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birth father wants more than I can give

(13 Posts)
Sarah8418 Tue 13-Feb-18 22:23:20

Hi everyone,
just trying to find out if anyone else is experiencing or has experienced something similar.

I'm adopted and my birth father found me just over a year ago. We met up a number of times last year. He found me just before I was getting married so it took me a while to initially agree to meet as it was a lot to take in. I've always known I was adopted but I don't have the greatest relationship with my adoptive parents who separated when I was young. I also have an adopted sibling who abused me throughout childhood so I've not had the best adoptive life.

I became pregnant with our first child and unfortunately have been very ill throughout so there's been a 6 month period where I haven't seen my birth father. He lives in the same region but around an hrs drive away.

My situation is that after a mental breakdown, resulting in no contact with me for the last 2-3yrs, my adoptive father got back in touch over xmas. He's apologised for his behaviour, we met up and it was lovely to just see him.

My birth father is becoming increasingly annoyed because I've not been able to see him. He works nights and I work full time so weekend would be the only time I could meet up. He doesn't give me much notice and between work and trying to maintain a social life and hobbies, expects me to drop things to meet up with him.

I do want to see him and maintain a relationship, but from the start he's said he wants a proper father - daughter relationship. Something I don't think I can give. I was adopted at birth and he fought to keep me but social workers had already arranged my fostering with my adoptive parents.

I'm seeking some advice on how to manage his expectations. My adoptive parents don't know I've made contact with my birth dad and I don't plan on telling them, as it would crush them, especially my dad. My sibling found their birth parents and the whole thing was a nightmare for everyone concerned,.

I am worried thought that when the baby is a toddler and visiting each dad, it's going to slip out that they've been to see granddad. We don't have much contact with a lot of family on either side, so big parties etc wont be an issue but I'm struggling to see how I can control this going forward. He's a lovely guy but I can go weeks without speaking or seeing family and its the norm. Whereas I think he doesn't have this dynamic with his family and so doesn't understand that sometimes I wont see him for a while and its not personal, just how my life pans out.

ElderflowerWaterIsDelish Wed 14-Feb-18 02:28:24

Don't be pressured into giving more than you can, if you don't feel you can say it face to face then write your biological dad a letter and express your feelings e.g glad that he is in your life etc but that you have to have boundaries

you already have parents who brought you up (your adoptive parents) and he can't just replace that, also you work full time, and are a mother and have a partner/spouse and I bet in your free time you want to spend time with your child, partner/spouse and relax , he can't expect you to sacrifice your family time/free time and drop everything to see him, also the getting annoyed thing is not acceptable, you don't owe him anything, you are not obliged to do anything, don't let him pressure you, and don't let him ruin whatever you have with your adoptive parents

anewoneforthis Wed 14-Feb-18 10:50:01

I am not sure I agree with *elderflower" at all, as it sounds to me as though both birth and adopted parents have unfair and unreasonable expectations, and that your future will involve managing their expectations as best you can to give them as much as you can or want to, without you being able to rely on any of them! If that is right, it sounds really difficult for you, I am sorry to hear it.

I think your priority is now your dc, followed by your own needs and your partner and new family unit.

I think if you put your dc's needs first in relation to every decision then that would be a good place to start from.

For example, my concern a few years down the line would be your toddler saying something, your adoptive parents not being happy at all, and it all impacting negatively on your toddler who won't understand the fallout. So I'd say best tell the adopted family now?

Your dc will benefit from having people in their life who love them unconditionally and can put their needs first, both birth and adopted, and it is for you to decide who this will be, and how.

It may help you to imagine how things would have been in an ideal situation, how your childhood might have been if you had had no abuse and full support and love, if the adults around you now were not needy and had boundaries, as this might help you decide how you are going to manage things plus how you want things to be for your dc as they grow up, and what kind of grandparent you will be.

Sarah8418 Wed 14-Feb-18 14:44:39

Thank you so much for your replies. It really helps to get some impartial advice and opinions.

You are right in that I can't rely on any of my parents. My husband is the same with his family and we live our lives by the mantra that we don't rely on anyone else or expect anything from anyone. Anything we do receive is a blessing.

I think the main issue is getting my birth dad to realise that his expectations are unrealistic and just because I haven't physically seen him doesn't mean it's anything personal. You are both right in that my child and husband come first.

I'm hoping to go to uni part time next September so I'll have even less free time.

As for telling my adoptive parents about the birth dad, I can't do that. It would crush my adoptive father and I don't want to make his mental health worse when he's just recovered. It doesnt help that my birth dad has issues with anxiety and depression so he seems to take everything to heart. He's very excited about being a granddad. He has a son but he's cut ties with him as apparently his son and first wife were very abusive and nasty. But I can't give him a typical granddad relationship either due to a number of factors including distance.

Italiangreyhound Thu 15-Feb-18 10:11:05

Sarah, I am so sorry your parents let you down. And that things have gone this way. I am sure it is distressing for your dad who wished to care for you, but he was not allowed to, and that seems wrong, but we don't know the full facts and maybe he would not have coped.

Does he have other children.

I agree with @ElderflowerWaterIsDelish "Don't be pressured into giving more than you can, if you don't feel you can say it face to face then write your biological dad a letter and express your feelings e.g glad that he is in your life etc but that you have to have boundaries"

I also agree with @anewoneforthis "I think your priority is now your dc, followed by your own needs and your partner and new family unit."

So I would tell both adoptive and birth dads and anyone else that your time is your own and you will not be dictated to how to spend it. You do not owe anyone anything, your adoptive parents have not done a great job, it doesn't mean you need to cut them out of your life but you are not beholden to them.

