Hi everyone...
After ds bmom last visit, she asked me if it would be okay for her to bring her Mom, sister and new step father to her next visit. At that time, dh and I talked about it and we thought we would give the bgrandma one visit so she can see him and know he is okay. So we said okay to that request. This was back in the spring. Yesterday, I received another email from ds bmom stating she will also be bringing her Uncle and his wife to our next visit. :-\
This is getting to be too much. WE opened the adoption so that his bmom could get to know our son. She never saw him or held him in the hospital. She always brings her boyfriend which is okay, but now it appears she wants to bring her entire family and we are NOT okay with this. I don't want to meet her Uncle. I no longer want to meet her mother and I never wanted to meet Mom's new husband. She sent me an email saying she invited them to our home and she hopes I don't mind. :wonky: Okay she is young, only 19 but this attitude that she can bring anybody is unnerving.
I want to invite just ds bmom and boyfriend to the next visit. I no longer want to meet bgrandma and her sister and new step dad. I definitely do not want to meet her uncle and aunt.
How can I tactfully tell her no to any relatives coming to our home? I know I said yes to bgrandma, but given that now she has taken the liberty and invited other family members here without our asking, I don't think granting that one visit to bgrandma is such a good idea any longer and I'm starting to get a very bad feeling about this.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can handle this without hurting ds bmom? I don't want to hurt ds bmom feelings, but I also don't want her to feel as if our home is an open door for her to bring her entire family thru. We never agreed to open adoption with her family. We specifically opened up the adoption so SHE and our son could have a relationship. We have no desire to mingle with her entire family.
Any kind suggestions would be appreciated. :-\
Frankly, I think it's rude from her to invite whoever she wants into YOUR home. Definitely speak up and let her know that you're not ok with strangers in your home. I definitely wouldn't be.
I agree with Fran. While I think meeting extended birthfamily may be beneficial to your child (again, I don't know them, so I'm not going to say it is or isn't beneficial) this is YOUR home. Maybe you can tell her if she's bringing them this visit then the visit is going to take place at (whatever location you choose).
It's so hard to know what to do sometimes because you want to show respect but you're a bundle of nerves, too. I don't think it would be disrespectful for you to name a place other than your home for a visit.
You do need to speak up and set boundaries. If it's really difficult maybe you can ask your sw or atty to step in and help you set up boundaries.
Blood doesn't mean a whole lot to us, but sometimes it does to an adoptee. I would think getting to know the extended family (outside of your home) will help you know if you ever want to open the adoption more or not. These are just my opinions and I have no clue if they're right or not!
I am a first time visitor and a new open adoption mom. I came to this site because i had some questions that I needed answered and your posting really touched on what my husband and I are going through.
You may encourage her to do a birth family photo album for your baby to keep. You can let her know that you enjoy and appreciate her visits, but the extended family members is just too much. Let her know that you have to make sure that your new family has time to bond without the distraction and confusion of extended blood relatives coming over. You may let her know that you knew she would understand this because she wants what is best for your baby too. Don't forget that your baby's family is your family. The extended blood family members don't have to meet your baby. A lot of us have extended family memers that we don't know well at all due to location or other circumstances- I know it hasn't affected my life in a negative way. I believe our families and support systems are what we make of them. If we have wonderfully supportive and encouraging people in our lives, blood or no blood, that is what is most important. I have friends that are family to me and I have blood family that I don't know.
Remember that you are a wonderful mother! You do have your baby's best interest at heart. Having people into your home that you don't know and who are uninvited by you, stresses you out. If you are stressed then it inhibits your best performance and for this reason, not having these people in your home is in the best interest of your child.
I do think it is important for a baby o know his/her birth parents if at all possible. It is wonderful to encourage her visits.
I am new to this and I apologize for rambling. I hope I made a little bit of sense:)
This is just a suggestion, maybe you are so overwhelmed because the visit is taking place in your home. You have to decide what is best for you and your son but for us we meet once a year at a resturant that is convient for both families there is a large private room that the manager lets us use free of charge, we told him the situation when we first called. This is a buffet so there are not wait staff coming and going and Castle's birthfamily, usually 8 of them, get to play and since we do this for her birthday each year they get to have a birthday party for her. This past year bmom, bgmom and Castle all sit in the floor and opened gifts and played, tryed on clothes and had a ball. I would sit some firm boundaries with what you are comfortable wtih and make them stick!
