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Family member treating adopted child differently

(7 Posts)
DellaWare Tue 12-Jun-18 23:05:39

I’m really struggling to understand some behaviour from my sister in law towards my DD and wondered if anyone could shed any light on possible reasons for her behaviour.

When my DD was first placed she appeared to be the usual doting auntie but over the years it has become obvious that she is treating my DD (her niece through adoption) very differently to her biological niece (her sibling’s biological child). It started off with little things such as only giving my niece a single present at Christmas whilst giving her other niece a huge bag of toys - in front of both children. I couldn’t get too worked up about this on its own but it has escalated to the point that it is now really obvious she treats them very differently.

For her biological niece she makes the effort to travel to see her, have her to stay most school holidays, take her on family day outs etc. With my DD she has got to the point where she won’t even be in the room with her if she can help it. We live a significant distance away but whenever we go up to visit and stay with family she is always busy doing something else and can’t see us (despite her husband - my brother - being able to make time to see us). The last straw has been this weekend when we are going up to see family and she has ‘plans’ so won’t see us. It’s my DDs birthday weekend and she is refusing to be involved in any kind of birthday celebration. My DD is of an age where she wants to know why auntie x never wants to see her and it breaks my heart. She never remembers my DDs birthday (neither does my bro but that’s another story) they can’t be bothered to even stick a card in the post and yet I hear tales from my bro of what they have done with bio niece to celebrate various milestones. It probably sounds really petty but there have been other things such as me arranging for my DD and hers (similar ages) to play together when we are in the area visiting only for us to get there and find she’s sent her daughter off to play with a school friend.

It feels like we are being snubbed / treated differently / generally being given the cold shoulder but I’ve no idea what either me or DD have done to warrant such behaviour. Could it be as ‘simple’ as she doesn’t regard my DD as a ‘proper’ niece because she’s adopted? Is is just that my sis in law is a fairly unpleasant human being? I feel as if I need to pull her up on her attitude and behaviour towards my DD but I don’t know what to say or where to start - other than to say stop being such a bitch to a small child you evil cow!! Which would probably not be the best way to resolve this issue...

xyzandabc Tue 12-Jun-18 23:12:30

Rather than it being due to adoption, could it be more that she deals with her family and leaves her husband to deal with his family? She is naturally closer to her sister than she is to you? I know I am much closer to my family than my husband's family. How does your brother treat your family?
How does she treat the rest of your family i.e her in laws, any other of her husband's siblings?

DellaWare Tue 12-Jun-18 23:22:10

To be honest she treats our whole family pretty badly. She veers between being nice as pie to my mum (think gushing hallmark card type behaviour - sends cards saying you’re like a second mum to me) and then literally blanking her. I know her own parents are quite demanding but my parents really aren’t, they are probably too accommmodating the other way, they don’t demand anything of her, they always make an effort with things like birthdays and Christmas, they offer to help out regularly, change their plans at the last minute to help her and my brother out with childcare etc.

Me and her don’t have a great deal in common other than my brother but I am always polite and interested when I see her, I make the effort to ask her about herself, her job etc, make the effort to visit them when they never visit us despite being invited regularly. She is my DDs godmother and seemed genuinely thrilled to be asked which is one of the reasons I find it so odd she has no interest in my DD now.

flapjackfairy Wed 13-Jun-18 07:46:51

I wouldnt think this is anything to do with adoption then.
She sounds v unpleasant all round and it may just be that she wants her little princess to be the centre of the universe and resents any attention given to your dd.
I would avoid her like the plague . Be polite but distant and let it go. It might well not be worth the effort of trying to pursue any kind of close relationship.

Thepinklady77 Wed 13-Jun-18 08:52:35

I would second that I don’t think it is anything to do with adoption. Her niece is her sisters chilf. If she is naturally very close to her sister then it is natural that she will have spent a lot of time with her niece and therefore a much closer bond. Technically your daughter is not her niece she is her husbands beoce. Whilst most people don’t think about it this way ( I most certainly don’t) but I do know some people who don’t see their husbands siblings children as their nieces and nephews. I do think it is unacceptable to make a difference in terms of gifts in front of your daughter and you new to point this out to her. Either she toned down the gifts that are given publically or you will ensure your daughter is not there when other niece is around. If I were you I would be talking to your brother and ask him to make more of a fuss of your daugher as he is his niece. I honestly would not try to think of it as an adoption thing. I don’t think it is

Can I ask also how your daughter is at family gathering. I know a lot of our adopted kids struggle in big gatherings and can become bey deregulated. We understand why this is but to the untrained eye it may look like bad behaviour. If this is the case could your sister in law struggle in watching/dealing with this.

DellaWare Wed 13-Jun-18 09:19:20

Thanks all, on reflection I think you’re probably right it’s not to do with adoption per se. My daughter copes well with family gatherings so it’s not a mistaking disregulation for bad behaviour thing (daughter is a bit of a people pleaser which is why I think she’s noticed auntie x not making as much effort).

Thanks for the comments about SIL possibly having a closer relationship with her sibling. That would make total sense. Ironically though she hasn’t spoken to her sibling in years and only sees bio niece through sibling’s ex partner. It is an odd situation all round.

I will focus on DDs relationship with my brother as he does, for the most part, seem keen to have one with her.

Flapjack you have hit the nail on the head when you say SIL is just v unpleasant all round. I need to not take it personally.

Italiangreyhound Tue 03-Jul-18 00:58:12

To be honest I would let her known you've noticed. She sounds horrible. But I agree with others it is not necessarily about adoption.

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