Sarah8418 Thu 15-Feb-18 11:20:53

Thanks for your reply. I spoke to my birth dad last night. He admitted he was getting annoyed at not seeing me and I was direct and told him as above that I have alot of people in life to juggle, him, my adoptive family and my in laws.

I told him I know it wasn't his fault I was adopted but I can't shut the door on my adopted family who've been there 30+yrs even when they haven't been the best as you say. Especially when they reach out and have suffered from mental health illness. He has and does so I told him that above all people he should understand that. He was getting quite animated about teaching our son to fight (literally) his battles and that he hopes I let him do granddad stuff like take him out to the park, for sweets and teach him football etc.

This is when it all opened up and I told him that it's not personal if we don't see him for awhile it's just the way our family goes. And he can't expect me to shut out my adopted dad. As for doing granddad things, his dad wasn't around when he was little and he said his granddad brought him up. It was at this point, I made it clear my son has a dad.

I told my husband about the call and helpful advice on here and he 100% agrees. I don't owe anyone anything and he can get another but just not at me. My birth dad gets v.carried away and I think he just needs reigning in but I'm not comfortable to keep having to do that. He's got a lovely 2nd wife who seems to be able to get him to understand.

When he initially got in touch weeks before our wedding he was planning on coming in his head, buying a suit to walk me down the aisle etc. Bare in mind I'd not met or spoke to him at this point.

At the end of the day, I don't want to upset him and I told him that. But if he carries on, he's making it difficult as I have a lot of drama with my adopted family and in laws are hard work at times too. I don't think I can mentally cope with another demanding parent.

Sarah8418 Thu 15-Feb-18 11:24:35

Sorry, forgot to add. He does have a son from a previous marriage but he's cut all ties and it makes me wonder about his behaviour as he's getting so excited about being a granddad but technically he already is as his son has children. His son found out he'd contacted me as he put a picture up of us meeting up on his facebook (which I have nothing to do with) and his son went mental and abusive, apparently my birth dad had to call the police to deal with him.

Italiangreyhound Thu 15-Feb-18 12:36:22

I know you say it will hurt your adoptive dad if you tell him but it will probably hurt him more when he finds out. And of course he probably will find out from your child.

If you don't want him to know you will need to stop taking your child to see your birth dad. Expecting your child to keep it secret seems unfair.

MrsSpenserGregson Thu 15-Feb-18 12:47:58

Hi Sarah8418

For context: I'm adopted too, although I'm old than you - adopted in 1972. I know my birth mother, we met when I was 18 and sustained a relationship until I was in my 30s, and I have chosen to go no-contact with her because of her unrealistic expectations. After my adoptive mum died, my birth mother said she wanted to be a mother to me now, as though the previous 30+ years had just not happened. You can't just step in and become a parent - sharing DNA is only one part of the jigsaw.

You have to do what's right for you. Your birth father doesn't have any rights here, and your feelings are, to be blunt, more important than his. You don't owe him anything.

Have you heard of the gratitude/guilt thing that many adoptees suffer from? It's worth googling, and in fact I first heard about it on the Adoption boards here on Mumsnet when I was - ahem - over the age of 40!! It might be useful to you.

Good luck flowers. It's a hard road to navigate, especially when things aren't black and white for you in terms of your adoption not having been the best. You do need to put yourself first here!

MrsSpenserGregson Thu 15-Feb-18 12:53:24

P.S. I'm not suggesting that you go NC if you don't want to, just sharing what has worked for me. I found that, every birthday and Christmas, I dreaded seeing an envelope with my birth mother's writing on it. I'd delay opening it for hours if not days as the contents inevitably made me feel guilty for not giving as much of myself as she wanted. But you cannot force those feelings. If I'm totally honest, although it was me who tracked her down (and it was very important to me to do that, and I don't regret it at all), I never actually liked her from the moment we met, and it always felt slightly strained. It was only the guilt / fear of upsetting her that led me to keep the relationship going for so long, but that was damaging to me. I certainly didn't feel any love towards her - which I know was absolutely crushing for her (as a parent myself, I cannot think of anything worse). But guilt and obligation are not good foundations for a relationship.

Italiangreyhound Thu 15-Feb-18 17:24:03

PS I am mum to a birth dd (13) and adopted son (7) so I don't know how it feels to be adopted or how hard all this is OP.

I really, really recommend some counselling, I have had it for anxiety and I think it will strengthen you in being able to deal with all this, I would hope.


Sarah8418 Mon 19-Feb-18 16:53:15

Thanks again for replies. I do think him presuming he's going to be granddad is he issue for me. He's biologically my dad but I don't think of him as a dad in any other way, same goes for the role of granddad.

The boundary will need to be set in terms of how he interacts with my son. I'm not expecting my child to keep it a secret, I agree that's unfair. I've had counselling in the past and I don't think I need it for this. Just some reassurance that I'm not a monster for not welcoming him and his assumptions with open arms.

I do think if he continues to be overbearing that no contact may become an option. It's not ideal but it works with some of my adopted family. The smaller my circle becomes the more we'll just have the in laws around however. My mil is nice but can be overbearing and I'm dreading her behaviour come the birth.

My husband brought up emigration with Brexit coming. Seems extreme but it might actually be the best option for us. At least when we see people they will be on holiday and happy and vice versa.

Italiangreyhound Thu 22-Feb-18 16:47:23

Please be careful about emigrating unless it really is what you want to do.

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