Hello everyone! This is my first time posting here and I will try to keep it short! LOL!
We have a very open adoption with our 16month old son's birth family...maternal family & paternal family. We visit with them often and for the first year I sent pics and letters once a month. I have now started sending them every six months or if I get some developed or special occasions. (I hope that makes sense.)
I guess I should tell you that our son's Birth Grandmother (Paternal) was against the adoption...she wanted her and her husband to raise Ben, but Ben's birth father & Birth mother did not want that.
So, now for my question:D Lately she (the grandma) has been acting very posessive and very teary when she visits with us. Now, I have never, ever limited her contact with Ben...she can see him whenever as long as she calls first. I am trying to decide if being so open is hurting her more??? I know that there is no length in grieving time...but I am unsure of how to handle this. I find myself not wanting her to take him out for the McDonald's or whatever...because I am afraid she might run off with him or something. I guess I just want advice on how to handle her. I also have been doing some serious praying and soul searching trying to decide if maybe I am having some insecurity issues also. She has also "surprises" me by bringing her mother to visits with her. Her mother has made some statements in front of Ben that if he were older and could understand may hurt him.
Any suggestions, comments, support! LOL! Thanks for reading if you have gotten this far!
Thank you very much for your input! The sad thing or I guess the good thing is that I really like this lady. It is not her that makes the ugly comment, but it is her mother (birth great granma). I guess the thing that really bothers me is that she acts like she could care less about having a relationship to us as a family...she wants to pretend in her mind that this never happened. For instance, I have repeatedly asked her not to bring Ben a gift everytime she comes. I don't want him to associate her with getting something. She always does it anyway. Sometimes I feel l have no say. I guess I just want to help her deal with this on some level. Is this possible? Her son (bdad) has no interest in contact with us. He has even told her not to tell anyone about Ben. I guess I don't have anything to really complain about. Maybe it is my own insecurities I am dealing with!:confused: I appreciate your input!
Moiraerin: You sound like you are a very straightforward person...I like that:) Usually I am, I am just trying not to hurt anyone's feelings...or allow my son to be hurt or to be deprived of knowing who his birthfamily is.
Bailey: Wow! Sounds like you have had alot on your hands with that lady. After Ben had been with us about 4months (parental rights were relinquished at 3 weeks old), she says to me , I think the kids still have time to change their mind. Boy I had to correct that quick.
It sounds like you've reached a point where you need to set some boundaries with the birth grandmother. First of all let me say that she in no way has any "right" to expect you to let her take the baby anywhere! My one year old daughter is not adopted but even I don't feel comfortable with my mother or mother-in-law taking my child anywhere at this age. Lots of mothers feel this way! My birth daughter is 13 but when I visit her, I also am visiting her family... I might spend some time alone with her at their home but there is no need for me to take her anywhere.
It does sound like the woman is experiencing grief over the adoption which can be quite deep (and yet that depth of feeling is still in the range of normal.) I sympathize with her like you do... but it's not your responsibility to fix her pain or to let her break boundaries that you wouldn't let your own family break... it sounds like post-adoption counseling would be very helpful for the birth grandmother.
Now as for dealing with birth great-grandmother... I know you don't want to hurt any feelings or ruffle her feathers.... but NOW is the time to educate her. If she is saying hurtful things and you don't start correcting her - it is not too long before your son will be able to start to understand what she is saying. If taking her aside and talking to her doesn't help then you might have to come to an even harder decision... although I hope it doesn't come to that. It's also not unreasonable of you to tell birth grandmother that you'd like to be asked before she brings other guests with her (such as birth great-grandmother.)
Remember, you are your child's mother and it's totally 100% reasonable that you protect your child's health, safety, and feelings. Try to think how you would handle the situation if it was your own grandmother or mother...and perhaps you will find some guidance on the right way to handle the situation.
Best Wishes!
I am a birthmother, for four years now and i have never took my son out for the day. Maybe around the block on bikes or down the street to the park, and i'm even grateful for that time! Letting your child leave with the grandma should not be an obligation, and there is no need for it. Let them play in the bedroom together, or back yard.
Dear Steph, I can see that this bgrandma is overstepping some boundaries. I think your concerns are valid. One of the 1st things you said in your post is that you might want to limit visits b/c they were so painful to her? I do ask that you don't do that; if she needs to step back, let her do it. I'm a bmom in an open adoption & I would never have wanted the afamily to tell me "we don't think you should visit b/c it seems to be too painful for you." Visits actually help me deal with my pain & understand my grief better.
That said, it's totally appropriate to set some boundaries. Have you read the book "The Open Adoption Experience"? One passage I love talks about how open adoption has boundaries (that are healthy for everyone) where closed adoptions had walls. I think your instincts are good-that she shouldn't be bringing gifts all the time, that the b-g-grandma should curb her tongue, that she shouldn't take your son out by herself.
Good luck. Sincerely, Cec
bson Benjamin 10-20-00
Thank you all so much for the advice and/or comments!
