Ok .. I know I only post a thread when I need advice. But, I really do appreciate all the insight and wisdom here.
I have our first visit with DDs birth mother coming up. The hotel rooms are very full because it is over memorial day and there is a lot going on in the town where we are meeting. So, I booked rooms (one for our family and one for birth mom and a friend that will join her). Anyway, I looked at many hotels and this was the only one in a central location that wasn't full and had two rooms. But they are not cheap (cheapest was $124).
Bottom line is I was going let her know that we would get her room. She just got a job and I know money is very tight. However, I also don't want to set a bad precedent where she thinks every time there is a visit we pay for things. So, my thought was to pay for the room this time, but to let her know that it was b/c she just started working, etc.
We live very far apart so every visit will require some travel.
Your thoughts on how you handle visits and paying for things like hotels, dinner, etc. would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
I feel when you open that door its hard to close. I will never bring money into our situation with DS Bmom. Like you said I dont wanna set that precedence and again I just think money involved could cause problem later down the road. That's just my 2 cents.
Yeah.. Money can turn things ugly real quick in relationships.
So, my thought was to pay for the room this time, but to let her know that it was b/c she just started working, etc.
No offense but with some people there is always 'something' going on with them.. Like a new job, they just moved, etc. I'm not saying SHE is like this but I do know of some people that are thus if you do it once, They expect it every time they're 'down'.
Well, I guess the logical question is what will happen if she is unable to afford an expensive hotel? I know when I was young, there's no way I would have been able to pay for a fancy hotel, especially during my college years.
Although economic disparity between birth parents and adoptive parents can easily lessen and balance out over the years, it's fairly safe to assume that most birth moms don't have a lot of money within the first year or two after relinquishing their babies. Lack of financial stability is often the deciding factor when considering adoption.
If she is unable to afford the hotel you've booked, perhaps she could find an affordable motel...or you could change the visit to another weekend.
I am a birthmom in an open adoption. I was seventeen when I placed DD with her parents. Since I don't know more about the OP's situation, my perspective might be totally off base...but, I'll share my $.02 anyways.
I don't think it would be terrible to pay for the hotel room. Basically, I placed my DD for adoption because I was just a kid. I was seventeen. I had summer jobs, not real jobs. I lived with my parents and didn't own my own car. When I went for visits, I had enough money to pay for gas (and probably returned the car to my parents with an empty gas tank) and snacks during the drive. I certainly didn't have money for hotel rooms or a bunch of restaurant meals. It would have been a real hardship if I had needed to pay for those things and it would have seriously reduced quality and quantity of visits that we would have been able to have.
Most of our visits have not been very expensive. For the first six years, visits were either at my parents' house or at the adoptive family's house. We would maybe go out to eat once or twice. (They were usually weekend visits.) Until recently, the adoptive parents paid for most things.
Now, I live 3000 miles away, am married and financially stable. I almost always go to them for visits (although they have traveled to my home twice in the last 8 years). I pay for my own transportation and have taken them out to dinner a couple times.
Just because they paid for things in the beginning, doesn't mean that I expected it or felt entitled to it. During the beginning, the difference between our financial situations was so great that it made sense for them to pay for things. Now, we are pretty much in the same boat, financially. Like every other aspect of our relationship, we handle finances based on what makes sense for the individual issue.
I really think it depends. My son's birth mom is very young and makes very little money. So I pay for little stuff like lunch. BUT she lives with her parents who are very well-off and I know that she would never come to me for money. (btw, they NEVER let me pay for dinner when we go out!) I would worry about setting up a precedent if her life was very unstable and I thought she would see it as a door to asking me for money for other things.
Baically, I refrain from paying for things or offering money in any relationship where I might be enabling someone's irresponsible lifestyle no matter what their realtionship is to me.
If it were my child's birthparent and I had the means and she did not--I would definitely pay as long as there were no warning signs that it was a gateway to being asked for money or other gifts. Because I would view the visit as a gift to my child as much as anything else.
edited to add: I posted while freetobe was posting. I am in the same situation as she was, except in my case I am the AP. And my son's bmom lives a few miles from me so we don't have to worry travel expenses.
