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DH doesn't know Dad's side of the family- problem?

(14 Posts)
RosieandJim89 Thu 16-Jun-16 19:20:24

DH has half siblings from his Dads first marraige but he doesn't know any of them and couldn't even name 2 out of 4 of them as live abroad and he has never even seen a photo. He has met 2 of them once or twice as they pop around when they think they can get some money on birthdays every couple of years but that is it.
The social workers have said that panel may look unfavourably on this if a child has siblings that they want us to maintain contact with.
I have also had an email today asking us for details about them and asking us to put them on the family tree. They are currently writing the PAR so all this has been discussed already and they never mentioned at the time this was a problem other than panel possibly having a concern.
Has anyone else had this and it not been an issue? Should we be worried?

RosieandJim89 Thu 16-Jun-16 19:22:06

I forgot to say - DH doesn't really want them on the family tree as he does not consider them to be family but he will do it for the sake of the adoption if we have to.

JustHappy3 Thu 16-Jun-16 20:12:16

I think they have to go on. But i think it's also worth you both taking some time out to reflect and discuss and think about your husband's attitude. They are related to him and yet as an adult he still continues to dismiss them as being "not family". Does it make him uncomfortable? Does he prefer not to discuss it? At the absolute bluntest my worry would be how he is he going to be able to help a traumatised child to reflect and understand their own background when he is so very "they don't count" about his own?
So i think you should be worried for your future child's needs rather than as form filling box ticking issue iyswim.

RosieandJim89 Thu 16-Jun-16 20:22:07

He doesn't consider them family as he has never met 2 out of 4 of them and the other 2 he met for the first time when his dad had a heart attack and was in hospital 6 years ago and only once or twice since. The youngest of them all would have been around 16 when he was born and none of them have ever tried to be a part of his life. They have never asked about him, wished him happy birthday etc and his own Dad does not have a relationship with them so he wouldn't even know where to start in terms of building a relationship with any of them. He is very close to his mums side and has no issues with the fact that his Dad has other children, he just doesn't see them as siblings as they have never acted as such. No one has ever tried to encourage a relationship between them but if there was a relationship there that hadn't been maintained he would probably be different.

CrazyCatLaydee123 Thu 16-Jun-16 20:34:18

Well at the end of the day, blood relatives or not, they aren't really his family in the true sense of the word. I mean, he's never met them and they're clearly not that fussed!

As many people on this board probably feel, it is love that makes a family, not genetics.

In the case of sibling contact for adopted children, perhaps your DH can reflect on it and spin it as something that he missed out on, and as such would actively encourage a sibling relationship for children.

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Thu 16-Jun-16 20:35:14

It's the adults' job to nurture and build relationships with siblings who don't live together so I don't think your Dh should feel one iota of responsibility or shame about this.

But it might be a useful jumping off point for thinking about what wasn't done when he was a child and how relationships might/ought to have been facilitated by his parents and how he will make sure his children have a better experience in this regard.

And in turn that might be a useful way to approach it with panel?

RosieandJim89 Thu 16-Jun-16 21:03:55

Thanks all. I think in some ways his Dad's family has shown him how he DOESN'T want to raise his family and so yes he could reflect on that.

Italiangreyhound Fri 17-Jun-16 00:17:19

RosieandJim89 in one sense maybe putting DH's biological half siblings on the family tree is not a big issue, and in one sense leaving them off would not be a big issue except it kind of shows that he is isn't able to accept the reality of them because he doesn't know them.

Putting them on the form won't create a relationship where one does not exists. And I agree with others that he should not feel bad or responsible for there not being a relationship.

However, you may have to deal with these 'issues' through adoption, and it is good to know things are resolved and fine.

For example your child, when they come, might have a similar-aged sibling or one who is a lot older or younger than them now - full or half sibling. Or maybe in the future they will have a new birth sibling or half sibling. It's worth thinking about how you might 'deal' with that and how you may help a child to process this. If the new sibling stays with birth family your child may not meet them during childhood, but they will need to know about them. If the child is taken into care they may be adopted and your child would probably be able to meet them.

Just because the child has not seen or will not necessarily see a sibling will not necessarily mean the child will feel the same way as your husband does. I think that may be one area a social worker may want to be sure of. Namely, that your dh will be able to cope with your child having a sibling they may not see etc.

Our son came to us as an only 'child' and we have a birth dd so he has a sister now. But I am always aware that at any time in the next however many years either his birth mum or birth dad may (together or apart) may parent a child. It is unlikely that child would be able to stay with their birth parents if the circumstances are the same as they were when our son was removed into foster care.