I know we have talked on other forums, and you know my feelings.
If you are not comfortable with something, DO NOT DO IT.
You do have to take your families feelings and wellbeing into consideration, and if you feel they are being compromised you MUST follow your heart.
There is so much to this's not like this is the only issue.
I'm so sorry for the pain this has caused you.
Thank you everyone for your suggestions.
Suggesting she do a photo album of the other child for our child is a nice idea, thank you!
I found out within the past few days that this baby is due next Friday! :woohoo:
I have so many mixed feelings that I'm trying to work out. Thank you everyone for helping me sort this out.
You are in my thoughts. I have no advice...I need to think.
But call me if you want to vent/chat/unload - you have my number. If you call between 4 and 6 I am open. :)
I agree that you need to talk to the birthmother about discussing this with you prior to inviting people to their visit, but I don't think you should have to even allow "this one time" visit for anyone that you are uncomfortable about...especially since it is in your own home.
In our situation, we've even limited contact to the bgrandmothers since at a previous visit our birthmother's mom & sister started a fight with our birthfather (birthmom & birthdad are still living together). At that point, I told birthmother's mom that our primary responsibility was to our DS and then to his birthparents...everyone else was "icing". The difference for us is that we travel to birthparents' town (5 hrs away) and we met in a public place for a "family picnic" and left the decision of who was going to be there to the birthparents. (that scenerio will not be reoccurring since DH & I have felt used both times we've done this and will now leave it up to the birthparents to make the move to visit if they want to).
As stated Open adoption does not mean OPEN to all parties of birthfamily. YOU as a mother to this child have right to say "We understand and appreciate that others want to know our son but right now it is honestly too much." You absolutely need to set your boundries up clearly now before it gets out of hand. It is understandable that you might feel and obligation to B-mom but remember that she made the decision to place her son in your hands you did not force it on her. Believe me I had to tell my slef that through my tears as I left the hospital with my daughter... I felt as though I was stealing her from her b-mom. We have a very close relationship with her and have before DD birth but the boundries are set. DD is 4 now and it wasn't until this year at our annual visit either side brougth extended family. Although I think it is eqaully important for children to know other memebers of birthfamily there is a time and place for it. STAND YOUR GROUND and DO NOT feel bad about it sweetie! After all you are the mommy here.
I apologize for the somewhat random nature of the comments that follow -- I am not going to try to go back and figure out to whom I'm responding -- but my $.02:
1. In an ideal world, before placement, birth parents and adoptive parents would explore what "open adoption" means to them in terms of including extended family. And then, in an ideal world, they would all recognize that they might feel differently later. :) Our initial agreement with our son's birthmom included an annual visit with grandparents and others. It actually has not come to pass, for a variety of reasons on her side, but her parents did come here with her when he was just a few weeks old, and then saw him again when he was about 1 1/2. The point is we knew ahead of time that it was very important to her for her parents to have this option, and also for our son to have the possibility of knowing his grandparents, so there were no surprises when she told us they were accompanying her. If anyone's reading this thread who is just thinking about open adoption, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to talk about your expectations and hopes with the others involved. You may fear reaching an impasse before the child is born, but that is SO MUCH fairer to the child than waiting until afterwards.
2. I am not saying anyone on this list has done this, but I do think it happens, so I will say it: as adoptive parents, I think we need to be more careful about confusing our own comfort level with what is "best" for our children. Every interaction does not rise to the level of a situation where you are truly making a decision about your child's welfare. And being too stressed-out about a relationship will create a self-fulfilling cycle where your child senses your discomfort and becomes uncomfortable herself. Toddlers are particularly influenced by parents' reactions to various situations. It may be overstimulating for a child to spend a day with a large group of relatives (whether birth or adoptive relatives) but that does not necessarily mean the child is "harmed" in any meaningful sense.
