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Family members can have a smorgasboard of varying emotions and opinions on a wide variety of topics, and adoption is no different. However, for a single person or a parent who is engaged in the adoption process, it can be very demoralizing, to lack the support or approval of those who matter most to you.

Did/does your family disagree with your adoption plan? Do they want a different kind of child for you than you want for yourself? Do they feel worry that you don't really know what you're getting into? Are they afraid of open adoption because they don't really understand it? Are they so enamored with the grandchild they have already they fear the next one won't measure up? Is their current response reflective of their past reactions to other life decisions you have faced?

It's not uncommon for our relatives to think they know what is best for us, or to feel protective and fear that going after our dreams could cost us the security of our lives as they now stand. But "nothing ventured, nothing gained," as they say!

For the "been there, done that" crowd, what opposition did you face and how'd you overcome it?

For the "stuck there right now" bunch, what are you dealing with and what do you need from them?

For any concerned relatives out there, what is it that worries you most and how can we help?

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This is something on both sides of the fence in the adoption triad. All ap's, bp's and the adopted children. I hope that we all remeber how difficult this is for everyone involved at the onset of adoption plans, and also for those children in the end. We have engaged in an effort for all our sakes that open adoption is the end to fears and doubts of our children, but we as the adults players in this life still get that part of it. May we all be more understanding of the "world" and their fears. May we all politely remind the 'un-educated" that they are not the deciding factors for us. And may we all know He will never lead us down a path if it isnt in His grand scheme of things.

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The biggest thing that we have encountered is some family members are jealous of our relationship with Grace Ann's birthparents. I think they feel like as Grace Ann gets older that she will love Monica and Ronnie more than she loves her adoptive family. We have had many talks with these family members. We have told them, that yes Grace Ann loves Monica and Ronnie but her heart is big enough to love everyone in her life. It really drives me crazy, because sometimes I feel as if I am dealing with preschoolers instead of grown adults.

I think it really boils down to some members of our family just do not understand open adoption. Chris and I are trying our best to get them to understand how open adoption works,but sometimes I think they just don't want to understand(can't teach an old dog new tricks!!).

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GREAT Topic Elizabeth, When we began our quest in 1997 it was my in laws who were a bit troubled about what kind of child we would get. Even after we met Dylan's birthmom they ask question's about the birthdad. I remember my mother in law telling me that someone had asked her if she thought she would love an adopted grandchild like she loves her biological grandchildren. Her answer was I don't know.... Well let me tell you how that changed...Dylan is probably their favorite...Now that we have begun the process the second time they want this one to be like Dylan and be" intelligent like him." As far as my family, they are just ready for us to have our baby girl. I think age has alot to do with what your fears are. rolleyes.gif

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My parents and sister are VERy supportive of all we have been through. But Doug's family is a whole other matter. We have heard many times that our children are not real family so Doug's sister's children will get everything worthh family value.

At Delaney's birthday party a month ago Doug's grandma came and walked in and asked which one is Delaney? And the worst part is she lives 15 minutes away and only sees the kids for speacial occasions (like birthdays and Christmas). I have learned to deal with them by ignoring them all the time. I let Doug talk and deal with them. I only said one thing to Doug grandma and nothing to his mom at Delaney's party, it seems so strange to me that his family is like this but what can I do. His mom goes on to tell me all the time how bad of a mom I am and how we shouldn't put up with the birthparents (good thing she doesn't have a say).

My family is so opposite, when a case came up this past fall I called my mom and asked her how much cash she could let us borrow and without hesitation she said as much as we need! If the same thing happened with Doug's mom we would be lectured on how we have enough kids and we should just be happy and no to any money. My parents welcome Amanda and Stacy into their lives the same as we do, they understand the importance of openness.

Any advise on how to deal with Doug's family??

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I adopted as a single mother so, I feel very fortunate that I had a wonderful supportive family. My mom is completely in LOVE with my two boys. They cannot go a day without seeing her or her seeing them. I think that the family as a whole wanted to make sure that I was sure. Now that they see us together I don't think there is any doubt. My family adores my boys! I just sit back and smile when I see them with my brother when he takes them camping...or when my sister writes them a letter and they hear it...or when they run to grandma with their arms wide open at each other.....That is what makes ME sure......They were chosen for me and what a good job the big guy upstairs did! biggrin.gif

I think there were some in the community that thought maybe I was a little WACKO for adopting without a father. However, as I have stated many times before on the forum....YOU have to 100% invested in the adoption process...regardless of what the family or friends say. If you are not sure then maybe just maybe you should wait. I do have to admit the support is great.

