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Will the hurt from family rejection over us adopting ever get easier?(34 Posts)
An update on a post I made earlier in the year - I can't find the original link
my sister's (my only sibling) boyfriend had rejected my AD as he "finds ALL THIS (sister waves in direction of 9 month old AD) too difficult". They are childless, he wouldn't consider adoption as "couldn't love a child that wasn't his" and his niece was removed from his sister at birth due to her mental health (sister and boyfriend declined his sister begging them to adopt her child and have not had any contact with his niece since she was adopted around 10 years ago. The way my sister tells it, they felt it was unfair of his sister to even ask them).
Since adopting her almost 2 years ago he hasn't visited our house (my sister visited briefly once alone).
He didn't turn up to a xmas meet up last year (date and location chosen by my sister, just a brief coffee at half way point but apparently he needed to go shopping for a shirt for a night out). Previously we've always spent xmas or at least a day over xmas together with our parents and my children, big lunch, walk, party games and tea etc)
They did make it to AD's christening in the summer, but I'm not sure they interacted with AD and I think only attended because it would have been obviously odd (to the wider family and our parents) not to.
Since then, nothing, apart from xmas card this week saying "sorry we're unable to come to you on Boxing Day, thanks for the invitation, we hope you have a nice xmas".
They live half an hour away. I have no idea what my poor parents think (they're joining us for Boxing Day and will see my sister and her boyfriend a few days later. We haven't been invited).
I can't help it. I'm so hurt. Will I ever get over this? Does it get easier? BD (6) can't even remember her Aunt's name.. Just so sad that our relationship is over.
My DB is pretty much NC after we had DS (birth not adopted though). Turned out they had been TTC for years but had just told everyone they hated kids. He's seen DS once at a family occasion, didn't interact at all. Got a card for DS 1st birthday, nothing at all for 2nd. DS is now 2.5 and I have no expectations of him at all- but if I ring him up sometimes he is completely fine and happy to talk! Baffling.
I don't think the hurt goes away, but at least now my expectations are so low I'm not disappointed any more. I keep trying to engage even though I'm flogging a dead horse but it's more for my piece of mind than anything else.
This is so sad. I genuinely dont get it! So no doubt you are really struggling to get your head around it.
No real words of wisdom sorry but just wanted to send a hug and say hope they grow up about it all in time though how your relationship can recover i have no idea.
I would find this treatment of an innocent child hard to forgive!
Thanks honestly it means so much.
Every way I look at it I can't get my head around it. And they aren't awful people. They've been together for around 20 years so no chance they'll split up and she'll come to her senses. I know it's him, but she's fully supporting him, I guess because she loves him and not her nieces/nephew to the same degree.
I'm upset for my parents too, they probably are wondering what's happened, but I'm not going to drag them into this. I don't see any chance of recovering our relationship but my parents are in their late 70's and at some point in the future my sister and I will need to work together to care for them? Or not? I don't know. I can't stop feeling sad about this, christmas makes it feel very real.
I think that children change relationships hugely and that you're suffering from that.
I know that ostensibly this is adoption related but it's not really, it's about your sister and bil really being unable to deal with you putting your dd first. And it's about your sister putting her boyfriend first, in front of her niece, which she can do if she likes but it's not very mentally healthy or very grown up tbh.
Have you talked to her about it at all? Obviously dd isn't going anywhere. So is her plan just that you no longer have a relationship? Really?
And christmas is such an emotive time that is bound to make you feel worse and put the spotlight on the situation more than ever.
I applaud your attitude by the way and think that you are handling it in a v dignified way by not dragging your parents into it etc.
I suppose at the end of the day you may never understand and sometimes people act in ways we cannot comprehend for all sorts of complex reasons.
Hopefully in time you will be able to let it go and find some peace over the whole situation.
I really hope you have a wonderful christmas with your little girl.
Sorry me again. Just chatting to my husband and we both wonder whether they feel guilty at some level because they didnt adopt their niece when they had the chance and seeing your dd is too poignant for them. They may not even be able to analyse those emotions if they are too painful and so it is easier to avoid the whole situation. Just a thought. Could be totally wide of the mark!
