I have not adopted a child, I do have lots of adoption in my family though. My oldest brother placed a child for adoption, my husband's sister placed a child for adoption and my brother and his wife have 2 adopted children (2.5 and 14months). My post here today is about my brother and his wife's situation. I'm posting here partially to vent (I need a safe place to let this out!), but also I need some words of advice to help me be more understanding and gentle...here goes...
So my brother and his wife were unable to conceive children. They had this miraculous adoption 2.5 years ago with their son. They brought him home from the hospital and have a great semi-open adoption with his birth mother (who is like, an angel). Anyways, they LOVE their son. Like, they call him "hunny, love, sweetness" etc. all day long, parent him in a very gentle loving way and just think the absolute world of him. They were always *hoping* to have more children but were happy and grateful to have their little family as is.
Fast forward 18months and in another miraculous way, they were able to adopt a little girl who was 5 months old. To say it was fast is an understatement. From the first time they even heard about the possibility (and it was really just a faint possibility as the birth mother was VERY unsure about weather or not she wanted to parent her daughter) to the day she was placed with them was less than 6 weeks. I know some adoptive parents wake up one day and get a phone call "there is a baby waiting for you!" but my brother and his wife weren't on a waiting list or even actively looking to adopt at the time. (it was a friend of a friend who directed the birth mother to them and so it was a private adoption). SO, it was quick. and they still lived in a ONE BEDROOM APARTMENT! And now bam, one day they have two children, 14 months apart. and holy smokes! I can only imagine how different it would be parenting a child from the day they were born to parenting an older baby who already has habits, relationships etc. not to mention that fact that they are so close in age! what a challenge! BUT....
(and here I'm going to insert 3 disclaimers before I continue: 1)I admit that I have less-than-no-idea what it would be like to be in that situation therefore I have no right to judge them really, 2)I understand that everyone gets to make their own choices on how to parent! Therefore I have no right to judge them for making different parenting choices than me and 3)I realize that most parents find that they change their "style" come the second or third child. I understand it's impossible to be exactly the same kind of parent to your second as you were to your first since you still need to continue to care for and love your first child.)
ok, so BUT...it has been 8 months since the adoption and I am having such a hard time even being around them because:
the favoritism is out of control. their son has become one of the worst temper tantrum, high energy, high needs toddler I've ever met and yet he can do no wrong in their eyes. (in a way, i admire the way they handle him, they are very gentle and loving and patient). their daughter on the other hand is a fairly independent, low needs little girl (i've never seen a baby play independently for such long periods of time) and my sister in law is constantly complaining about her to me. they also sleep trained her HARD CORE and she still cries herself to sleep for naps and bedtime (sometimes for 30 minutes or so...and that's months after she's been "trained"), whereas their son often sleeps in their bed! they sometimes spend upwards of an hour soothing him to sleep at night! it's like mind boggling how they can treat their children so differently. the language they use while speaking about and too their children is like night and day. with their son it's "oh sweetie, are you just the cutest boy ever? mommy loves you so much. what a good boy!" and with their daughter it's "no. stop whining, you have nothing to whine about, you're fine." and "you need a nap 'cause you're starting to get annoying" or "she's such a fatty, she'll eat anything. she's like a dog". and this is not once in a while. this is literally how i hear them speak. and although i don't see them daily, i see them often enough (at least once a month) and it's sometimes for days at a time (they come stay with my parents for visits often).
my sister in law is also constantly complaining about her daughter. it's to the point where i find it really awkward being around her because she'll say something really negative about her daughter and i just have nothing to say. like i don't know what to say in response! and i'm not trying to make her feel bad, but i literally cannot bring myself to agree with her or even "oh yea, i hear ya"...i just can't.
It's also really upsetting the lack of physical touch their daughter gets. i don't see them hold her, cuddle her. kiss her. when she gets up from her nap, they carry her the least amount of time they need to. the second they enter the playroom/main room she's down on the floor. i've even seen my sister in law move her out of the way with her foot SEVERAL times. a few times knocking her over by accident and just saying "oops! you're ok".
They have a double stroller and their daughter is ALWAYS in the bottom/back seat (where she can't see anything) because "she doesn't care about the view anyways".
I think what makes this so distressing to me is that they never treated their son that way when he was a baby. they still don't. they cuddle him and love him and speak so kindly to him. their daughter? she fell yesterday at the park and my sister in law comforted her for the shortest time possible. even while holding her she said to me "oh she's fine, she always cries and then cries because she's crying and then forgets why she's upset and then she's crying for no reason" and then plunks her down on the gravel and walks away (my poor niece still had tears in her eyes).
I'm just so sad about the whole thing! i feel sad for my brother and his wife because they are obviously struggling and stressed out. I feel sad for my neice and how she may be negatively affected by the way she is being parented (i'm worried she'll have attachment disorder). i feel sad for her birth mother (i've met her several times and sometimes i wonder if she saw the way her daughter was being parented if she'd still have placed her for adoption). i'm sad that my relationship with my brother and his wife is seriously suffering...i find it hard to be around them!
help please. insight, advice, words of encouragement...share your experience if you think it might help me deal with this situation...do i say something to them? do i just totally let it alone and hope it gets better?