Even with two failed adoption plans....I would not have done anything different! I believe "life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it". Our family was surely MEANT TO BE! That is the sweetest reward. biggrin.gif

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"We have heard many times that our children are not real family so Doug's sister's children will get everything worthh family value"

OUCH that one has to hurt!

My mother in law was a little weird about us adopting a child of a different race. I am a straight to the point kind of gal, and my response to her concerns were probably a little too curt..... I told her "tough, deal with it" She really has risen to the occasion and she is very good to both our children and I think she has made it past the race issue.

Jeannie

Edited by Mommy2(again)

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My parents and sister are VERy supportive of all we have been through.  But Doug's family is a whole other matter.  We have heard many times that our children are not real family so Doug's sister's children will get everything worth family value. 

Any advise on how to deal with Doug's family??

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Dear Jennifer,

Your post made me feel so sad!! I had no idea....

Sadly, your experience is not that uncommon. In the book Adopting for Good, A Guide for People Considering Adoption, the author Jorie Kincaid writes:

"We have to face the fact that some families, despite our desires, will never treat adopted family members in the same way they treat the rest of the family. I know of a family who had one adopted granddaughter and two biological granddaughters. As the children grew up and married, the aging adoptive grandparents revised their will. They left their adopted granddaughter one dollar and divided a large portion of their estate equally between their bio granddaughters. Imagine the alienation this granddaughter will feel when she learns of her grandparents' decision.

Another family suggested that an adopted grandchild should not inherit an engraved memento from his namesake grandparent, believing that it should be given to a more distant blood relative instead. Still another family excluded the adopted members from researched information about the family tree, mistakenly thinking that the adopted family members would not be interested. In this case the adopted children spoke up, declaring that family is family and that they were very much interested in their adoptive family roots!

While some families make a distinction between their family members and their adoptive family members, most will treat them and love them equally. Though it is wise to seek extended family's blessing for an adoption, and we certainly hope for their approval, it is not necessary to seek their permission."

Jennifer, I think you are wise to stay on the "high road" and not sink down to their level. It would not be good for Delaney to be caught in the middle of a "family feud" (and believe me children, even at a very young age, just know when relationships are strained...they can just sense it!!). And let your own family and Delaney's birthfamily know just how much you appreciate their love and support (I'm sure you already do!!)

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I can totally relate to some of these problems. Mickey and I have talked about adopting for many years now. We have shared our plans with both sides of our families. Well, infertility runs on both sides of my family...so adoption is pretty common in my family. The only thing that my family was upset about was that we didn't "get our name in the pot" sooner! tongue.gif

Mickey's parents were a different story. We tried to warm them up to the idea of adoption for at least two or three years (mentioning it on and off). We did that in order to prepare them for the avenue in which they would become grandparents. Well, for years we have endured rude coments ("You don't know what you are getting!...etc.). We explained that you don't know "what you are getting" with a biological child either.

Patience is not my strong point. At times I have biten my tongue and others I have stood up for what I believe, but regardless of my response their opinion was always negative (concerning adoption) and rubbed me the wrong way...to put it mildly!

Well, fast forward to this past January. When we decided to pursue adoption through Abrazo and began filling out our paperwork...we decided to share with our families the good news. Mickey and I were a nervous wreck, b/c we knew we would not be well received by his parents. Isn't that unfortunate?

My parents were thrilled. They had been waiting for us to give them that good news for a long time. Mickey's parents were not at all happy. Not only did we not get a pat on the back or "congratulations" or a hug...we got a lecture on the dangers of adoption/adopted kids. It still sickens me to think about it.

This was before we actually got the call about Makayla. Since having Makayla placed with us they have seemed to do a 180.

I should be happy about this, but I am not. I really struggle with this nearly every day. My resentment has grown to the point of me having upset stomachs when I think about the whole situation.

I don't think my in-laws realized that this child has been loved for years. She was and is very much wanted. I have prayed for her for literally years. Not just that I get a little girl, but that she is healthy, etc.

