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Preparing the Relatives

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Here's a great article on Preparing the Relatives to accept the newest addition to the family, whatever that child looks like and however that blessing comes into your home. Read it now and share your thoughts!

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I think it's a great article. My own experience is that all racial prejudices went out the window with family members I might have been concerned about before we adopted Jenna. There is very much of a feeling of "she's one of us". The only challenge I've had is encouraging the incorporation of Latin American traditions into our family because that in my mind celebrates Jenna's heritage. The pushback I've gotten is that since she is "one of us" she should just "blend in" and fit into our family's traditions, etc. The idea of introducing new ones that come from the newest family member is an odd concept to some people. I think they are being overprotective, not wanting Jenna to feel "different" rather than looking upon it as a way for her to make her own unique contribution to our family. I'm sure it will all pan out when Jenna gets older and can make her own decisions as to how much she wants to add from her Hispanic background.

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I loved the article, I just printed it out to give to a friend of mine who is "talking" with Abrazo right now, and probably coming to an orientation very soon. tongue.gif

Here is a question for you all. As some of you know or may remember from my last posts (which have been awhile-sorry) We adopted a hispanic boy 3yrs ago, and we were all set to adopt again when we found ourselves pregnant. We now have 2 boys, one hispanic and one white. Both boys are wonderful, loved, and adore each other and adored by parents. But we sometimes run into "very stupid" comments from people. How do we answer questions about heritage with out making our adopted son, be the "adopted one". People see the boys looking different or see our youngest looks like me or whatever..and I know what they are trying to ask are they related, but to answer the questions. I feel like I am labeling them. I don't what one to be "the adopted" and the other "the bio". How can I answer these questions without singling them out. Any hints? As for our family, they are very happy about our babies no matter how they came here, so that is not an issue, but with strangers or even new friends I dont' know how not to label each child. Let me know what you think.Thanks!

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What a great question. Since Mike and I have our first son biologically and are adopting our second child I would wonder the same thing. Does anyone else out there find themselves in that same situation and have any suggestions? I sure would like to hear with someone who has experienced this and can give us some pointers.

Thanks,

Brenda

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Dear Brenda & Jenny,

I've posted this before under another topic, but I strongly feel that being a family is so much more about RELATIONSHIP than about biology!! Having children that don't look like you is much more common today than in years past. Interracial marriages are much more common...and often the children look more like one parent than the other, or don't look exactly like either of them...there is divorce and remarriage with the blending of families...there are those who remarry (maybe more than once) and have children by each different father, who may or may not be of the same race... do you see what I mean? So the "he/she doesn't look exactly like me or their siblings" is out there whether adoption is involved or not!!

Being Hispanic does not necessarily mean a dark skin tone, either. My daughter is 100% Hispanic (her b/father was born in Mexico, her b/mother is Mexican/American) but Catherine's skin tone is just like ours! Her first pediatrician said she must be of Spanish/Castillian descent (as in the explorers from Spain who came to Mexico). So sitting next to the beautiful little Latinas at school who have the long, dark brown or black hair with bangs and brown skin tone, my curly light brown haired daughter Catherine looks very anglo!

So, just answer the truth...if someone asks if they are both/all yours, just smile, say simply "Yes" and walk away. Strangers don't deserve more, and true friends really wouldn't even think of asking!

Now, let me ask YOU all something...because I am 50, and I sometimes don't make it back to the hairdresser before my gray roots start to show ohmy.gif , I'm often mistaken for being Catherine's GRANDMOTHER!! Now, do ya'll have a snappy comeback for that one??? tongue.gif

Edited by marthaj

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Ok, here's a query for the been-there, done-that crowd... for those of you who had a placement plan that fell through, what advice can you give the relatives of others who experience the same disappointment? What did your family members say or do for you that was particularly empathic or helpful in that time of loss? How can relatives of other "expectant parents" know how best to help, when to ask questions or when to sit back and just be quietly supportive? And when the next match is made, how can relatives check on how things are going without seeming nosy or invasive or superstitious?

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Good questions Elizabeth! Let me sleep on them & I'll get y'all an answer. Tim & I had a placement fail prior to our daughters placement in 2000 so we've been there done that! And now we are doing it again, biggrin.gif .

Give me a day or two & I'll answer the questions hoping to help a few others or at least words of wisdom to some readers.

