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AD rejected by family member, just need to offload really

(74 Posts)
Dandelionandburdock1 Sat 26-Dec-15 19:10:10

LO has been with us for almost 10 months since she was 9 months old.
My sister, my only sibling came to visit after a couple of months (she lives 40 mins away) bringing gifts and quite sweet with AD, but almost within minutes of arriving told me that her long term boyfriend of 20 years "finds this whole SITUATION (indicates to AD) very difficult which is why I've come alone. She completely took away the joy of her meeting her new Bruce for the first time and somehow made me feel guilty?!

Since then, we've only seen him once at my parents wedding anniversary which he couldn't have missed. Due to seating plan he was sat next to AD, who he barely acknowledged and no mention to me in our brief conversation. Not even a "congratulations how's it going?".

We usually see them at Christmas, this year it was a text from my sister suggesting a meet up half way, walk and "hot chocolate", the first time ever that we haven't had a proper family gathering at Christmas at someone's house with lunch, present giving, walk, tea etc.

She suggested day, time and place. I thought OK maybe this will be more neutral for her BF but no, when we got there she was alone. He'd "gone trouser shopping" for an evening wedding invite of people she'd never met at a venue she didn't know yet and said it was a last minute invitation.

I'm very hurt, been brewing on this all day that a grown man could not want to have contact with an 18 month old baby (who is frankly gorgeous) and not want to see his other half's sister, husband and kids (his only nieces and nephew)

They have no children of their own as "he couldn't love a child that wasn't biologically his" and they've been unable to conceive.

I'm wondering where this leaves us. I want to have it out with her but we're not that type of family and what good would it do?

Very sad for my daughter right now sad

Dandelionandburdock1 Sat 26-Dec-15 19:11:06

Niece not Bruce! Good old spell check..

NigelLikesSalad Sat 26-Dec-15 19:27:18

What a bizarre attitude. He sounds delightful. It's very hard on you though but if it were me I'd be gently removing myself away from them, they have obviously had a very difficult time if they've been unable to conceive and he's maybe fighting his own demons over infertility/thoughts of adoption but he, and your sister have behaved appallingly towards you and your daughter.

Adoption is a very happy but also difficult journey at the best of times without other people making it more difficult. Enjoy your beautiful daughter, along with the rest of your family who have accepted her just for what she is - your daughter.

Riderontheswarm Sat 26-Dec-15 19:49:17

I would not waste any emotion on him. And if my sister continued to humour his attitude I wouldn't be too concerned about her either. Just let them get on with it and enjoy your daughter.

Alljamissweet Sat 26-Dec-15 20:13:56

IME, DH couldn't cope with anyone else's kids esp babies before we had our LO (who we adopted 3 yrs ago placed). It was all too raw for him to manage.
I would suspect it might be the same with the boyfriend......?

Whatevva Sat 26-Dec-15 20:25:10

I suspect it is more about what is going on in his head and in their relationship. Try not to take it personally as it is not your or your DD. Your sister is obviously making an effort but is lacking support from her boyfriend, which is not good.

user7755 Sat 26-Dec-15 20:40:06

Can you speak to him rather than your sister and find out what he is on about?

Or perhaps email rather than speak to them? Ask them exactly what he finds weird about it and how they propose to manage the situation. Explain that your daughter is part of your sister's family as well as yours and that you would like her to be able to enjoy that.

Perhaps ask if there are any questions he wants to ask to help him feel less 'weird'.

My aunt (who is supposed to be a Christian) was horrified when we told people we were adopting because we might get a <clutches pearls and whispers> prostitute's child!

has he got form for being an arsehole?

Haffdonga Sat 26-Dec-15 21:19:26

I agree that this is his problem not your dd’s. You have only one job – to protect your dd from his arseholiness.

I’d probably have a very very upfront conversation with your dsis. Explain that you don’t want to lose your relationship with her (or her dp) but that you have to prioritise your dd and that if your dsis’s dp cannot behave in an adult warm and kind way towards your dd then he can no longer be included in your family. (Feeling unwelcomed by a family member she sometimes meets is potentially more damaging to your dd than never meeting him). Your dsis is then going to have to decide where her loyalties lie.

And - not your problem , but I’d be worried that he’s alientating your dsis from her family. How long is he planning to keep this up? All your dd’s life? hmm

Dandelionandburdock1 Sat 26-Dec-15 21:51:20

Thanks all, Nigel I cried reading your reply. So lovely to be understood.

It's very hard in reality to ignore the situation, I know it's going to come up again soon for DD's christening - what lame excuse this time? I feel very protective towards DD and it's so alien to me that anyone could feel that way about a small child.

i know logically you're all right, it's his head that's messed up, not my problem. I don't think any words I might say are going to change his mind and I don't want to make things worse. I'm trying to be respectful by not sharing photos of our happy family etc sad

But they would never go down the IVF / adoption route and sister made it clear that was down to him but she 100% supports his stance.

He's very into children, godfather to quite a few, very much part of their lives, so this is specifically around adoption.