If I had been sitting on their couch pregnant and announced that they were going to become grandparents would they have been angry? Would they have insulted the child I carried in my womb? I think not. Yet, they had no problem slapping me in the face since my family is being built through adoption.

Little did/do they know that when they insulted my adoption plan they insulted my child (which is worse than insulting me)! It is a daily struggle to try to forgive this. It truly is. There is a lot more to the story than I have the time to type. We have never been close with one another anyways, and the relationship has often felt strained...but this took the cake. It literally was the last straw in my mind. I felt like I had waited so many years to become a mother, and they were trying to steal my joy! mad.gif

The problem is that I want Makayla to know her grandparents. And I want them to know her (she is their only g-child, as Mickey is an only child), but it is so hard for me to even look at them with her after the way they talked about her (or adopted kids in general).

I know that I have got to work on forgiveness. That is the only way. What happened can not be taken back.

They now seem to accept Makayla...it is me that is having problems moving past this situation.

I just feel that things went from an adopted child is not wanted to the other extreme of gushing all over her.

My Mom told me that I should be happy that they finally accept Makayla...and I am, but I am sad that on the day that we announced that we were "expecting" (through adoption) we were completely shot down and insulted. Not only were we insulted, but our future child was very much insulted. And also the many other terrible comments that were thoughtless concerning adoption that we have endured for years. The hurt, anger, and resentment has only grown.

I am the type of person that can not stand for big things to be swept under the rug....and this situation has been. Mickey's Dad was the one that went on and on about the horrors of adopted kids, and he has never apologized for it or even mentioned it since. Just like it never happened...even after I sent them a nasty email blasting them out about the situation.

I don't know if an apology would take care of all of this resentment, but it couldn't hurt anything.

Anybody have any suggestions? This is a sticky situation that needs to be resolved. I would love to hear from any of you that have a word of advice or encouragement!

Elaine

p.s. I gave them the book "Adoption is a Family Affair"...never heard if either one of them read it or not.

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dear elaine,

remember you put your future in God's hands when you married, and through your path in life you have endured more emotional pain than this. Mickey and you were blessed with Makayla. She was an Angel sent from him to you for her wings to grow. Long as they treat her right now it was in the plan. I know, we are suppossed to forgive and forget. But life today isn't built like that. Take the experience and remember it, because that cut you much deeper than anyone else can. Let God and your blessing heal the wound.

Also remember, they come from a time when you didn't know anything on either side of the coin with the adoption. It was not talked about or thought it about--- just shoved in the bottom of the "rag" box only to be used if necessary. Sensationalism has a lot to do with it too, you never hear on the news the beautiful stories only the ugly ones.

Put your anger and resentment in God's hands. And when your around them and you feeel that just look at that lil' Angel of yours and hug her and kiss her.

You never know maybe God's plan was Makayla was going to bring ya'll closer, and possibly even greater things for Mickey's family.

God Bless, hope I helped.

Tanya

I can totally relate to some of these problems.  Mickey and I have talked about adopting for many years now.  We have shared our plans with both sides of our families.  Well, infertility runs on both sides of my family...so adoption is pretty common in my family.  The only thing that my family was upset about was that we didn't "get our name in the pot" sooner!  tongue.gif 

Mickey's parents were a different story.  We tried to warm them up to the idea of adoption for at least two or three years (mentioning it on and off).  We did that in order to prepare them for the avenue in which they would become grandparents.  Well, for years we have endured rude coments ("You don't know what you are getting!...etc.).  We explained that you don't know "what you are getting" with a biological child either. 

Patience is not my strong point.  At times I have biten my tongue and others I have stood up for what I believe, but regardless of my response their opinion was always negative (concerning adoption) and rubbed me the wrong way...to put it mildly!

Well, fast forward to this past January.  When we decided to pursue adoption through Abrazo and began filling out our paperwork...we decided to share with our families the good news.  Mickey and I were a nervous wreck, b/c we knew we would not be well received by his parents.  Isn't that unfortunate?

My parents were thrilled.  They had been waiting for us to give them that good news for a long time.  Mickey's parents were not at all happy.  Not only did we not get a pat on the back or "congratulations" or a hug...we got a lecture on the dangers of adoption/adopted kids.  It still sickens me to think about it.

