I am separated right now. After three years of fertility issues, my husband wants to give up on ever having a baby. I want to adopt, but he can’t get…
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I recently adopted a 6-year-old from China, my 3rd child. The whole family was part of the decision, as my older daughters had long wanted a little sister. My partner…
I’m a new adoptive mom to a beautiful little three-month-old boy. I was checking Facebook this evening when I saw that one of my friends had posted a photo that…
Some of you have no doubt seen a few of my posts about my reluctant and racist family over the last nearly two years. This October will be two years…
This is a thread from an old Forum. Perhaps there is something you can add to it? ChuckB: We brought home our 3 year old son from India in October 2009. My sister has a 13 month old bio girl, and it seems pretty clear that the two grandchildren are treated differently. They babysit her at least twice a week, but when I ask them to babysit they say no. Sometimes when I ask them if we can come over they say no or make up an excuse. One time they said they were on vacation at home and they didn’t want anyone to come over. The next day I called them and my sister was there with her daughter and husband! Whenever we’re at their home and they have company come over, they seem to always point out that our son was adopted and that he is the only adopted child in the family. Within the first few weeks after we arrived home they told us we should only speak to him in English and not use the few Malayalam words we learned because “He’s an American now and needs to learn English.” When we explained that we would be teaching our son about his heritage and incorporating some Indian traditions into our family they became angry and said that we were wrong. They further stated that we should wait until our son is a teenager before teaching him about India and that he should learn about America first. My wife’s parents are great. They’ve outright said that it doesn’t matter if our son came to us through adoption and that he is their grandson, period. They don’t have a problem with us teaching our son about his Indian heritage and they babysit at least every other week and offer to babysit often. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions on how I can deal with this? JoyOfAdoption: This is similar to a recent thread, also in this forum, titled “when in laws are mean to your child and reject him or her.” I posted a pretty long response there so I’ll try to keep this post short and with hopefully different information. It irks me to no end, however, to hear these stories so I feel I have to respond. If you can, please take comfort knowing that your family is not unique in its experience. Some people can be very limited in their views and what they will openly accept. While you and I know that your child is simply a child in need of love and a good home, others, unfortunately some very close to you, see something else. But that something else has nothing to do with your child, it has to do with an issue inside of your parents. Your situation is difficult to assess what the issues are within your family. Is it the fact of adoption, nationality, skin color, or gender - you never know what is going to trigger craziness by family members. Because your situation is so new, just coming home in October (congratulations!) maybe your family just needs time for this to become a reality. Adoption is hard for family members to relate to because they don’t see the pregnancy like they did with your sibling, and they just don’t connect to the adoption process despite the fact that the emotional ups and downs are just as great as with a pregnancy - sometimes more so because in adoption you have absolutely no control. I have multiple friends with babies of different race or nationality who now, seven or more years after the adoption, are accepted and loved much better than they were initially. Still not the same maybe as biological children in the extended family, but still much better than initially. As for my family - well it’s only been 15 months, but with the grandparents that have these types of issue, at least touched our youngest child this year. It’s better than last year. I don’t know what we will do if the difference in treatment remains obvious as all of the children get old enough to recognize it. It will be an ongoing evaluation. But I will do my best, as I’m sure you will, to make sure my children know that their value as individuals is not related to how much grandma or grandpa love them. Thanks for sharing on the forum so that we can all learn from each other. luluvpc: Gravitate towards those that support and let time work on those that don’t understand YET. Walk in truth and love and do not waver. An opinion of an adoptive mother, Lisa ChuckB: After over a month without seeing my parents, we traveled to see them last weekend. While I’m still convinced they don’t “get it” I think there is hope for the future. There have been at least 2 negative statements made about people of color by my family recently, so I know they’re still a “work in progress.” It will probably take time, but I pray things will work out. momwithaplan: I’m so sorry that you are having to deal with this. I hope in time your parents will see how they are acting. Surround yourself with people who are supportive and loving to your little one and keep praying for your parents hearts to soften. Lucky family of 5: I understand the frustration. In our case our parents are all great and brag about her as much if not more than all the other grand kids. My husbands grandparents on his mother’s side are not the most warm, inviting people I have ever met to begin with but when they refer to my daughter who is adopted from Russia as “the