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Family or Strangers?

(24 Posts)
WesternIsle Sun 26-Jun-11 09:10:41

Please help me see whether I am BU and should listen to my mother or if she is BU and I can carry on ignoring her!!!

My mother and father are both from very large families (9 siblings each), for whatever reason, they have very limited contact with any of their siblings, I have probably met each one 4/5 times in my entire life.

However, my mother has started researching her family tree using the internet and has discovered cousins (her mother's sister's children) living in New Zealand and Canada, and has contacted them via the internet and has invited them to stay with her for a week.

My mother's aunt was 16 years older than her mother, and she has never met the aunt who has now passed away, and didn't even know she had children.

I have said she is mad as she has invited strangers she's found over the
internet to come and stay with her for the week. She said they are not strangers they are family. I said I think you are mad, but there you go.

Now where I get dragged in, is that my daughter was adopted by us as a young baby, and is now approaching 18. My daughter has no interest in tracing her extended biological family - her parents are deceased. But my mother is saying that she must look on these internet sites and find any cousins etc as they are family.

No they are not they are strangers!

My dd doesn't want to look for them but my mother keeps on banging on about it.

So are these people family or strangers?

squeakytoy Sun 26-Jun-11 09:14:19

As an adopted person myself, I can say that your daughter may not be interested now, but there is a chance in a few years that she may become curious.

As for the stranger vs family, well yes technically they are blood relatives, and as such are family even if you dont actually know them.

SuchProspects Sun 26-Jun-11 09:21:48

YABU and your mother is BU. The people your mother has invited (and your daughter's birth relatives) are both family and strangers. You aren't obligated to search for or meet them and there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing so should you want to. Your mother's invitation to her newly found family is entirely her choice. There is some risk, bout also a lot to be gained. You should support her in following through on something important to her not criticise her.

Your mother should not be pushing your daughter to find people your daughter is not interested in finding. She's out of order trying to push her to do that. It also sounds really insensitive and possibly a bit cruel of her if she does so in front of you.

meditrina Sun 26-Jun-11 09:23:34

The strangers your DM has found are family, and therefore also your family and your DDs. Whether your DM is wise To host people who she does not know because of the blood tie is a separate question. Most people are fine, barring a few trivial odd habits, so it'll probably be OK, but I hope she has considered the possibility that they might not be, and what she would do if there were major problems.

When you talk of her urging you DD to hunt for her relatives, does she mean her biological family? If so, then I agree this is not a question for her, and the initiative should rest with DD (probably with specialist support). I suppose it's fair for her to mention it, but she should desist once she has a fair answer ("no, DD is not interested at the moment, but we'll support her should she ever change her mind") and it strikes me as very wrong to persist or become shrill.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 26-Jun-11 09:44:30

I researched my family tree not so long ago and - like everyone else - found a bunch of distant rellies in NZ. They're a jolly bunch and, because of their unusual surname, have formed a bit of a club out there. They sound like fun. Having corresponded for a while I'd have no hesitation meeting up for dinner or maybe even hosting a few of them for a weekend. Being kiwis, they instantly invited me to come and stay, of course. That's their culture and I think it's a great tradition.

I think it's entirely up to your mother if she wants to be hospitable rather than xenophobic. As for how your DD should take things forward, that's up to her, of course.

Animation Sun 26-Jun-11 09:52:35

"Strangers" !

What's this "strangers" word you use - it's basically just a word that parents say to children, like - "don't talk to strangers."

It doesn't apply to REAL adult life. All people are potential friends - not strangers that we shouldn't talk to!

Flisspaps Sun 26-Jun-11 09:55:28

YANBU. They're strangers - just because they are blood relations doesn't mean they are family. Relatives, yes. Family? I think family is something that goes deeper than blood - it's about shared experiences and history. It's not just about having the same names on a birth certificate or family tree.

No-one would say it was a good idea to invite people you'd never met but had spoken to over the internet to come and stay in your home for a week. The fact they are her mother's sister's children doesn't make them any 'safer'. To say if you come to England then let me know as I'd love to meet you is entirely different to having them stay. Bonkers.

And tell her to leave DD alone - be firm. If and when she develops any interest in tracing her birth family she can search for them then, without your mother pressuring her into it. I'd be fucking livid. In fact, I'd wonder if her preoccupation with inviting these 'blood' relatives she's never met into her home and getting DD to trace her 'blood' family is saying something about how she views your DD in relation to being a family member sad

Animation Sun 26-Jun-11 09:58:56

No - they're NOT "strangers"! In adulthood we develop the social skills to gradually get to know people and build relationships - without needing to call people strangers!

karen2010 Sun 26-Jun-11 10:03:28

to you mother about about daughter i would say research if you want ( once you have the bug it is hard not to stop)but do not force on my daughter. just make a file and leave it .

as for inviting family into her home her choice.
family is funny thing she might love or she might find out why there was big fall out.

Flisspaps Sun 26-Jun-11 10:05:00

They are strangers. They are people the OP and her mother don't know, and I don't think there is any need in adulthood to have the view that there are only 'friends we haven't met yet'

Animation Sun 26-Jun-11 10:14:23

Calling all people 'strangers' feels a bit anti/social and also paranoid to me - shutting yourself off from meeting and making friends.

Yes, you have to get to know people - and through many conversations and over time you form friendships.