That's classic cognitive dissonance:
'We didn't adopt our niece but we are good people. We didn't adopt her because it is not possible to love an adopted child as you would love a birth child.
Oh shit, Steve has adopted a child and clearly thinks she can love this child as much as her birth children. If that's possible it means we could have adopted our niece. Maybe we are not good people.
Fuck. Run away run away run away.'
I think that's how it goes. Psychology 101.
You could do a 'wondering' with her? About him maybe? 'I wonder if he's finding it so hard because of x? I wonder how we can help him with that because the current situation isn't a solution is it?'
Conserve has articulated exactly what I was feeling reading your op. The more successful the adoption is, the worse they feel? If they had had problems ttc as well, they may find themselves really regretting that decision not to adopt?
Yeah, have to say that conserve sounds spot on. It's what I thought as I was reading the OP, although I'm no psychologist!
The thing is, and I've learnt this a lot this year myself, is that it doesn't matter how much you hurt or how much your DD may hurt over the years from the rejection, if someone rejects you and your family, there's pretty much fuck all you can do about it except get on with your plans without them. Ultimately, yes, it can be so hurtful as to occupy every single one of your waking hours (it was my son who rejected me, DH and his half-brothers so it was pretty big for me), but the more you let it affect you, the more it's going to affect your relationships with other people - your DD, other members of the family etc.
The best thing I could think of advising, is that you will just have to act with as much decorum as you can muster, and try really hard to keep things going as normally as possible. I personally think your DB and DSIL are behaving very childishly and selfishly, but you'll have to tread VERY carefully to get some kind of solution going. Best of luck, Steve!
<polishes degree in Armchair Philosophy from the University of t'internet>
Steve I experienced something quite similar but not as drastic. I feel that some members of my family treat my AC as a second class citizen. I'm not sure what it's about. AC is loosely connected to me via family links so maybe there's some guilt going on there.
I certainly get a sense from some family members and friends that AC (who has displayed emotional and behavioural issues due to early trauma) is some kind of changeling. It's hard to describe but definitely a sense of something not right.
It hurt a lot in the early days but then I thought fuck it, my child is my priority and I'm not going to waste valuable emotional energy on them. My family and friends circle of support has reduced drastically since my AC came to me, their loss.
conserve go straight to the top of the class and collect your star and sticker!
I need to find a way to shake it off and not let it spoil xmas. I know I'm going to feel dreadful when my parents mention her and ask when we're seeing them. My heart is so heavy I feel like I'm functioning on half power. Ridiculous as it's not a recent thing but it feels like another chance lost and another dose of salt in the wound.
Conserve thats probably the most like explanation although they would deny it if I asked them.
crisp I'm sad (and angry) for you and AC, definitely their loss (but ours too).
superfly I'm sorry about your son and your grief.. I hope it's a temporary thing and he comes back to you.
flapjack it was a bit of a bombshell when she first told me (first and only visit to see her new niece) and I was a bit flabbergasted especially as she was in tears of compassion for him and no thought whatsoever for me or (completely adorable 9 month old) AD. It was all about him. No sorry, we will work on it. I was in the throes of PAD so it was a massive blow.
Since then I've hoped that perhaps they would come round but no and I haven't seen or heard from her since to discuss and think it would be a waste of time, plus honestly what can I say? I don't have anything positive to say to them, except that we're sad about the situation.
He's so anti adoption generally, I doubt he has regrets.
They've just cut us off (including no show last xmas).
I need to toughen up as its affecting everything, I have a constant lump in my throat, need to woman up and get over it!
Your bil sounds like a total twat.
I think I would try to give my sister a last opportunity - tell her what your last post says - that this is hurting you and is this what she really wants. I think she needs to see the impact of her decision on you really clearly and decide if she can really live with that. If she can, I wouldn't hide it from your parents - use the support available to you. It's not pulling them into something unfairly - it's utilising your support network. I would be surprised if they didn't already know some of this.
I'm so sorry OP, they really are behaving horribly.