3. Whether biological connections are important to any individual or not, our children are separate from us and may have needs and desires of their own. We cannot assume that they will all grow up to downplay the importance of biological connections just because they were adopted. Some of the people I've known in my life who most fervently wanted and sought them out (through search and reunion or through having biological children themselves) were adoptees. So again, as adoptive parents, we need to be careful of confusing what we are comfortable with or what we think WE need with what our children might need. I'm not saying "throw the door open to any birth relative," just that we need to separate what we want from what our children might want.
Barbara (adoptee, amom)
I know in this case it was a closed adoption, at the birthmom's request. Amom is the one who worked very hard to open the adoption, so her child would know his roots.
Not that it contradicts what you wrote, I just thought you may not have known that.
I make excellent points, but i also think birth families need to be considerate of adoptive parents and the comfort level of adoptive parents should also be considered. It needs to be the right balance for all to be successful
I don't know how far they will travel,but since it is the aunt and uncle now,I personally would meet them in a mall or at a family restaurant.I am very particular about my home and feel invaded when more than one person visits.(my dd is the same way) our home is our private safe resting spot and we are not the type to entertain guests.So my friends and extended family can also overwhelm me.Meeting somewhere(a mall works great for us) means I am more relaxed and the pressure to entertain is evenly divided among the adults.
Thanks Leigh! I was aware that there was more to the story...isn't there always! : ) I guess I was speaking more to someone just reading this thread than to the original poster, although of course to the original poster as well.
It strikes me that a lot of what adoptive parents express on this forum is similar to the feelings of adoptees in reunion. There is sometimes a disconnect between expectation, hope and reality that takes time to process. It doesn't mean the relationship is doomed to failure. In the situation of adoptees searching (or birth parents searching, for that matter), after being reunited for 15 years myself and observing many others, I really think that the best situations come about when people have some flexibility to accept things that were not in their original game plan. And so I would just offer that -- again, as a general thought, without any criticism of the original poster intended -- as something for adoptive parents to think about as well. Yes, we should all be considerate of each others' comfort levels, but we need to be able to stretch our own comfort level as well.
:love: As an adoptive mom in an open adoption, I would like to throw my two cents in here.
Through coincidence (or rather what we consider a miracle) our adoption which was supposed to be only partially-open became very open. We were able to spend three weeks with our daughers birth family prior to her birth, so we have the advantage of knowing them fairly well.
We have had a couple of visits and were feeling pretty overwhelmed by some of the things the original poster felt. Our visits are a little more complicated because we live several states away from our daughter's birth family, so there's a lot of travel involved. The solution to the problem came for us with some frank, direct communication with the birth family to let them know that we LOVED them, we WANTED our daughter to know them, and we WANTED visits to continue, but we needed a break. We also let them know that the amount of contact we'd been asked for had become overwhelming and gave them specific reasons...
1. when we were asked for a visit, the plans changed repeatedly, so we never really knew what we were agreeing to (sounds like this was an issue for the original poster)
2. Family members were coming to visit who did not (from our perspective) have a real desire to have a relationship with our daughter.
3. The visits were too frequent.
Talking to our daughter's birth mother and her parents directly was able to clear a lot of things up. We all came out of it with a better understanding of each other and things have improved immensely.
I definitely think that we as adoptive parents need to put the best interests of our children first, and sometimes that means protecting them from a birth family. However, I believe that the majority of birth families, while imperfect (aren't we all) love their children and want to know them. While the contact can be a little nerve racking for us a-parents, that doesn't mean that the visits shouldn't happen. Many adoptees have a desire to explore their roots to come to a better understanding of themsleves. I want my daughter to have access to the people who can answer some of her questions when the time comes. I have known adoptees who went through long and stressful renunions...I don't want that for my daughter. I'd rather know the people in my daughter's birth family all along, than have her meeting "strangers" later when she goes searching for them.
In getting to know our daughter's birth family, we saw first hand that the whole birth familly grieves, seemingly in proportion to how close they felt to the birth parent. While I think it can be beneficial for the child and extended-birth family to have contact, it should be within set boundaries, and I would recommend having those visits somewhere other than in your home.
TO SUMMARIZE: Boundaries are important and need to be respected. We've found direct communication of boundaries to work best. Be open to the birth family, unless you have particular reason to think they are in some way destructive.
:cake: We're excited to get to have our daughters birth mother here for her birthday next month.