WesternIsle Sun 26-Jun-11 10:18:44

Don't get me wrong - I'm sociable and will go to social occassions, and get introduced to people.

But I don't meet somebody and say 'Hi we have X in common, come and stay at my house for a week.'

My mother found these people on the internet on Wednesday, she has arranged flights etc (I wouldn't be surprised if she has paid for it) and they are coming this Tuesday. Is this not odd?

If my dd said to me, someone befriended me on FB on Wednesday, they've sorted out flights I'm going to go and stay at theirs for a week on Tuesday - I wouldn't say oh how lovely enjoy yourself send me postcard. I'd say what the hell you playing at?

pengymum Sun 26-Jun-11 10:19:58

YANBU - these are total strangers! Your mother is bonkers offering to put up total strangers (as has never met any of these relatives) but that is her choice. Just common sense really.
And no way should she be telling your daughter to be tracing birth family tho, especially if she has not expressed any interest in doing so. I would be asking her (mother) why she doesn't build up her own relationship with siblings first rather than distant unknown cousins if family is so important to her!
Just my viewpoint for what its worth! smile

Tee2072 Sun 26-Jun-11 10:21:03

I think you are both being Unreasonable.

Your mother is a grown woman and can decide for herself whether to invite people to her home.

But she is BU to push your daughter to find her biological family if she is not interested in doing so.

pengymum Sun 26-Jun-11 10:22:26

Just read that is all arranged! They are all bonkers!
Going to stay with someone off fb who you have never met, whose parents have never met and you don't know from Adam! Not in my world!

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Sun 26-Jun-11 10:28:45

So dh's mum went on her first ever trip on a plane to oz to stay with her long lost aunty that left the uk at 19. Now the family had some contact via letters over the year but not huge. Aunty oz has just returned home after being here for 3 weeks.

I think it's up to your mum, it's only a week.

As for your daughter, you do need to put your foot down with your mum about that. She needs to let your daughter make her own decisions.

Animation Sun 26-Jun-11 10:31:20

"If my dd said to me, someone befriended me on FB on Wednesday, they've sorted out flights I'm going to go and stay at theirs for a week on Tuesday - I wouldn't say oh how lovely enjoy yourself send me postcard. I'd say what the hell you playing at?"

Your dd is still young - and you would be concerned about that.

Your mum though is a mature woman with lots of experience of life and people - and will be able to handle herself fine. She's also obviously on some kind of discovery and adventure, and I think it's great!

ragged Sun 26-Jun-11 10:33:16

It's up to your mum who she chooses to see as "family" but she shouldn't pressure your DD into thinking the same way. So YABU and YANBU.

My dad has 9 siblings and tries very hard to stay in touch with all of them and their children... which includes a cousin of mine given up for adoption as a baby, so I know those reunions can be very positive. But up to your DD if she wants to pursue it (ever).

WesternIsle Sun 26-Jun-11 10:36:27

This may sound odd - but if my mum said I'm going to go travelling on holiday round NZ for a week/month whatever, and whilst I am there I am going to go out for dinner with these cousins, I would say 'that's very nice have a lovely time'.

I think having people with a small blood tie, staying in your home for a week is odd when she can't have her own sisters/brothers to stay longer than a couple of days, nor her own dd (I live just round the corner, my sister lives away, and has to stay elsewhere when visits because mum won't let her stay for a week).

cloudedyellow Sun 26-Jun-11 10:38:41

All the way from NZ for a week? Now that is bonkers.

Lonnie Sun 26-Jun-11 11:06:36

2 seperate issues
with regards to yrou mother and her family. It is up to her. IMO it is VERY fast both from their pov and hers but for nwo as she has decided to do so you need to support her in this choice and perhaps lock any silverware away grin

with your daugher next time your mother mentions it tell her firmly "for now its a no and it will not be mentioned again until dd is wanting to then we will support her and that is the end of it" she is being very unresonable there. Ensure your dd knows you will be there for her if she ever does chose to but if she decides not to then you are here too.

exexpat Sun 26-Jun-11 11:18:13

What your mother does is her business, but she can't tell you what to do, or even tell you who should be counted as 'family' and who shouldn't. Your DD can decide for herself when she is older.

IMO, degree of genetic linkage is fairly irrelevant in who makes up your family. I have a second cousin I am fairly close to, her children are third cousins with my children, and we feel like family.

But there is another branch of the family which includes two fairly well-known actors - I see them on the TV all the time - who are technically the same degree of relation. My DH met some of them a few times as a child, but I have never met them, and there is no contact. If I turned up at a theatre door claiming to be 'family', they would probably see me as a crazy stalker.

Xenia Sun 26-Jun-11 11:28:18

She can do what she likes. Perhaps they are nicer than her family who live near by. perhaps she just is curious. Perhaps they are worth £100m . We dont' know. Hoever she shouldn't pressure your adopted daughter too up her blood relatives if she doesn't want to.

eurochick Sun 26-Jun-11 11:51:23

A colleague of mine recently stayed at a hotel in Dublin where they offer a "geneology butler" service (basicaly aimed at Americans who want to trace their families in Ireland). This was her first ever trip to the country. They did the research and on her next business trip, she went to meet some cousins they had located there. She was welcomed with open arms, got on really well and after the next trip went to stay with them for a few days.

She was really pleased that she did it. I think it's lovely. My own family is not at all good at staying in contact, and I wish I could get to know some of my wider relatives.

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