Adopting my niece - want to talk to others in sim sit - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 11 Old 07-04-2010, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After my brother was killed by a drunk driver. My niece is just a few months older than my older child (almost 4). Looking for other families who have adopted a child from within their own family. Thanks.
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#2 of 11 Old 07-05-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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I am so sorry for your loss.

I adopted my neice. She is four months older than my son. The closeness in age was very hard.
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#3 of 11 Old 07-05-2010, 01:00 PM
 
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I'm sure lots of kinship care parents will come along here. I think the holiday weekend (U.S.) has everyone busy.

 











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#4 of 11 Old 07-05-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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Where is your niece's mother in this?

My in-laws adopted my niece (their grand-daughter). My SIL is a drug addict. The child's father is (short version) unknown and was noticed of the TPR by publication. My father-in-law died two years ago, so now my MIL is raising my niece (she's been adopted by by MIL, so legally I guess that makes her my sister-in-law also, but I and everyone else consider her as a niece).

My niece stays with us occasionally and if anything ever happens to my MIL, she would come live with us, so it is a possibility I've given some thought.

OP - What sort of questions or concerns do you have?

Tanya
Mom to John (age 11), James (age 9) & Katherine (age 5)
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#5 of 11 Old 07-06-2010, 10:11 AM
 
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I adopted my niece. She's our only child. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have on navigating kinship adoption.

In the meantime, blessings to you on the growth of your family!

Wendy ~ mom to VeeGee (6/05), who has PRS, Apraxia, SPD, VPI, a G-Tube, 14q duplication, and is a delightful little pistol! I'm an English professor and a writer.
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#6 of 11 Old 07-11-2010, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your replies! I guess I was just wanting to talk to others in similar situations - support mostly, as I just don't know anyone who has done this. Also, some specific questions:
-what do you say when people ask "Are all these yours?!" (I have 2 of my own, so 3 with my niece)
-how/when to talk about her father (dead) and mother (parental rights were court-terminated)
-how has it affected your family dynamics, both immediate and extended
-this is probably a general adoption-type of question - how to make things "fair" - I am just very aware of trying to make sure my oldest doesn't always get things first, or get the most of anything, etc.
-how to suddenly make room in my heart and my kids' hearts for this sweet girl; I saw her only a few times a year before this year, now all of a sudden she's with us 24/7
-I feel guilty that my kids now get less of my attention - how do I deal with this internally?
-should we see a family therapist?

Pumpkingirl71, can I PM you? I'm in Mass also.
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#7 of 11 Old 07-11-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpaigeadams View Post
Thanks for your replies! I guess I was just wanting to talk to others in similar situations - support mostly, as I just don't know anyone who has done this. Also, some specific questions:
-what do you say when people ask "Are all these yours?!" (I have 2 of my own, so 3 with my niece)
-how/when to talk about her father (dead) and mother (parental rights were court-terminated)
-how has it affected your family dynamics, both immediate and extended
-this is probably a general adoption-type of question - how to make things "fair" - I am just very aware of trying to make sure my oldest doesn't always get things first, or get the most of anything, etc.
-how to suddenly make room in my heart and my kids' hearts for this sweet girl; I saw her only a few times a year before this year, now all of a sudden she's with us 24/7
-I feel guilty that my kids now get less of my attention - how do I deal with this internally?
-should we see a family therapist?

Pumpkingirl71, can I PM you? I'm in Mass also.
Sure, you can PM me : ) I think a therapist is a good idea, finding the right fit can be very hard and take a long time.
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#8 of 11 Old 07-12-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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my parents adopted my cousin (my moms sisters son) but i lived at home before getting married so i feel like i can answer some of these ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpaigeadams View Post
Thanks for your replies! I guess I was just wanting to talk to others in similar situations - support mostly, as I just don't know anyone who has done this. Also, some specific questions:
-what do you say when people ask "Are all these yours?!" (I have 2 of my own, so 3 with my niece)
My mom would generally answer "yes." and smile. it was a bit different for us, though, because we are mexican american and he half black. I always say, "this is my brother" and never go into details unless its 1) away from him (he is six) and 2) if they are somebody is is semi important, like my dh side of the family, close co workers, etc...
-how/when to talk about her father (dead) and mother (parental rights were court-terminated)
we let him ask the questions. once in a while, he might ask, "where is Cindy?" and my mom will explain that she is living somewhere where kids are not safe and that we hope she gets help, but that at the same time, we love him so much and are so happy he is with us.
-how has it affected your family dynamics, both immediate and extended
Most extended family does not understand. they think he is "favored" because we do treat him differently, but only because he has ADHD, was a drug baby, so he has symptoms of that, autistic tendencies, etc ... but of course, no one gets it. for immediate family, my dad and younger brother have a hard time with him, and i feel like its because he looks different than us, and because of the behavioral problems. but that might not be your case... but those two reasons, not necessarily the fact that he is adopted, is what causes stress in the males of my family
-this is probably a general adoption-type of question - how to make things "fair" - I am just very aware of trying to make sure my oldest doesn't always get things first, or get the most of anything, etc.
hhmmm.... not sure .... we have an age difference, he is six, my next brother is 16, then the next is 21 and i am 23...
-how to suddenly make room in my heart and my kids' hearts for this sweet girl; I saw her only a few times a year before this year, now all of a sudden she's with us 24/7
for us, we got him as a baby, and i know i immediately fell in love with him. my mom had to bond a few nights, the rest of the family took a year or so to really feel like he was "ours." i guess its up to time
-I feel guilty that my kids now get less of my attention - how do I deal with this internally?
cant help you there, mama
-should we see a family therapist?
yes! my family REALLY needs to

Pumpkingirl71, can I PM you? I'm in Mass also.