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Ok, here's a query for the been-there, done-that crowd... for those of you who had a placement plan that fell through, what advice can you give the relatives of others who experience the same disappointment? What did your family members say or do for you that was particularly empathic or helpful in that time of loss? How can relatives of other "expectant parents" know how best to help, when to ask questions or when to sit back and just be quietly supportive? And when the next match is made, how can relatives check on how things are going without seeming nosy or invasive or superstitious?

For relatives...just be there w/ your kiddos, let them cry & cry w/ them b/c this is your dream lost to some extent too, hug them, don't ask a zillion & one questions about what happened or why. We had taken a roll of pictures & for me part of closure was getting them developed & just seeing how truly happy Tim & I were... pure bliss! Sharing those pictures w/ our family was helpful as well, it let them see & know that even though our family was being built through adoption it didn't matter....see how happy we are.

If you are able to help your family member recover financially, that would be one huge blessing. Our families weren't able to do that...but were helpful through other means.

Especially helpfully, we returned home to open arms & hugs. Our failed placement took place in California & that summer my sister just happened to be working near by. She was able to come & get the 'baby' things & shipped them to my parents house b/c we just couldn't deal w/ it at the time. Also our moms took down some of the baby things around the house & stored them at my parents house.

About 1 week after returning home, we knew that we had to go do something! We were pretty broke from spending close to 2 weeks in California awaiting the birth of the child we had prayed for, but we took off on a trip away from town anyhow. We had a blast at a water park for 2 days, b/c our parents gave us some money to do that & knew that we just needed a change even for a weekend.

When we matched w/ our DD's birthmom, we told only our parents. We were scared! They were scared! But we all relied on our faith. Faith that the Lord who knows the end results before we do, would guide us along this faith walk. Our parents prayed, asked questions after we volunteered information & prayed some more. Of course our DD's adoption had it's fair share of different bumps along the road & tested our faith even more, but life is about learning to trust God & His everlasting faith b/c He never gives more than we can handle.

Hope that these words are helpful.

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Just wanted to bump this section up for our newest friends (like Sharron!) and to encourage our more recent orientation graduates (and orientationers-to-be) to get their parents and relatives on the Forum, because it's one of the easiest ways we know to help orient family members to the open adoption process and all the wonderful ways it can grow your family tree! :)

  • Upvote 1

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Yes, Let's do it together!!!!

Because...

Our children are growing up, beginning to talk of their own adoption, to family, friends, even strangers. I continually worry how my child will respond to negative, ignorant remarks.

And if you think noone would ever say anything inappropriate to a child's face, think again!

Remember, it is ignorance talking, they do not know better.

Let's give everyone a chance to know better!!!!

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My mom comes up behind me and always reads stuff on here....no way that I am letting her on here though because she might get addicted.....then I will have to fight her for time on the comp....but she does give me advice and reads stuff on here with me!!

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hhhmmm... do they have a twelve step program for Forum addiction? Lurking in the corner since June I just couldn't stay quite any longer! So now I join the ranks of Forum, Ebay, and baby shopping addiction. Help..... But really as I've said it helped me help my daughter I hope,during those beginging stages of endless paper work and home studies and just being there to listen.

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hhhmmm... do they have a twelve step program for Forum addiction? Lurking in the corner since June I just couldn't stay quite any longer!

Funny you should ask! Laurie of the Summer Strollers came up with a very funny version of the 12 Steps for Forum Addicts...

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Well. . .this is the BIG weekend for Brian and me. We are headed to Indiana to share our adoption plan. We have decided we will inform my grandma first (by cell phone) during the drive so that she will be the first family member to know. Next in line will either be my parents or Brian's. We haven't decided which ones we'll tell first or quite how we'll bring the issue up. Our sisters will probably be a bit upset that we didn't tell them first, but Brian has been pretty set on our parents being the first to hear our news.

Saturday will be the day. . .oh what a day it will be :o

Cathy

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Good luck to you this weekend Brian and Cathy! :)

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Good luck to you this weekend Brian and Cathy! :)

Thank you. Brian is ready, but I am nervous. I'm sure I'll be even more nervous as the time nears, but we feel it is time :)

Cathy

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It will be easier than you think. We were nervous too when we told our parents.

Jay's were pretty supportive, although trepidatious.

My mother was NOT supportive, but she loves Makenzie dearly. (She desperately wants me to have biological children. Not sure why, she just does.)

There are some great books out there to give families about adoption. There are some great articles in your Abrazo binder too. Anything you can leave behind would be good. Jay's parents felt more comfortable about it after they read the articles we left from our Abrazo binder.

Sending good thoughts your way!!