This was before we actually got the call about Makayla.  Since having Makayla placed with us they have seemed to do a 180. 

I should be happy about this, but I am not.  I really struggle with this nearly every day.  My resentment has grown to the point of me having upset stomachs when I think about the whole situation. 

I don't think my in-laws realized that this child has been loved for years.  She was and is very much wanted.  I have prayed for her for literally years.  Not just that I get a little girl, but that she is healthy, etc. 

If I had been sitting on their couch pregnant and announced that they were going to become grandparents would they have been angry?  Would they have insulted the child I carried in my womb?  I think not.  Yet, they had no problem slapping me in the face since my family is being built through adoption. 

Little did/do they know that when they insulted my adoption plan they insulted my child (which is worse than insulting me)!  It is a daily struggle to try to forgive this.  It truly is.  There is a lot more to the story than I have the time to type.  We have never been close with one another anyways, and the relationship has often felt strained...but this took the cake.  It literally was the last straw in my mind.  I felt like I had waited so many years to become a mother, and they were trying to steal my joy!  mad.gif

The problem is that I want Makayla to know her grandparents.  And I want them to know her (she is their only g-child, as Mickey is an only child), but it is so hard for me to even look at them with her after the way they talked about her (or adopted kids in general). 

I know that I have got to work on forgiveness.  That is the only way.  What happened can not be taken back. 

They now seem to accept Makayla...it is me that is having problems moving past this situation. 

I just feel that things went from an adopted child is not wanted to the other extreme of gushing all over her. 

My Mom told me that I should be happy that they finally accept Makayla...and I am, but I am sad that on the day that we announced that we were "expecting" (through adoption) we were completely shot down and insulted.  Not only were we insulted, but our future child was very much insulted.  And also the many other terrible comments that were thoughtless concerning adoption that we have endured for years.  The hurt, anger, and resentment has only grown.

I am the type of person that can not stand for big things to be swept under the rug....and this situation has been.  Mickey's Dad was the one that went on and on about the horrors of adopted kids, and he has never apologized for it or even mentioned it since.  Just like it never happened...even after I sent them a nasty email blasting them out about the situation. 

I don't know if an apology would take care of all of this resentment, but it couldn't hurt anything.

Anybody have any suggestions?  This is a sticky situation that needs to be resolved.  I would love to hear from any of you that have a word of advice or encouragement!

Elaine

p.s.  I gave them the book "Adoption is a Family Affair"...never heard if either one of them read it or not.

16316[/snapback]

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This morning I was planning on asking some questions on the forum about extended family in the adoption process, and then I read these posts.

After reading some of the above posts I must say I am so sad to hear how some families responded. It is just crazy to me how unaccepting a family can be.

I really wanted to inquire about talking to family members about positive adoption language, open adoption and other adoption issues and at the same time educating myself more so I am better equipped to answer questions lovingly and intelligently. I wrote down "Adoption is a Family Affair" and plan on ordering it for our parents. Anyother suggestions? Does anyone have advice about teaching your family about positive adoption language and open adoption in addition to reading? Our families are very supportive of our decision to adopt and eager to learn. I want our children's extended family to understand our adoption plan.

Kristen and Jason

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Elaine,

I don't want to excuse your inlaws bad behavior with my comments. I had a thought while reading your heartfelt post. Did you ever consider that they might be grieving the loss of biological grandchildren? I had perceived this exact emotional loss in my own loving parents (thankfully, they were not rude or condeming in their behavior and were very concerned that their feelings not be perceived as criticism of our plans)......Or that they may have fears for you and for themselves that they don't know how to deal with? Afterall, the media has done a pretty good job of messing up a whole nation's perception of adoption!!!

My words of advice for you.....in the interest of having a loving grandchild-grandparent relationship I would recommend that you address this directly with them. Write down your hurt feelings and then express these feelings, without finger-pointing, and explore with them what are their real emotional feelings. I think a formal opportunity to clear the air is what you all need. You may be very glad you did. It may draw you all together.