I feel that if you are in a position to pay, and she is not in a position to pay, then just do it. Or say to her what you said here. You know she just got a new job and is tight on money, so you will treat this time, and next time you get together you hope that she will be in a position to pay for herself.
I think that paying for the room is not like giving her money and asking that she pay for it herself... We do gas cards, because we know that money is tight and that she'd have a tough time visiting if we did not help out. Gas cards make sure that she is paying for gas - nothing else...
In Thailand they have a lovely tradition when friends go out for meals etc. They take turns paying for things and those that are better off financially - their turns come up more frequently......
I would pay and then let her treat to an ice cream or something else
I do think it's really important to think your steps through as you establish your relationship with your child's birthfamily. Depending upon how often your visits will be, paying for birthmom's hotel room periodically is a notion we've been comfortable with ourselves. We'd share that "we'd like to do this, is that okay?" so it wasn't just a given. We've also met for lunch a few times to have a few hour visit. Our dd's birthmom's family is large and yet we are in a better position to pay, so we do. We figure that our visits are only every yaer or so with dd's family, so it's really not much in the whole scheme of things. Ds' family and we usually share costs still.
That being said, paying for the basics of a visit and providing cash are two different issues, which we had to work out in the beginning with dd's birthfamily. Setting those boundaries and coming to agreements on $ issues is important.
As our relationships developed, our feelings toward both birthfamilies are as extended family. We provide for them in the same way we do for other family who come visit -- that helped me frame "what do we do" questions much easier. The dynamic of each relationship is different but I do think as adoptive parents -- and as parents -- we have more choice in the dynamic than we realize. Best of luck as you sort this out. susan
We've only had one visit with DS's birthmom, and it was in her home town so hotels weren't an issue. However, we knew she had no money so we did treat her to dinner and a trip to the local aquarium. It wasn't a big deal and she certainly didn't think of that as an opening to ask us for cash. She thanked us for buying her meal and that was the end of it.
I think every situation is totally unique and only you can know if paying one time is likely to lead to an expectation of paying every time. I hope you feel comfortable with whatever decision you make!
Our son's birth parents live an hour away so we haven't had this issue with them. But for our daughter's birth mom, I'm paying for her ticket to visit us this summer (post-finalization). She's in school and works fulltime supporting herself (as did I). I told her we'd pick up her ticket for the first visit but wouldn't do that every time...and I think she gets that. I think making your intentions clear helps everyone's expectations be clear.
I'd say go with your gut. :)
Could you explain that you would normally go to X hotel but due to holidays they are booked and you could only get the pricier hotel - so you have applied the difference in cost to her bill because you know she just started a new job?
Save her pride in not being able to afford the more pricey rooms - while letting her know the future visits will be in the less expensive hotel all can afford and she will pay?
Kind regards,
Everyone .. thank you for all your replies. Very helpful. Last night I was on line and our birth mother pinged me. So, I took the opportunity and simply said that I knew she just started a new job and for this one time, I'd hope she would let us get her hotel. She immediately said thank you, that it would help her a lot right now. Accordingly, it is done. I will have to just be cautious for future visits that I don't get into a pattern I resent. But, this time, I do feel good about making this first visit as easy as possible for everyone.
Thank you again for all your help.
I feel that if you are in a position to pay, and she is not in a position to pay, then just do it. Or say to her what you said here. You know she just got a new job and is tight on money, so you will treat this time, and next time you get together you hope that she will be in a position to pay for herself.
I second this.
I think your paying for her room is a very nice gester and one I would extend as well. I do however think that I would let her know that you are paying for the room and that everything is dutch from here. I don't think it is setting a stage for things to come and if you can afford to do so I think it will be much appreciated and will make the visit much nicer for you all to be in one hotel together. Have fun and enjoy your time.
I think it is a very nice gesture, but I can also understand why you don't want to set a precedent. You can always say something like, "In this economy, I feel very fortunate that we're able to get a hotel room for you for this visit, especially at a time when you've just started a new job and you're just getting back on your feet. It will be a lot of fun and we are really looking forward to it. For the next visit, we might not be able to splurge like this." It would sortof let her know it's on a 'case-by-case' basis, and not something she should expect every time.