emigrant” instead of their great grand daughter was the last straw. She has been home for 2 years now and I have no patience for people like that family or not in our lives. If they want to apologize then we can move forward but we feel we have lots of family support in our lives that we don’t need our children to be exposed to that as my oldest son at 8 years old is very aware of how they treat people differently. elpe: Although never outwardly negative, I was surprised at the less-than-enthusiastic response from some family members to my adoption plan. We are a well educated, liberal family in a diverse city. But what I came to realize is that they too have a genetic stake in my offspring, and you can’t deny that powerful, biological, hard-to-explain emotional motivation. For me this was manifest when, after my father died, my sister seemed intent on my switching my adoption plan (I’m single) to using a sperm donor. And her idea that having lost our beloved father, I had a chance to continue my father’s legacy - maybe having a son I could name after him, a boy that might even look like him - was very compelling. Until my father’s death, the biological connection seemed so unimportant to me. But ultimately, I stuck with my adoption plan. I suspect one aspect of the situation with Chuck’s parents is that as fair as it is to give adoptive parents room to grieve the loss of their chance for a biological child, so too may grandparents feel the lost opportunity for their biological grandchildren. Which can hit older people facing the end of their life’s journey harder than younger people starting out. Unfortunately, it seems his parents are quite insensitive to their son and daughter-in-law’s feelings and can’t seem to hide their rejection of this child very well. If they had multiple biological grandchildren, maybe they’d be more welcoming. And also, for some people from an older generation, a transracial adoption is hard to deal with - and I don’t mean from a racist standpoint, it’s just something they’ve never had any experience with, something they never imagined would touch their lives. As adoptive parents, we’ve spent an enormous amount of time, energy (not to mention money) preparing and yet we get our child and thrust him into the arms of everyone and assume they’re going to be completely comfortable with everything. As Rhonda says, I am pretty sure they will adjust and adapt. And perhaps it would be helpful for them if Chuck and his wife allowed them to express their discomfort openly and honestly. If it can be done in careful manner, without defensiveness and accusations, maybe it can be helpful. They might be able to say that they just can’t get over how dark his skin color is - and saying that out in the open rather then having them shut the blinds and pretend they’re not home is a healthier alternative in the long run. seamemories05: We are just starting our adoption path. We are excited. I am hesitant to say we are still grieving the loss of the idea of biological children but we are focusing on moving forward. I know my in laws are grieving. Their disappointment and sadness is clear but aligned with the disappointment we felt. My parents however seem less supportive. They have never been enthusiastic about the idea of us having kids at all but with a pregnancy they wouldn’t have talked us out of it. Now with planning and decisions to be made they seem to find many opportunities to suggest that maybe we just shouldn’t have kids. They seem to suggest that life with out kids is freeing. I am beginning to wonder if they regret having me. I am very submissive to my parents and have a hard time confronting them. My husband and I want a family and are excited about adoption but their negativity seems to send us back a few steps rather then forward. I want to clearly state to them that this is our plan and they can either get on board 100% or jump ship but they can not hang on and drag us down, but I am afraid to have this conversation. Any suggestions or literature on how to have this conversation? elpe: I really sympathize with seamemories05, but I would caution you against any kind of ultimatum to your reluctant parents to get on board or bail. You might want their support RIGHT NOW, but they just might not be able to do it. But at the same time, you want to leave room for them to evolve into it. I would suggest trying to remove them from any part of the equation that you can remove them. They really don’t have too much to do with it after all… they have their own lives and you have yours. I remember when my sister-in-law was just expecting her mother to help with her kid when she went back to work and was so shocked and offended when her mother refused to help in anyway. Meanwhile, my sister-in-law’s mother confided in me that she had no interest whatsoever in being a nanny, part time or otherwise. She had raised her kids and was DONE with it - and that SHE was actually offended as well that her daughter just assumed she’d make herself available. She wasn’t much of a kid person, especially babies. Now, years later, her grandchildren are older and she is more interested and involved in their lives as the kids actually bring more to her. But, I don’t blame her at all for her earlier decision. It’s her life. Maybe you need to ask yourself how much are you expecting your parents to be involved with your child that they might be reluctant to do. Or do they maybe just worry that you are going to expect to much. I had one grandmother that was the classic grey haired bundle of love, and the other who didn’t have the time of day for anyone who couldn’t hold up their end of an intellectual conversation, which left us kids pretty much out until we got older. Either way, it was all good. It just was what it was.
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