I agree with comehome. If it genuinely is because he is anti adop well so what! Often people do things we dont like or even approve of but we dont cut them off for it.
They both sound v childish and self absorbed tbh.
I am sorry for your hurt and pain because it sucks and is not your fault . You and your dear .child have not done anything to deserve this treatment but if they are not willing to work through this then i dont see what more you can do than keep the door open for them if they ever grow up xx
Agree with conserve. Spot on.
Please Steve go to the mirror and say to yourself 5 times it is not me, it is them.
In your shoes I would write a letter to your sis and explain how much this hurts you but it is their choice.
I'd personally offer sis the chance to meet up with just me once or twice a year for girlie night out or in, and also for her to meet up with kids and you if she wished to.
There is no point at all brining your parents into it. They will need to accept seeing you and sis separately because of your BIL . This is nothing to do either children it is your BIL and sister's issue.
Allow it to rest with them - he, and she, have made their choice.
Sorry. Recognise it for what it is, a tragedy you cannot alter.
They have compounded their failure with his niece, and sister, to now include her niece and sister. So sad.
*Personally I would be open for het )or them) to accept you once again if that ever happens.
Remember, it is not personal to you, it is not about you, it is about them.
Yeah I wouldn't be protecting them from my parents' upset/anger/disapproval though. That's not your job. Fuck that.
I'd answer any questions your parents have honestly. I know I'd want to know if this was going on between my children.
And it's not your job to protect your sister - she's the one at fault, or your parents - that's an asymmetric relationship.
Oh yes, don't lo e to your parents about it, I'd they ask. But personally I would not expect your parents ri 'take sides' or fix this. Clearly your sis and BIL are really rather damaged by their experiences, at east that is how it seems.
I think your parents won't be able to talk them round but maybe they would do I would tell them everything.
All the best.
He feels guilty because he didn't take on his niece? You did adopt a child therefore you are a better person in his eyes. Not seeing your or your daughter helps him cope with his guilt?
Horrible situation for you OP.
I dont think or get the sense from my sister that he/they feel guilty. I think it's more that it was a painful situation losing his neice (he doesn't seem to feel any responsibility for that) and this (adoption of our baby girl) brings it back for him.
I remember visiting friends newborn baby 2 days after miscarrying and yes it was painful but visited for their sake because I could separate the two. Similarly friends had a full term still born child who had the same due date as our BC. It took them a while to visit but we completely understood why and were very sensitive to their feelings.
I understand why an adoption in the family might trigger some difficult feelings, but to completely refuse to see her almost 2 years later and no attempt to try is so cowardly.
Our family doesn't really talk about things, we avoid confrontation and I don't think telling my parents will help. They will feel torn or upset and I don't want to give my sister more of an excuse to cut me out of her life. I also don't want to risk AD ever finding out.
Thanks for your support, it really helps. I haven't tried the talking in the mirror yet italian but inside I'm telling myself it's not my fault. It is a massive problem though, especially when AD starts asking why we don't see them. I will have to practise a vague explanation (not the real one).
It probably doesn't look like guilt. They're doing all this specifically to avoid the guilt so if it looked like guilt it'd be a complete waste of time wouldn't it?
I also think you should be honest with your dd. 'It was really difficult for them to see how much we loved you when they hadn't been able to have children. Some people aren't very good at talking about how they feel and getting help with sorting out their feelings'. Or summat like that.
"especially when AD starts asking why we don't see them. I will have to practise a vague explanation (not the real one)."
You know she almost certainly will not ask. We rarely see my sister in law due to logistics and although married they have no kids and no pets. My kids never ask when they will see her, although they quite like her. However my sister has kids and a dog, and we see her about twice as often as we see SIL. My kids ask about my sis and their cousins sometimes.
So if your child grows up not really knowing them this will not be an issue, I think, until she is much older.
And then, if you feel it is right, the truth is best. They did not want to see us. Maybe because they could not have kids and we did. Nothing to do with your specific children's fault, just life.
Teachable fucking moment innit?
'Who would you talk to if you felt angry and sad about something? What if it was something you didn't want to talk to mummy about?' etc etc etc
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