What made me especially sad in the summer was how my sister trampled over my feelings was obviously 100% sympathetic to her boyfriend. Her eyes welled up for him, no consideration towards me and her new baby niece sitting on my lap.

We recently had AO then celebration hearing and not so much as a card.

NigelLikesSalad Sat 26-Dec-15 22:12:49

There is probably a lot going on behind their closed door that's awful for them, I wouldn't wish infertility on anyone, no matter how knobish it may make them, but that's really not your problem. To reject a small baby under any circumstances is plain cruel to you and your family.

Regards the christening, I'd be inclined to let bygones be bygones if you are not a confrontational person. Invite them but don't give a seconds thought to the excuses to his absence, just nod politely and move on to all the people that are there because they are overjoyed for you.

Personally I'm a slightly confrontational person and would have told him exactly what I thought ..... but it's not for everyone so being the bigger person will probably given you greater peace with it all. Don't give it any more head space. Enjoy DD's christening smile

Dandelionandburdock1 Sat 26-Dec-15 22:20:51

We have two BC so it's specifically adoption that's his issue. Shame he couldn't grin and bear it (her) for the sake of our family and Christmas.

Needed to get it off my chest it was hurting my heart for her sake, I hope she never works it out when she's old enough. I remember hearing that some support networks fell away after adoption but never expected my immediate family sad

NigelLikesSalad Sat 26-Dec-15 23:14:51

He's been fine with your BC then? If that's the case I'd definitely give him a wide birth. Yes he might be hurting or there might be some adoption issues in his past that you don't know about but your daughter is a child so his behaviour, and your sister's is inexcusable.

I think your network does change through the process and then once the dust settles but of course you wouldn't expect it to be immediate family, that's heartbreaking but you can't control their behaviour, only yours. So, put them behind you and enjoy your new year with your new family smile

NigelLikesSalad Sat 26-Dec-15 23:16:40

Sorry for poor punctuation. It was a long night last night with LO teething and I am pooped. :/

Italiangreyhound Sun 27-Dec-15 02:35:40

No advice but I agree with Nigel and whateeva and halfdonga! Lots of good advice.

Dandelionandburdock1 it's a bit of a long shot but could he be adopted or could he have grown up in care. It seems very odd that he has this feeling. Has he had a child taken away by social services or perhaps a former partner had a child removed? It just seems so odd.

All the best.

slkk Sun 27-Dec-15 23:56:49

Yes I also wondered if he had any personal experience with ss. But as others say, this is his problem, not yours. I hope you manage to salvage something from your relationship with your sister and enjoy the new year with your family.

slkk Mon 28-Dec-15 00:01:15

And don't avoid sharing photos - really, it's his problem. Let the rest of the family enjoy your dd.

Dandelionandburdock1 Mon 28-Dec-15 09:20:48

You guessed right, don't want to go into too much detail for fear of outing myself

He and my sister were asked to adopt a close family members child 10 years ago (BM MH reasons) but declined to so the child was adopted outside of the family. I realise that must have been a painful decision and I'm sure our recent adoption must bring back traumatic memories and possibly guilt (although my sister gave the impression that they were incredulous at being put in the awkward position of being asked)

but I feel the damage is done now and cant see him changing his mind about having contact with my AD.

I know this is the reason why but why can't he see that my daughter is a completely different child, he is punishing her for something that is nothing to do with her. I'm trying to put myself in his position but surely this is his chance to be part of a happy ending for an adopted child.

I feel compassion for him but anger too. In the summer I told my sister that I'd be happy to chat with him, explained that he may be able to write a letter to go to the adopted relatives child to stay on their file, she said he had no interest in contact and even the BM had moved on with her life and had no regrets/desire for contact. I got the impression that he and my sister have no regrets about not adopting the child.

I think we just have to get on with our lives and never really understand what's going on in his head or why he doesn't want to see us any more.

Haffdonga Mon 28-Dec-15 13:02:14

Ah, that bit of context makes it a bit easier to understand (but not excuse) his overreaction. He may be experiencing a shed load of cognitive dissonance.
(Cognitive dissonance can work like this: Fact 1. I didn't/couldn't/wouldn't adopt our relative's child + Fact 2. I am not a bad person, love children and would like to be a parent = conflicting facts!! Flashing lights! Brain explodes!! To live with these two contradictory beliefs, Brain needs to create a third unifying belief that it will cling to come hell or high water despite any contradictory evidence. In your BILs case this belief is obviously that adoption itself is wrong/difficult/impossible. )

This is such a tough one for everyone but bottom line - he's behaving like an arse and you have a precious and wonderful dd to protect and cherish. I would be tempted to take him at his word, tell your sister you 'respect' his choice and stop inviting him to christenings, family get-togethers etc. Invite your sister on her own every time. Explain to your sister that you must protect your dd from negativity and but you would love her to be in all your family's lives. Make it your choice to protect your dd from BIL and not his choice to hurt you. Your dd will lose nothing as she's never known him. Mind you, he sounds like the sort of person who will soon feel the need to be the Fun Uncle at the centre of attention again

Have a very special and wonderful new year with people that love you. thanks

Dandelionandburdock1 Mon 28-Dec-15 13:28:04

Thank you SO much for your wise words, v emotional again reading and you are absolutely right I must protect her from negativity. I feel very protective to her (and raw!) she deserves only love and positivity, how dare he reject her?