Another thought about forgiveness. If I do not know that I hurt you, how can I ask for your forgiveness. If your inlaws don't realize that their comments have been so very offensive, how can they possibly say they are sorry.....and how can you even forgive them if you don't give them a chance to say sorry. Give them a chance.

just a thought

pkk

Edited by mummyx2

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Elaine,

I am sorry that you have had to endure all of this hurt regarding your family. When Marcelo and I first started talking about adoption very seriously, we felt like our families may not be so supportive especially about the openess. At first my mom said that we should not adopt out of our own ethnicity for the well being of the child. Even Marcelo was a bit uncomfortable with the situation. As time went by and we all together realized that it is about starting a family and loving eachother no matter what. Everything just seemed to fall into place. I remember telling Marcelo and our family that how could we ask God to bless us with a child and then be so picky about it. I felt like it was so ungrateful. The feelings of uncertainty on my mother's behalf just faded as her love for the idea of a new grand-child grew. I don't want to live on guard about who approves and who doesn't. I just want for people to respect that we are responsible adults living our lives as we feel God planned. That is what you are doing. Time heals all wounds which I have discovered. Don't get me wrong, I carry resentment about certain issues in my life, but I don't let it run my life and stop me from doing the things I have been called to do. I ask God for peace, that is all! We are human with many blessings of emotions and they are real... nice or not. Elaine, I will pray that God will bring you peace about this whole situation and HE WILL pour his peace and guidance over your family. Mikayla will bring your family much love and joy and maybe just maybe she was meant to be the healing bond.

Love, laugh.gif

Claudia

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Elaine, I totally agree with Claudia..... When my husband and I began our adoption process almost eight years ago my inlaws were not so supportive either. They would say things like how do you know what color he will be or are you sure the birthmother is telling you the truth about the birthdad and just many hurtful comments like that. When it came right down to it they were very excited just igornant to adoption. My son is their favorite grand child and has been since they laid eyes on him. Even now that they are a little more educated they still say stupid stuff. It all goes back to being afraid of what you don't know. I remember my mother in law honestly saying she did not know if she could love an adopted grandchild because she had never had one. If they are excited and accepting of Makayla let them be. You can always give them a hard time about not wanting her. Believe me they are dealing with their comments. God has been so good to you don't let them take the joy from you. smile.gif Hang in there and ask God to guide you...he will rolleyes.gif

Edited by stennison

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Elaine,

Sorry, I just realized that I was mispelling Makayla's name.

Claudia

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Thank you for all of your comments. My inlaws are very aware of how hurtful their comments have been, but instead of talking about it...it has been completely "swept under the rug". I believe deep down they must feel bad about their comments. I also know that if they really love Makayla (the way I think they do), then they will beat themselves up about their rude comments plenty without my help.

Instead of focusing on the past, I need to concentrate on the present. I feel like all to often I reflect heavily on the past or I dream big about the future. Reflecting on the past and/or dreaming about the future are not bad...unless you lose sight of the present.

God has blest us with a beautiful little girl. Instead of spending one more second fuming about my inlaws I need to count my many blessings!

Please pray for me concerning this situation. I really need to move on...and I need God's help to do it.

Thank you again! It is so wonderful to have friends sprinkled all over the country that care!!!

Elaine wink.gif

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Elaine,

I feel your pain. I too have in-laws that are not very supportive of everything we do. When everything with our match went so horribly wrong I was on the phone with my parents every moment I could. They were there to support me and my husband in our troubles. My mom and I would have long conversations and she would help me to focus on what was important. I always felt there love and support. Mike's parents were quite the opposite. They spend their winters in Florida and didn't talk to us much for the six months that they were gone. Mike talked to them maybe three times when we were in the middle of our ordeal and they never once spoke to me and acknowledged my pain. My mother-in-law called me once to tell me she had found a cute rocking chair for the baby and how was I going to spell her name. But after we unmatched and we were in "mourning" over our loss, they never called or came to comfort us. When they finally arrived home from Florida, after our unmatch, they came over for a visit with my brother and sister-in-law. They went into the baby room to look at the cute clothes and to see how we had painted the walls. When I started telling my mother-in-law how everything happened and how hard it has been for me her eyes just wandered around the room and she said, "hmm" and you could tell she wasn't even listening to me. I was so hurt over her lack of concern for me and my husband. I had to leave the room and she followed behind me and asked me if I wanted to do a craft with her!! I didn't want to do a craft with her I wanted her to acknowledge my pain and show some support! Mike and I have been married for 12 years and I have learned that his parents are not there for us emotionally. They are just not capable of showing that kind of affection towards us and I have learned not to count on them for it. It still hurts when you are searching for support and they are not there for you. Fortunately, Mike is supportive of me and understands that his parents and I don't get along very well and he doesn't push me. I guess that sometimes there are family members that you just aren't close with and they just won't be there to support you. It just makes me appreciate the family and friends that I do have, that do support us, even more. smile.gif

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Brenda,

I am sorry to hear that you too have struggled with unsupportive relatives. I think our situations are probably similar.

