To not want to take my children to Australia?

(256 Posts)
Andro Fri 04-Jan-13 19:48:42

I never thought I'd say this, but I really need the views of someone not connected to my situation.

Background: My DH and I are the adoptive parents of his sister's children (DS 9 and DD 5), we took them on after their parents were killed in a accident and the adoption was finalised just over a year ago. I couldn't love them more!

Problem: My in-laws live in Australia and are demanding that we take our DC to visit in the summer holidays, I've said no and now we are heading for war.

DS has a serious phobia of flying; not long before is DP died they were on a flight that had to make an emergency landing, he was bumped around pretty badly and he now has some serious problems. We didn't realise how bad his fear was (I don't think he knew either tbh) until we tried to take a flight to Ireland, the panic attack he had was so bad he had to be taken to hospital by ambulance, sedated until his vital signs stabilized and spent a few days there for observation. DS is now having treatment for his phobia, he is making progress but it's slow going and his therapist agrees that any flight right now would be counter-productive. My in-laws know all this, it has been explained to them in detail and both have acknowledged that over 24h of flight time for a phobic child is, and I quote "less than ideal".

Let battle commence: They have suggested that I should drug DS for the duration of the journey...I just about hit the roof! I have no problem with an adult choosing to take medication in order to travel, but to suggest I do that to a child? I don't even know if a doctor would agree to but in truth I don't care! My DH is in a lousy situation, he really wants to support me but is being emotionally blackmailed by his parents. I feel sorry for him really because his Mother really does know which buttons to press. She had tried everything from 'we haven't seen them since the funeral and we miss them terribly, we might not see them again if you don't bring them over' to 'it's not as if they're her (my) blood family, why should she have any say?' and just about everything in-between. DH is trying to hold strong but his Mother is getting to him and it's causing some heated discussions between us.

Summary: AIBU to refuse to consider drugging my DS in order to take him on a long haul flight?

(sorry for the mammoth post)

Homebird8 Sun 06-Jan-13 08:29:39

MusicAndDance I think you're right. Grownup problems need to be handled without risking DS feeling responsible in any way. Talking about GM's grief is likely to put his own in context and is in no way dependent on his ability to travel by air.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Sun 06-Jan-13 08:01:03

Re your last paragraph CatsRUs - I think great care would need to be taken around 'talk about how to handle it-including talking to your DS about his travel phobia'.

The danger in discussing the 2 issues together would be that OP's DS might feel that the difficulties are somehow his fault because of his phobia. This would be most unfair and may also upset the progress of his therapy.

Personally, I would want to keep the two issues as separate as possible but I expect the psychologist who is working with the child would be the best to advise abaout this.

catsrus Sun 06-Jan-13 01:33:36

I've been thinking about this - and having read lots of threads on MN over the years I know that some GPs (particularly GMs) see the children of their daughter as somehow 'closer' to them than the children of their sons. Lots of daughters -in - law posting about how the GM never babysits for them etc.

This is odd to me - and not my own experience as my totally wonderful MIL treated all her gcs equally and while I am not her daughter we have certainly been very good friends, I love her to bits and I know that I am 'family' to her (even after her DS decided he wanted a divorce). It may be that your dh's mum has this bias and she is feeling totally conflicted by the new relationships as well as devastated by her daughter's death. Somehow she may perceive her GCs as now being taken over as part of "your" family and not hers? so it's a double sense of loss.

Your own family sounds wonderful - and if they have taken your DH to their hearts then she might be picking up on this - and being overseas adds to her sense of loss and distance.

Your priority in all this has to be your children and what is best for them - you and your DH are best placed to make that judgement call - I do think that children are able to understand more than we give them credit for - so talking to your son about his GMs grief and how that is making her angry is probably a good idea. As a family unit you can have compassion for their GM and talk about how to handle it - including talking to your DS about his travel phobia. Honesty within a context of safety seems the right way to proceed. You can be kind in relation to your MIL without bowing to her desires.

good luck!

HildaOgden Sun 06-Jan-13 00:48:36

Mira won't come up with a better solution,because there is none.

The child is too traumatised to fly....they (GPs) are now left with the compromise of a second location to have a family holiday in.If they refuse it,they prove that they are being unreasonable.It really is as simple at that.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 06-Jan-13 00:29:35

I think it is sad that you have been accused of being a troll.

You have come across as very honest in your posts. It' s hardly unusual that people disgree on this part of MN.

You sound like a wonderful Mum OP. I am glad you and your DH are standing your ground.

Andro Sun 06-Jan-13 00:21:30

frogspoon - I'm not Mira.

I am new to the forum though and lurked for a while before joining and asking my original question. I have no reason to troll.

Andro Sun 06-Jan-13 00:13:41

I probably should have left this for tonight, but still...

Weekly contact between DC and DGP has been in place since they returned to Oz after the funeral, there has also been extra contact on special occasions (birthdays/exciting results/prizes/etc). This contact has very rarely been missed (I can think of 2 occasions, both unavoidable - one on our side and one on theirs) This is the first time there has been an issue.

Mira, what else can I do? Contact is in place and encouraged. I know MiL is hurting beyond measure and lashing out, but should we (DH and I) accept her cursing about me to a 9yo? A compromise has been offered, with no response. DH is going to talk to his parents tomorrow, but right now I don't know what else I can do to help the situation.

With regard to our relationship prior to the accident, we got on alright in general. There was 1 area of tension I never really understood, when DH and I were married my parents accepted DH as a son - they never use the 'in law' bit...no-one in my extended family does or ever has so far as I can remember (on either side). She really doesn't like that. If there's any other deep seated resentment, I'm not aware of it.