I find that CognitiveDissonance explanation a little easier to contemplate, until now I've been thinking "but even so WHAT does that have to do with MY AD??" I felt that if it were me in his situation, I would be MORE drawn to this child and feel more of a sense of duty to welcome and love her.

I'm going to take your advice and make it MY choice, not his (grits teeth, must remember this!)

Happy new year to you too

combined02 Mon 28-Dec-15 15:12:03

Haffdonga, taking your theory to its logical conclusion, you think that people who do not agree with adoption/would not adopt are bad people? Or did I misunderstand?

If so I totally disagree. I know some thoughtful, intelligent, kind, generous people out there who would not adopt out of principle, and some who would not adopt because they know their own limitations.

It is important to try to understand where people are coming from. I don't disagree that the OP should take charge of the situation and make it her choice, but I do think before doing so it is worth trying to find out how this man feels and why he feels that way (because I don't think the OP has the full picture) as if nothing else it will help her explain things to her family when the time is right, and also help her deal with anyone else who feels the same way.

combined02 Mon 28-Dec-15 15:22:45

PS OP I am sorry about your upset, and also sorry if my post was abrupt. Whether dc are bio or adopted, people can say hurtful things and sometimes it makes it impossible to continue a relationship with them, for fear of the affect they'd have on your dc. I hope that you find a way to sort it out which everyone is happy with.

thefamilyvonstrop Mon 28-Dec-15 15:36:12

I don't think not adopting the earlier child makes him/them bad people but I agree he may well be projecting his own feelings onto the situation. He clearly disagrees with adoption either in principle or in terms of what's right for him (e.g. he has said he couldn't love a child that wasn't biologically his) but whatever the reason, he is creating a potentially very hurtful and dangerous split. It won't take much time or advancement for a child to spot that the fun uncle to other children behaves differently to them and this knowledge could fuel huge issues. I think in this issue, as an adult with support around him, he needs to figure out his feelings himself. I agree totally with haff - withdraw all invites to him and explain upfront that's the position of the family. The priority has to be the vulnerable child. By withdrawing all invites and clearly explaining why, it removes the power he has to hurt the OP and child at every occasion when he avoids them or creates a wishy washy excuse. It definitely protects them from being ignored which is frankly inexcusable from an adult to a child.

Haffdonga Mon 28-Dec-15 15:54:31

Oh no Combined. I hope that's not what it sounds like. Of course there's absolutely no wrong or right when it comes to personal beliefs about adoption (or most other areas) and everybody and every situation are different.
Mind you, I would say there is quite a lot wrong with behaving like a shit to a newly adopted family member.

Cognitive dissonance is more about a person feeling uncomfortable because they hold conflicting beliefs within/about themselves, so creating a way of dealing with it by creating their own justification. I just wondered if the cognitive dissonance 'model' might explain this seemingly irrational and extreme reaction by the BIL.

FATEdestiny Mon 28-Dec-15 16:22:28

Cognitive dissonance is more about a person feeling uncomfortable because they hold conflicting beliefs

I don't know what cognitive dissonance is, but if I take the above sentence as an explanation then...

(Fact 1) - I believe that a parent cannot love a child that was not biologically theirs
(Fact 2) - DPs sister clearly loves her adopted daughter.

Two directly conflicting beliefs to be processed. Also:

(Fact 3) - We cannot conceive naturally and we cannot adopt, as per fact 1
(Fact 4) - We would like to be parents.

Two more directly conflicting beliefs.

Maybe these four conflicting beliefs are making him challenge his beliefs and this is causing him upset. He assumes he could not be a 'proper parent' to an adopted child. Therefore he has reconciled to the fact that he therefore cannot be a parent. You are showing him that is not true and so you are causing him to doubt himself.

Maybe he is wondering if he could adopt after all. When he is used to the idea of never being a parent, this is being turned on its head. What if. What if I can be a 'proper parent' who loves their adopted child after all - he may be thinking.

Which in turn would cause him to feel guilt in relation to the potential adopted child he turned down.

combined02 Mon 28-Dec-15 16:50:00

Yes, I totally agree with "It won't take much time or advancement for a child to spot that the fun uncle to other children behaves differently to them and this knowledge could fuel huge issues" - it could happen for reasons other than adoption but whenever such a situation arises it is not ok, I agree.

So, he has strong views about adoption not being a good idea, and he wants to stay away, but it wasn't possible at the other dinner. I do think that most people would be able to put such principles aside when actually interacting with an adopted child, and show them interest and warmth, and it does sound surprising he just couldn't, so I personally would definitely want to know more about what is going on.

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