I too am not very close with Mickey's parents. We go for long stretchs without talking. Mickey is sort of like your Mike...he knows that the relationship is strained, and he does not push me either.

I wanted to comment on your inlaws lack of sympathy when you were mourning your "unmatching". I have thought about your post concerning that. You and Mike were attached to the baby because you believed that she was the child you had been dreaming of, praying for, etc. Maybe your inlaws were sort of like mine...not attached to the baby until she was home. It was like my inlaws were pretty much opposed or indifferent about our adoption until they held Makayla. I wonder if your inlaws are the same way. Maybe they couldn't be compassionate in your time of need, because they simply were not attached in the way you were. I am not excusing them or taking up for them at all! I have a sneaking suspicion that if we had unmatched in the way that you all did, then I do not believe my inlaws would have been very supportive/sympathetic either. Part of it would be that they were not emotinally invested in this adoption the way Mickey and I were. Another thing is that we have never been that close to one another. And lastly, they were not overly supportive when we started pursuing adoption...why would they be overly supportive/sympathetic if our adoption plan fell apart?

Regardless of why they were unable to be there for you...it is still sad. Not only were you hurt by your unmatching, but you were also hurt by the lack of support you were shown. I am sorry for that.

God has a plan for every family. I truly believe that! You will find the little girl that is going to make her way into your heart and arms. Remeber it is not if but when!

Hugs from TN,

Elaine

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It looks like this is an older topic from 2005, but family opposition is an interesting topic! We actually encountered some opposition when we presented our plans to some of our extended family. It was very hurtful and the response that we got was very hard to take in. I was shocked and sad by the attitude against adoption and against another race. It was not what I expected to hear and I was so surprised by it that I stayed pretty quiet. (I'm an internal processor.... a.k.a.=introvert). So, afterwards, I had plenty of comebacks and things I would have liked to have said, but of course, I couldn't think of them on my feet because I was so taken aback by the whole situation.

So... some months have gone by since that encounter and for some reason, they have taken a 180 and decided that since we are going to adopt anyway, they are going to be okay with it and actually excited about it for us. Go figure?!?! I don't understand it and can't say that it makes any sense whatsoever. I am glad they aren't still against it, but it does feel like there is a disconnect along the way. What happened to make them change their minds? Why did they all of a sudden decide that it was okay to adopt when they were so against it? I don't know. Well, yes, family opposition is an interesting topic... and so involved on many levels! I can relate to Elaine and what she went through. I hope that by now her conflict is resolved since it's been a few years since her post.

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Deb-

So glad you posted....we heard a few comments from the in laws.....ugh! But, alot had to do with the fact of "open" adoption. I believe, the key is to educate those around you and yourself for that matter. So glad you shared.

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Dyna,

Thanks for your encouragement!!! I think I'll give them the book that Abrazo recommends for extended family: "Adoption is a Family Affair" (I think that is the name of it) so that will help to continue to educate them about open adoption. We've been talking to them a lot about our adoption plans so I think that might have been the key to help them turn the corner. Each time they say something that isn't correct, I try to say something about it in a way that isn't disrespectful to them. Yes, we ALL have so much to learn! And it's a long process and journey. I'm grateful for this forum because I'm learning through others who have gone through this already and can give great advice!

Thank you!!!!!

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Deb - I'm really excited to see you posting more! You've made some great posts... and I think this is a topic we don't talk about very much, but should!

