, I might reason that whatever condition led to that situation has something to do with it based on the birthparents I have seen of my foster kids.  I can think of at least half that are in different ways emotionally or developmentally impaired where I would never give this a second thought.

 

But if you are in an open adoption, I'm thinking that these were children given freely by parents who thought of what was best for their child and had the emotional and mental capacity to make that decision.  If that's the case, then I can see where Sesa would be wondering these things.

 

Maybe this is just one of those things where if you are not in the shoes of one side, you're not likely to understand that side.  I'm a bio and adoptive (and former foster) parent.  I am not, however, someone who has given up one of my bio kids.  So to think I may ever understand that side may be unreasonable.  Perhaps likewise for birthparents trying to understand the feelings of adoptive parents.

post #26 of 37

I was wondering if they are somewhat shy and can't think of anything else to focus on or talk about? Sometimes shy people behave in this way. 

post #27 of 37

my kids' extended birthfamily is important to me because they are my children's families. At this point my boys' are closer to *each other* than they are to anyone else(including bfamily) and it would be really sad to see one actively excluded.

 

I certainly wouldnt expect the same level of attention but i dont think they should be left out. I can see how a bparent might think its strange to expect "do for one, do for all the kids" but looking at it from this side...it would be really hard for one son to see the other getting presents etc and to be left out. They are like twins. If they were older and could understand, maybe. But we had some situations while one was still a foster where the bdad would give treats to his son right in front of my other son. I guess it just didnt occur to him to wait five minutes until they went into the back visiting room, in order to spare my child's (who was 2 at the time) feelings. The bmom otoh always went above and beyond to include my child (i wouldnt expect her to bring food/toys for my child, but she always did. It was very thoughtful. )

 

Its not the same situation...but if i had kids, and then married a man and we had a child together, and grandma came to visit and brought ONLY a present for "her grandchild" and not the others, or fawned all over HER grandchild, or wanted to take her grandchild somewhere fun and asked if the others could just stay home, i might be a little taken aback by that. Obviously with a birthparent/adoptive parent setting its different...but i would rather it be less about any of the adults feelings and more about the kids that are present, no matter WHO they "belong to."

post #28 of 37

:hugs, sesa. :)

 

I wonder if maybe it's just something their families do a lot of?  Some families are like that.  I know in my family it's a huge, huge thing to sit around and talk about "where he got that" or "where she gets this."  I never really noticed how big of a deal it was until we adopted dd, and my sensitivity to that kind of conversation went way up.  I could totally see myself, or someone in my family, being like that without meaning anything bad by it-- especially when babies are young, and there isn't as much to talk about.  Our daughters are a similar age, and I notice that my extended family still chats a lot about where dd gets her characteristics or her looks from...but they don't to it nearly as much with our older kids.  Once kids are older and have more personality, more language, I think they become more like individuals and less like little bundles of past generations' traits.  For now, all anyone seems to want to talk about is who she looks like, or what her personality reminds them of. 

post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post

I didn't take Sesa's post as wanting the bps to be interested in her other children (which are a combo of bio and adoptive if I'm remembering right).  I got the impression that she wasn't sure it was normal that the bps wouldn't take a genuine interest in understanding the world and people that their biochild lives in day to day--who is important to their child, etc.  and trying to understand behavior that is unfamiliar to Sesa.  In fact, Sesa's post was an attempt to understand, not judge, if you go back and read it.

 

A few birthparents here have explained some of these behaviors, but suddenly, things got ugly.

 

Mom31--I didn't see where Sesa asked that they dote on her kids.  She asked why the bps have no interest in the people their child live with (which includes her other kids).  And CrazyCatLady, I think it's really sad that any set of bps would consider taking an actual interest in knowing more about the people their child live with as a game that has to be played to placate an ap.  Further, I don't see Sesa going to the extreme of not honoring her agreement over this.  Geesh.