Feel free to PM me if you need some extra support!

Edited by tksimmons02

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Cathy

Good luck. Try not to be too nervous, show your enthusiasm and excitment (and all you've learned here on the Forum :D ) and hopefully it will be contagious. Of course, if this is a total shock to them, they may be anxious for you and have lots of questions, but that's what all the info that's out there is for. I agree with Tina - if you can first talk, and maybe leave some info for them to read in their time, and then perhaps even follow up next week with a note and send a book along, letting them know that there is much to learn and they would benefit from reading it . . . Just remember, you didn't get to where you are over night and it might take them a while to digest the information (especially if they think you didn't want children) and to get on baord.

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Someone (I think maybe it was Sugarfamily?) recommended a book elsewhere, called "Adoption Is a Family Affair", which they felt was a particularly read for all their relatives in the course of their adoption process... I don't know the author, offhand, but surely someone else out there does?

Good luck sharing the good news with your relatives this weekend. There's no time like the present.

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Yep - that's a good one (I was going to post its details tomorrow since it it somewhere upstairs and I am too lazy right now to get up :P ) and I will post the author tomorrow unless someone else knows it. It is an easy read, not too preachy, and gives good insight into what prospective adoptive parents are going thoough. We gave it to relatives who in turn gave it to some other relatives who had children adopting (so they thought it was worth passing on). It is also good as it covers positive language, etc. Covers a lot of the basics. Of course, you should read it first before you give it out, if you haven't already. But it might be a good thing to do on a Friday night (ha ha ).Yep - that's a good one (I was going to post its details tomorrow since it it somewhere upstairs and I am too lazy right now to get up :P ) and I will post the author tomorrow unless someone else knows it. It is an easy read, not too preachy, and gives good insight into what prospective adoptive parents are going thoough. We gave it to relatives who in turn gave it to some other relatives who had children adopting (so they thought it was worth passing on). It is also good as it covers positive language, etc. Covers a lot of the basics. Of course, you should read it first before you give it out, if you haven't already. But it might be a good thing to do on a Friday night (ha ha ).

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Cathy,

I am so excited for you and Brian! I know it's crazy and nerve wracking but you will be so happy to finally share this joy. I applaud you two on the education you did, the learning and making sure this was the path you wanted and now you are on your way to being Mommy and Daddy and you can let all your family in on it. My only suggestion is each and every person you tell...do it excited. Don't do like "well, I hope you'll be happy because....". Just say "Oh my we got the greatest news and it's so exciting and we're so happy...." Set the tone from the gitgo. You've done your research and you are definitely ready!!!! YEA! I can't wait to hear how it all went!!!

Good luck and have a great weekend!!! :D

Jenny

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Good luck Brian and Cathy, I hpe it goes well for you this weekend. Like someone else said if they're not thrilled at first, give them time. As they see you get excited they will too, and once that baby gets here they will be head over heals in love.

My in-laws were cautious (complete understatement) at first but now they adore Ella. I think it's been a surprize to them how they feel no different about her than they do about their birth grandchild. Family love is a wonderful thing, it knows no bounds.

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Prayers for you guys this weekend Cathy! Follow your hearts and speak slowly. Our families were supportive of adoption, but we met with some hesitation when they learned that we were adopting an AA baby. As far as our families go, it is all a non-issue. I will pray that your family will see that this is your hearts' desires and that they will be supportive even though they may not completely understand what it all means just yet!

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Someone (I think maybe it was Sugarfamily?) recommended a book elsewhere, called "Adoption Is a Family Affair", which they felt was a particularly read for all their relatives in the course of their adoption process... I don't know the author, offhand, but surely someone else out there does?

Good luck sharing the good news with your relatives this weekend. There's no time like the present.

I'm pretty sure that the author is Patricia I. Johnston.

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Well. . .this is the BIG weekend for Brian and me. We are headed to Indiana to share our adoption plan. We have decided we will inform my grandma first (by cell phone) during the drive so that she will be the first family member to know. Next in line will either be my parents or Brian's. We haven't decided which ones we'll tell first or quite how we'll bring the issue up. Our sisters will probably be a bit upset that we didn't tell them first, but Brian has been pretty set on our parents being the first to hear our news.

Saturday will be the day. . .oh what a day it will be :o

Cathy

Cathy & Brian,

Just wanted to let you both know that I have been thinking of you a lot over the weekend. I hope all went well with your family and they are just as excited as you are about your adoption journey.

Let us all know how it went when you get home and back on the forum.

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