GenXMum: Thanks and you are sooo correct! I guess I do need to make some boundaries that we all can live with. I guess I just imagined that we would all be friends, but I get the feeling that she wishes that we were not in the picture. She acts like she does not want to have a relationship with us as Ben's parents, just with Ben. Does that make sense?
mikey: Thank you, I guess I just want Ben to know his birthfamily, both sides...but that doesn't mean that she has to take him out somewhere. I don't really let MY family come and get him and take him anywhere, so why should she be any different! LOL!
Numbr 1: I know emotions are a powerful thing. I think that maybe things like that have crossed her mind although, who knows what goes through someones head right? I thought by being so open it would ease her grief some.
Orange Kitty: I have that book and think that it is great. Maybe I could get her a copy of it for Christmas. I think you are right about limiting the visits. I don't want to alienate her, just want her to be real about the situation. I also know that I am dealing with some of my own insecurities also...we are all human:)
Stephanie I agree with the others in that you should set up some limitations, but I don't think you should present them to her as that. You should talk to her about how you feel about it and what you would be comfortable with, but try to take her emotions into consideration as well. You are under absolutely no obligation to allow her to take your child anywhere...especially if you don't often make those allowances to anyone else. Don't offer her extra-special treatment simply because she thinks she deserves it. I totally agree with Mikey in that if she wants some special alone time with your child a bedroom or backyard visit should be just fine.
I hate to say it but I think you're very right to think she only wants a relationship with the baby and not your entire family. It's just really hard for her to accept you as the baby's parents. In my situation, my baby's birthgrandparents wanted to raise the baby as well so I can relate to that. The aparents have made it quite clear they are uncomfortable with them because they don't accept them or respect them and are being really troublesome as well.
I think that you should expect the birth grandparents to be upset's hard on everyone, especially them with wanting to raise the child. As for being so open hurting her more? I definitely don't agree with that. She's just upset and sounds like she needs some counselling in accepting that you are her grandchild's parents. With her being teary at visits - that's just as normal as you feeling insecure. It's all a part of this painful process.
I definitely can't go without commenting on Moira's first reply to this post. I don't even know where to start...I almost completely disagree and was a little offended by everything in that reply.
For you to assume that there must be a "real problem" in that birthfamily for the bdad and bmom not to WANT bgrandma to raise the child was presumptuous and unfair. I certainly didn't want his parents to raise my baby even tho they wanted to, SIMPLY because they were HIS parents...not my baby's. They've raised their children already. It's quite likely that was the case in this situation as well.
If you're having an issue with b-g-grandma - let her know there's an issue before just "putting an end" to visits.
I don't understand why it would make you sick that grandma brings him gifts when she comes - if her son had kept the baby she'd probably do the same thing. Stephanie if that does bother you tho then it's your right to let her know that.
"It's hard growing up with negativity ringing in your ears"...Great-grandma should be made aware that these comments are inapropriate..not banished from all communication because she's (likely) unaware of the impact of her words. What would you suggest telling the child when he asks one day why grandma's not allowed to come over?
Stephanie I think that the first mistake that you made was asking for advice in how to handle HER (bgrandma) as opposed to how to handle the situation.
Moira - i really don't mean to offend you at all. I was just really surprised by your words and had to express to you how I feel. I definitely don't want you to feel as tho I was mocking you either..I just had to quote you to be more clear. Also, I feel sorry for you not being a trusting soul. That's definitely a detrimental attribute and makes communication so much tougher...especially in situations such as these.
BMLaurie: Thanks for your insight. I don't think there was a problem in the birthfamily...both the bmom and bdad have said that they just wanted Ben to have a mom & dad in the same home..not to be shuffled between households. The b g gma doesn't come around often and my husband & I had decided to talk to the bgranma the next time something inappropriate was said...not in a mean way, but truthfully.
I appreciate everyone's input. I guess writing it out and discussing it has really helped me put things into perspective and figure out what issues are hers and what issues are mine! LOL!
Stephanie - I'm really glad to hear that. I almost always find it helpful to write out my situation and have an outsider's (i guess not really emotionally) perspective on the situation. I'm happy that you have decided to discuss this with her, as well. I think that it definitely will be beneficial to all parties involved and it will help your relationship to grow stronger. Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone to try to make that effort.
Best of luck! ;)
I don't have much in the way of good advice except that I am a birthmother & my mother is both the birth grandmother & an adoptive grandmother as my brother & his wife adopted my daughter. My sister-in-law (amom) has a very difficult time allowing my parents to see Alyssa(my daughter) because of me. Which I feel robs Aly of the privalege of knowing her entire family. Trust me when I say that it is as difficult for that grandmother to see your little boy as it is for you to allow it if not more so. This is simply because she's also probly nervous about what kind of relationship she will have with him in the future because reality says that in time either you or she will begin to pull away more than what is happening now. I only know b/c that has been the case in my situation. When aly was born I saw her every 2wks. then every month now only twice a year if they are feeling generous. My advice is maybe you should talk to her about your anxieties I'm certian she has her own. That's really all I can say Hope it may be of some help to you.