 

From the ap side of it, this is just insane to me.  I could give a rat's arse if you have no interest in my kids.  But I truly WOULDN'T understand wanting to know more about the kids my kid lives with.  If this were a situation where a child were removed by the state, I might reason that whatever condition led to that situation has something to do with it based on the birthparents I have seen of my foster kids.  I can think of at least half that are in different ways emotionally or developmentally impaired where I would never give this a second thought.

 

But if you are in an open adoption, I'm thinking that these were children given freely by parents who thought of what was best for their child and had the emotional and mental capacity to make that decision.  If that's the case, then I can see where Sesa would be wondering these things.

 

Maybe this is just one of those things where if you are not in the shoes of one side, you're not likely to understand that side.  I'm a bio and adoptive (and former foster) parent.  I am not, however, someone who has given up one of my bio kids.  So to think I may ever understand that side may be unreasonable.  Perhaps likewise for birthparents trying to understand the feelings of adoptive parents.


This is what I was sort of thinking as I read the replies.  I think the issue here is not wanting the bparents to take an interest in the other children just to take an interest in them.  But rather to take an interest in them as their child's siblings.  They are part of their child's world, and a very important part at that.  To me it would be sort of akin to the bparents taking zero interest in the aparents. 

 

post #30 of 37

Another thought...

 

It's only been a year, from your post.

 

So, you've had a year of observing your kids together and bonding as a family unit.  I guess if you were to have weekly visits, that would be one thing, but since the visits are more like every couple of months, that is a little different.  These people honestly do not have that type of daily sight of your family to give you what you want.  That takes time.  I'm not even sure it's realistic for extended stepfamilies and step-grandparents to necessarily develop that relationship quickly (though there are similar expectations of them). 

 

I don't envy the internal turf battle (however nicely put) that must happen between adoptive families and birth families.  Because it seems to me that's what this is.  You say on the one had that the bparents are "very respectful" of your role, but then that you perceive them as possessive because they are talking about the things they see themselves as having in common with your child, and not giving your other children enough attention.  To me, that seems possessive on your part (they're not seeing your family unit role in the way you want them to).  I don't think this possessive is bad per se, I think it is natural.  But I do think there's a bit of a stepping on eggshells turf defensiveness going on here.  I think it's going to be uncomfortable for awhile.  I think it may be unrealistic to expect them to take a lot of interest in siblings at this point (still not entirely sure what it is that you want from them specifically--other than more "acknowledgement" but that is a pretty fuzzy concept);  and unrealistic for you to be expected not to be put off by that.

 

A year is barely enough time to work through any grief they may have (on their part).  And there will probably be seasons and milestones where the awkwardness creeps up again. You say you are totally open to them visiting/calling anytime, and I believe that, but can you imagine that sometimes this is bittersweet for them?  Every time they call you, it may be yet another reminder of loss (even if they don't regret their decision) which can hurt even if you're glad.  There's nothing you can do to help that, if they're feeling awkward twinges, it's just going to be something that they have to work through. Ultimately though this relationship is not about feel good for you, your child's siblings, or the birthparents (though it's nice if that happens and I bet it will over time);  it's about keeping a connection for your child.  (And who knows, even after all this work, what she will feel like later on down the line as she sorts out for herself what her relationship with everyone will be like!)

 

I think it's great when you can fake please everyone, but not everyone is like that.  I think you are just going to have to be patient and uncomfortable and occasionally annoyed for awhile.

post #31 of 37
Thread Starter 

I just want to say that I really do not expect them to dote on or adore my other children. A simple hi how are you and how is school going would probably be enough. My issue was mainly that they specifically requested they not be there... to me that feels like going a step past fake niceties, a step past ignoring them completely, and to the point of actually excluding them. It is confusing for me, becuase they told us that the main reason they chose our family is because they wanted their daughter to have siblings, not just siblings, but older sisters. Why then are they dismissing that relationship and asking to see dd without her sisters?

post #32 of 37

Maybe they want it to be calmer..... maybe they can't afford gifts for all three children?  Maybe it is overwhelming for them?  You could always ask them. If I only got to see my child three times a year I may want to only see my child- I don't know.... I can't fathom only seeing my child every 4 months...

