Breakfast With Bubbie
My wife and I have been married for three years now. Two years ago we found out we are unable to conceive children. After the shock wore off, we discussed at length all of our options on how to become parents. We decided we could make a huge difference in a child’s life by becoming foster parents.
We got our first foster placement 14 months ago. She is a beautiful little 2 year old and her biological mother is due any time with another baby. Social services has already asked us if we would be interested in fostering the new baby because the biological mother is incarcerated and will be for a very lengthy time. The county has already begun the process of terminating parental rights for our daughter. The biological mother has said she will sign away her parental rights on the baby because she wants the children to be together. Of course we jumped at the opportunity.
Our social worker has already talked to us about possibility of adopting our daughter and her sibling. We are overjoyed at the thought of them being ours forever. Hopefully, this time next year they will legally be ours, because they are already ours in our hearts.
Here’s my issue. My wife’s family has completely accepted our foster daughter as part of the family. My family, on the other hand, doesn’t accept her. They don’t give her Christmas gifts, nor birthday gifts. Not once have they offered to watch her or spend time with her.
We’re afraid to talk to our social worker about this for fear it could interfere with or stop the adoption all together.
I have talked to my parents and my siblings about how I feel. I have told them we are adopting her and her sibling. The only answer I ever get is “She isn’t really our family.”
She is “really” our daughter and the baby is “really” ours already. I don’t want my children feeling they aren’t part of my family or feeling different from their cousins that my parents dote on. How do I address this? I want them to be a part of my family but I won’t let them hurt them like this.
Adoption Angst in Anza
Dear Adoption Angst,
Congratulations on your growing family! What a gift you are giving to those beautiful babies! And what a miraculous gift you have been given!
Fostering is an amazing way to show children what family is truly about, even if only temporarily. As former foster parents for thirteen years, my husband and I helped raise nearly sixty children in addition to our own. We legally adopted three children and several more have “come home “after aging out of the foster care system.
We didn’t have the same challenges you are facing, however we did have a family member that had a very obvious favorite. We also had family members that didn’t believe we should be foster parents at all and should focus only on “our children.”
Another issue we had was family explaining that our adoptive children, “weren’t ours biologically,” to complete strangers, trying to explain the size of our family.
We had to talk to our families. We told them never to say they weren’t ours or “these three are adopted.” It only served to confuse and seperate our children into two sets; three biological and three adopted.
My best advice is not to let this problem and frustration fester. Talk to your family. Tell them how their actions make you feel. Explain to them how and why their actions are detrimental, not only to your potential adoptive children, but to your entire family as well.
If, after you have explained how you feel, your family still chooses to not accept your foster/adoptive children, that is their loss. Your number one job at this point is to raise your children to the best of your abilities and to provide for them and protect them as much as you possibly can, even if that means protecting them from your family.
If things don’t change, you may have to make a hard decision as to whether or not you will allow this kind of abuse to continue. It is abuse, in my opinion. These children had no choice in the circumstances of their birth. They are not responsible for the poor choices their bilogical parents made. Your children should not have to suffer rejection and obvious bias at the hands of your, “real family.”
There may come a time when you may simply have to stop visiting your family, if they can not treat your children as equals. You need to tell your family exactly why you won’t visit them and why they can no longer visit you. At that point, your family will have to make a decision as to whether or not they will change their ways and accept your children, or continue on without you in their lives.
Not all blood is family and not all family is blood.
Enjoy your beautiful family and all the joy they will bring you!