We're lucky. Our family rallied around us 100%. I don't know if it's because I'd always had a feeling I couldn't have children, so I'd always talked about adoption or because they just didn't see anything wrong with it. My immediate family would embrace a child of any race, I'm certain, but I have often wondered about some of our more extended family. Racial divides are fairly strong in the mid-south and there's a lot of prejudice to get over. I believe that with every generation that passes, we get further away from the animosity black people and white people feel toward each other in the midsouth. We, ourselves, battle whether or not we feel it's "fair" to adopt a black child, though I can tell you that my mind opens up to it more and more every day when I think about what we CAN provide vs. what we CAN'T. In the end, I know it's funny because God has a plan and He laughs at me for trying to control everything. What will be, will be.

I hope our son's birthmama, B, will respond too because I know she's heard the same thing we've heard many times when it comes to open adoption: "well, won't she want him back?!" Of course, B's heard "aren't they afraid you'll want him back?!" I know we both give the same reaction to that question. I think that is most people's "fear" though. Openness isn't the norm, either, as it relates to adoption in popular media and conversation. I think that's changing some, though, or maybe that's just my perception because of our situation and influences. I'm still baffled when I hear of someone who's adopted and is parenting a child who is fearful of a birthparent knowing where they live or something. I understand there may be very specific special circumstances where an adoptive family should fear for a child's safety (like a child being taken from a family because of severe abuse, etc) but otherwise....???? I just don't get it. Anyway, I think our families - those of the adoptive family's and those of the birth family's - think open adoption seems totally foreign at first. Even a few months in, some of our extended family and even close friends didn't quite get it. But chip away slowly... that's the best advice I can give. And if they weren't believers at the beginning, they will be once they see the amazing benefits to openness.

I do wonder how family opposition factors into expectant/birth parent choices (choosing adoption at all, choosing open vs. closed, opposition to staying in touch or level of involvement, etc.).

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Deb,

Our family was very suppotive. I think because I have openly discussed adoption since I was a teenager and Kevin and I discussed it in detail prior to us getting married.

Kevin is from Scotland and they do not have Birth-Mother adoption there so we were worried about if his parents and brother would understand. We waited until his parents were here and explained everything to them in person. It took a couple of days and a few questions but they understood. His brother understood, too and was so happy for us.

I loved that everyone in our famlies were so excited when we were able to meet Alexander's Birth-Mom in a couple of months ago. We were not able to meet her at placement so meeting her in February was very special for all of us.

I think that education is the key and a book that we purchased several copies of and gave them to our family members really helped.

In on it: What adoptive parents would like you to know about adoption (A guide for Relatives & Friends) by Elizabeth O'Toole

Please let me know if you would like a copy of it. As I have a extra one and I am more than happy to pop it in the mail to you. Just PM your snail mail address and I can send it to you.

Leah x

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Deb,

Just so you don't feel alone... my family also was a little hesitant about adoption also. In some ways, our telling them about our infertility seemed to be a bigger blow for them than us. Maybe it was because we slowly worked through that on our own and then talked in detail about adoption also before telling them. So maybe it just caught them off guard, while we had be gradually working through things.

I will say that in my mind there seems to be a generational gap in understanding open adoption too. Not all my family "gets it" but recently my mom has asked more how M and her girls are doing and has said she respects us for keeping that relationship. I just feel like it is not what they experienced in their exposure to adoption as children and growing up.

My extended family is all in the deep south, and there are definitely some differences in the way they feel in racial things and the way that we do. I do believe some of them were taken back that I married a Hispanic (ohhh, scandalous, right!? :)) But I will say they seem to have grown and come a long way. I did have concerns that if we did adopt a black child that there might be some eyebrows raised at first (and we were totally open to that idea) but I felt that as soon as they laid eyes on any child that became a part of our family that they would melt. They have all embraced the two we have been blessed with. I definitely agree that education is the key...

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Wow, thank you all so much for your replies to my post about family opposition. I am grateful for your insights and wisdom about this. Yes, I agree wholeheartedly that it does take time for them to come around and education. I would love to have them read some more books or articles about open adoption so I'll start there. They say they are supportive now, so I hope that is genuine. I won't try to second guess it. Thankfully, they don't live nearby (5 states away) so it's not an issue I have to deal with all the time... only on visits or during phone calls if the matter would come up. I would appreciate your prayers though.... that I would have wisdom beyond my years to deal with people who are fearful of the unknowns.

Thanks for your encouragement ladies!!!

Blessings!

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