TidyDancer Sat 05-Jan-13 23:57:05

frogspoon - report if you think the OP is a troll.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Sat 05-Jan-13 23:55:43

she might be a selfish bitch, but still not right for GPs to say so to the child

TheCatInTheHairnet Sat 05-Jan-13 23:52:52

To be fair, we have no idea if the GPs are wholly in the wrong, as we only have the OPs side. Just as we have no idea if ECB's verdict that this is the plot for a book is the more accurate opinion (tbh, I thought that too). For all we know, the OP has, whether she meant to or not, given reason for the GM to call her a selfish bitch.

This is one of those threads where I would LOVE to hear both sides of the argument!

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Sat 05-Jan-13 23:52:32

I wouldn't tolerate my DParents or DILs slagging either of us off like that on skype to DCs either, it's not fair on the DCs

"laying down the law" and providing boundaries is part of the caring role whether you are guardians or birth parents or temporary foster parents or whatever.

catsrus Sat 05-Jan-13 23:51:58

I don't think the idea of adopting rather than simple guardianship is odd either. when my dcs were little they did ask who would look after them if anything happened to their dad and I - we told them who it would be and they did then say things like "X and Y would be our new mummy and daddy" - and we said yes they would be and they would love them and look after them. Even now, as adults, my dcs adore these two people because they grew up knowing that they would be there to care for them if need be.

OP all your instincts to protect your son are definitely maternal smile I would have been overjoyed if the woman we chose to look after our children was like you.

frogspoon Sat 05-Jan-13 23:51:57

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

clam Sat 05-Jan-13 23:50:25

And remember this post? "We have invited them to my family's holiday house but my MiL threw a strop and shut off the connection"

Who's being obstructive here?

maddening Sat 05-Jan-13 23:49:11

Mira - these are the decisions that all people caring for orphaned children have to take. Yes - as is life some things won't be done right as they don't in "normal" families - to hold those decisions against your caregivers is your perogative but taking a step back and looking at it from the adoptive parents' or caregivers pov you can see that it isn't an easy path to tread either.

Here the op is only considering the dc - she is doing everything right by them. It most definitely the gp's fault - they are extremely unreasonable and the op is still maintaining contact and looking for solutions.

clam Sat 05-Jan-13 23:48:37

Oh ffs, she IS bearing in mind the mindset of the grandparents! Which is why skype has been set up so they can have weekly video calls. Yet the gm thinks it's appropriate to abuse that by saying dreadful things to the boy about his adoptive mother, with whom he has bonded.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Sat 05-Jan-13 23:46:30

yup she is, and she offered a comprimise of meeting at a holiday home away from the site of the accident. its the GPs that are refusing to see the GCs unless its in Oz, the OP has tried to facilitate it by offering a plan B. There really isn't much more she can do if the GPs would rather fall out than find a solution in the middle ground.

TheBOF Sat 05-Jan-13 23:41:00

I don't think Mira is suggesting at all that the boy should be forced to fly, but just that the OP should bear in mind the mindset of the grandparents.mwhich she is, and which is fair enough.

Mira you're just sounding daft now. The OP is primarily considering the feelings of the child. The child who is so frightened of flying an ambulance had to be called last time they tried it. Did you miss that? hmm

TidyDancer Sat 05-Jan-13 23:34:50

Oh dear. This is a very emotive subject so I'm not surprised it's splintered.

Mira, might I suggest with the greatest respect, that you step away from the thread? Your comments are deeply offensive. I know where they are coming from and I understand why this upsets you, but your personal experiences seem to be clouding things here.

The OP is not in the wrong at all, the GPs are. One would hope they will come round and understand what they are asking of a phobic child.

HildaOgden Sat 05-Jan-13 23:28:43

Mira,answer the question......what solution do you have to offer to this?Apart from trying to do a Miss Marple on the Op and her timezones...what constructive advice do you have to offer as a solution to this situation?

CloudsAndTrees Sat 05-Jan-13 23:26:14

TheCat, I totally understand what you are saying, and tbh, I can't even begin to imagine the pain of losing a child so I might well be completely wrong. But I think if my adult child had died and left children, I would be eternally grateful to the person who was unrelated but loving my grandchildren as her own. I think I'd be practically throwing rose petals on her pathway to heaven I'd be so grateful.

ILoveSaladReallyIDo Sat 05-Jan-13 23:25:47

What are you suggesting Mira? that she drugs the child and takes it on a traumatic trip? that she doesn't act on inappropriate phone calls?

what exactly should she do differently? and what should she do instead?

HildaOgden Sat 05-Jan-13 23:23:55

Mira,you seem to be completely ignoring the fact that the childrens birth parents chose op and her husband to raise the children should anything happen to them (and any of us who have made a will,have faced that scenario and put in writing our wishes for our children),they did not chose the grandparents.

The bio parents of this children entrusted OP with their care...and that care involves making decisions that won't please all the people all the time.

Op isn't trying to distance the GPs,they are doing a good enough job of that themselves by demanding a terrified child be drugged up to cross the world to see them.No negotiations,no middle ground...it's their way or nothing.

Op hasn't looked to wipe all traces of bio parents out of the kids lives...she has done all she can so that they are treated as any child should be.Loved,and equal,regardless of circumstance.

MiraWard Sat 05-Jan-13 23:23:15

With respect to myself, I kinow exactly what it is like for the adults to put themselves first in this situation - feelings and all that - and ignore the feelings, rights, future relationships of the children - the ones who should come first.

If that is wrong of me, to feel for these children, whilst the grown ups "lay down the law" and otherwise decide what they will and will not do to facilitate contact etc.

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