 

I can tell you about when my birthmom comes to visit- and I don't want my kids here because I want her all to myself and no distractions.

I might have them here for a day or two but then mainly I just want it to be me and her.... I don't want to share her.

post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sesa70 View Post

I just want to say that I really do not expect them to dote on or adore my other children. A simple hi how are you and how is school going would probably be enough. My issue was mainly that they specifically requested they not be there... to me that feels like going a step past fake niceties, a step past ignoring them completely, and to the point of actually excluding them. It is confusing for me, becuase they told us that the main reason they chose our family is because they wanted their daughter to have siblings, not just siblings, but older sisters. Why then are they dismissing that relationship and asking to see dd without her sisters?



I didn't realize they specifically asked that your other children not be there.  I just re-read your initial post more carefully and I totally missed that the first time.  But I could understand them wanting the one-on-one time with their birthchild.  I truly wouldn't be offended if they asked that there not be other children there for their visit.  Just because they want their birthchild's life to be filled with the joy of siblings doesn't mean that they want the very little time they have to connect with her spent trying to focus on so much going on.  But even then, I would be surprised if they didn't ask about their birthchild's day-to-day world and the people she lives with.  Maybe it's just because it's new to them and it just really hasn't fully taken hold in their mind yet.

post #34 of 37

For my family, at this point in time, birth parent visits with only "their" child just isn't feasible.  There's about 75 minutes between where DS's grandmother now lives and my home and about 90 minutes from DD's birth father's town and my home. I don't have any family in the area and I can't (and am really not willing to pay a babysitter $12-$15 an hour so we can go alone to a visit. So, for us, it really would be a deal breaker. It sounds cold, but it's a reality. And really, I don't want to do it. Maybe once, but not more than that.

post #35 of 37

Sesa, I think one thing that some of other posters and the birthparents just don't get is that you have a really hard year.  You have worked so hard to get to the place you are at.  And to be honest, as someone who has been "friends" with you for years, the idea that your other children not be present at the visit made me see red.  I don't know why they requested this, but as on over protective mom to a girl with special needs myself, it made my skin crawl.  I think it is so easy for others to see their place as the hardest, but everyone needs to take a step back.

 

I think the most important thing in planning visits is putting the kids first, but I do think all of the kids, as a family unit.  I have insisted that my daughter's birthmother visit us without her son.  But that was due to a very complicated situation.  He was born during one of the very long stretches when she was not communicating with our daughter.  We wanted our daughter to have slow transition to the idea the L had another child.  That was a deal breaker for L and she dropped out of the picture again.  I still feel badly, but it was the right decision for our daughter.  Now, fast forward a year and a half, and we do fun things together with all of the kids.

 

post #36 of 37

I also think as the baby gets older, this will get way easier.  Visits will become about doing something together, and that is so much less stressful.  How far away are the baby's birthparents?

post #37 of 37

I didn't realize they had asked to have visits with just your youngest daughter.  I can see how that would rub you the wrong way, but I also think it's natural that they would want to soak up as much time as they can with your baby girl.  After all, she *is* changing so much in these first couple years...it must seem like, every time they visit, they're meeting an entirely different and new child.  And what Tigerchild said about their grief being new, their experience being new, is so true-- It may be too much for them, at this point, to widen their perspective to include an entire family.  I'm sure it will come, though.  Just give them some time. 

 

I haven't "lost" a child to adoption, but for other reasons.  All I know is that grief is hard, and that it shows itself so differently from person to person.  When someone is grieving, they don't act like their normal selves.  They may try, but sometimes they come across as insensitive, or rude, or distant, or disconnected...it takes a long while to start functioning normally again, and to (for lack of a better way of putting it) get your social skills back.  I think it took me a couple of years after losing J, and even now I sometimes feel like I'm operating on a slightly different wavelength than the rest of the world.  Could this be what's happening with your daughter's bio family?  Maybe they're trying, but they're still so wrapped up in their own grief and experience that they can't see how their behavior looks to people on the outside?

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