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#9 of 11 Old 07-13-2010, 02:31 PM
 
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Snipping where I have input:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpaigeadams View Post
-how/when to talk about her father (dead) and mother (parental rights were court-terminated)

We haven't had the occasion to talk to VeeGee about her bfather at all -- not sure when/how that will come as he may as well be dead in terms of the info we have about him and his interest in contact. As to bmom, she's seen her a few times, and I've said things like, "You used to live with A, do you remember?" To that, she had a very violent negative reaction, so we've just talked about her as she is, functionally, to VeeGee (aunt, though we don't use the word "Aunt," just her name). I am, however, talking about adoption as often as possible, just so that she will never be blindsided nor think there's anything particularly out of the ordinary.
-how has it affected your family dynamics, both immediate and extended Well, we had a very difficult time at first with the birthfamily (my husband's grandparents, VeeGee's great grandparents). They simply didn't understand that we couldn't just be permanent babysitters, that we needed to make it more formal than that. I think they thought it would change their relationship with and access to VeeGee. And, for a while, it did, since they could not respect my new role as VeeGee's mom. It's smoothed out now, and, frankly, is as peaceful as I can imagine it being.

-how to suddenly make room in my heart and my kids' hearts for this sweet girl; I saw her only a few times a year before this year, now all of a sudden she's with us 24/7 I think this is a common question, even for people outside of kinship adoption. I'd only seen VeeGee twice myself before bringing her home. It took a while for our relationship to grow, for her to attach, and for me to attach. I think that's totally normal. There are still moments where I wonder if a particular reaction on her, or my, part is because of the "unnatural" beginning of our relationship. In terms of making room, I think that it just happens. Yes, there is a measure of consciousness that you must (will) bring to your interactions, but I imagine that it will grow to feel more and more natural as time passes. The fact will remain, however, that you just will have a different type of relationship with her -- not better or worse, just different.
-should we see a family therapist? YESSSSSSSS..

Wendy ~ mom to VeeGee (6/05), who has PRS, Apraxia, SPD, VPI, a G-Tube, 14q duplication, and is a delightful little pistol! I'm an English professor and a writer.
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#10 of 11 Old 09-11-2012, 09:06 AM
 
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I have a niece whom I adopted when she was 4 yrs old.  I took her in my home when she was just a few weeks old cuz my sister is a drug addict.  My daughter is now 10, and my husband and I have two other biological children ages 9 and a newborn.  Recently my sister was released from prison and I let her come around to visit, however, this has caused a wrench in the family dynamics.  My daughter knows that she is her birth mother, she grew up knowing she is adopted and has birth parents.  Currently I am in counseling with my daughter (which is not helping) because she is acting out at home and school on a regular basis.  She wants to keep in contact with my sister but my husband and I told her that my sister will not be involved with the family for now, I have yet to tell my sister anything.  I don't think she knows or cares that her presence is putting stress on my marriage.  Who is she to pop up suddenly after years of being a drug addict and years of being in prison to expect us to be "happy" with her trying to have a relationship with my daughter.  Yes, she had a another baby this summer and I am sure my child is wondering why she is keeping her?  I wonder if my kid thinks about this, her having another kid. 

My child acts out at school and home, she is constantly grounded due to her behavior and the fact that she is habitual liar.  I truly believe things started going downhill when I let my sister visit a few times within the last year.  My kids have not seen her in several months and I am sure that is probably the reason why her behaviour has steadily gotten worse.

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#11 of 11 Old 09-11-2012, 05:00 PM
 
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(Wendy, hi! I am so glad that things have gotten better with VeeGee's grandparents. I know that was a huge source of pain to you for a long time.) 

 

jpaigeadams, I have not adopted a relative, but as a foster mom I have facilitated a kinship placement of a 4-year-old. The relatives who took him in with the intent to adopt had parenting experience, a strong church support network, and BOUNDARIES OF STEEL with the drug-addicted biomom. The last time I saw my foster son, about four months after the placement, he had bonded well to his new mother. And I'm currently fostering a child who is just a few months older than my oldest child. 

 

To give my .02 to your questions:

 

1. Of course, they are all yours. Never doubt it. 

 

2. For a 4-year-old, I would recommend therapy (with you always present, remember, one of the main GOALS of the therapy is to help you form a parent/child bond) where you explore productive ways to talk about the early tragedies that caused your daughter to be separated from her bioparents. Outside the family and close friends, don't talk about it. She is your daughter and that's that. This is something I have learned from fostering an older child - they aren't interested in sharing their story with the known universe, and they want to be able to call you "Mom" and not be challenged by acquaintances. If your daughter grows up to feel differently, you can always change your policy and share more information, but you can never take back the information you've shared.  

 

3. The "fairness" issue is something that all parents deal with when they add to the family by whatever means - you'll work through it, just remember that treating children with equal love does not mean treating them identically. 

 

5. Fake it 'til you make it. You will bond with your new daughter. Give yourself time. 

 

6. As with the "fairness" issue, all parents struggle with diluting their attention when a new child comes into the family, and it resolves in time. 

 

7. You should probably take pumpkingirl's advice on the family therapy. It's not something I can imagine doing, but she is the one who has experience in kinship adoption.

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