So one thing one takes on with adoption is a certain degree of uncertainty. If our son were to have a full or half birth sibling I would do all I could to ensure he was able to have a relationship with the child, if appropriate, in some form. He would definitely need to know about them. I think these may be the kinds of things social workers may be concerned about in relation to this issue. How would these things be handled. I am sure you would handle them well but social workers will want to ask about things for this reason (IMHO).

I think part of adoption is just thinking about these 'issues' and things in our own lives can feed into them. For example if you and your husband adopt and then there is a sibling somewhere, perhaps in the future, will this bring up unhappy memories or concerns for your dh?

Putting people we are related to on our family tree is one way of working through these issues before any child is on the horizon.

It must be possible to get the names of the two 'half-siblings' from someone and if not then you can genuinely tell the social worker you can't find them (but I expect Somerset House would know). You can ask the social worker how to best reference this if your dh chooses to include them.

Hope this makes sense.

All the best.

RosieandJim89 Fri 17-Jun-16 07:30:41

Thanks ItalianGreyhound, that has given us something to think about. It wasn't hard to get there names as DH just asked his Dad. He will put them on the family tree if they ask that of us but it would on a superficial level. I will tell DH to get thinking about what he will say if/when asked such a thing at panel.

Haffdonga Fri 17-Jun-16 11:11:16

I think (but I'm not a social worker) that the reason your SW may focus on the issue of your dh's non contact siblings is not to do with whether or not he sees them as part of his family but more to do with how he has processed the situation, which gives a clue as to how he might deal with other family issues that will inevitably crop up when you adopt.

Of course there are no rights or wrongs as to how your dh should 'deal with' it but not wishing to add them to the family tree is quite a strong statement in itself that he sees them as 'irrelevant'. Most people would probably feel something about non contact family, whether just mild curiousity or enormous positive or negative emotions. By refusing to include them on the tree it might make your dh look as if he's not willing or able to examine these feelings and that would be a Bad Thing.

As IG points out in her lovely post, your dh's situation may have strong similarities to one that his dc will face. If he can show the SW that he has thought long and hard through all the complex feelings and emotions of what never having met a blood relative feels like and how he has successfully come to terms with it, then that may go in his favour, showing his potential empathy and resilience in supporting his future dc dealing with the same.

I'd get your dh to think through how he'd answer the SW if he gets asked:
How do you feel about the way your df cut contact with his dcs? (How would it change your own parenting choices?)
Have you ever wanted contact with these siblings? (If no, could you support and relate to an adoped dc who does want contact with their siblings?)
How would you feel if one of these siblings made contact with you out of the blue? (And how might an adopted dc feel if the same happens to them?)
What feelings did you have about them growing up? And now? Did you feel curious or not? Why? Did you imagine them as idealised or terrible? Did you feel hurt, rejection, anger or anxiety about their lack of contact? Can you understand why an adopted dc might feel any of those feelings about their NC bio family?

It feels that SWs like you to have a bit of complexity in your family history so their assessment can show your strength in dealing with life's issues. If this is their chance of getting a meaty bit of evidence about your dh's empathy and resilience then I'd give it to them in spades wink

Carapepi77 Thu 23-Jun-16 18:34:50

Hmm I didn't mention my half brother on my family tree either, mainly because I haven't seen him since 2005 and I don't class him as being in my usual circle. I take it sw will find that out? I was adopted by my aunt and he fostered by my aunt but went to live with our grandad in his teens because he wanted that. Although we share the same bm we have different fathers all now deceased.

SpookyRachel Fri 24-Jun-16 19:43:24

I don't know any of my dad's family, including a couple of half-brothers. Come to that, I could barely pick my own father out in a line-up. I don't remember this being questioned at all. So it's possible that the sw will move on from this pretty quickly. Sometimes I think they just like to find something to probe, to see how we will respond - they are looking for reflectiveness, ability to think through a range of possible outcomes, awareness that what has been true for us may not hold for our children, resourcefulness etc.

RosieandJim89 Sat 25-Jun-16 09:37:57

Thanks. We are supposed to be going to panel in less than 3 weeks and they said panel may take issue with it.
Having said that, next wednesday is the deadline for paperwork and they haven't sent us ours to look at before they submit it yet so looks like it may get moved back.

Italiangreyhound Mon 27-Jun-16 20:50:10

Can you ask of there is a hold up, ask really nicely!

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