Friday, April 22, 2011

Extended Family

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Most of you know at this point that I have a fairly open adoption.  I call it “semi-open” because we don’t have supervised visits, but they’re always in a public, neutral location and we don’t yet know their last name or their home address (though we know the city in which they live).

Last Monday, I got an email from T.  In it, she mentioned that she and C have decided they’d like to meet my family.  They want to meet my boyfriend’s family too, but they’re much farther away.  It won’t be until “after June,” but they plan to drive up north (they live in Oregon, and my family lives in Washington) and evidently stay with C’s family who doesn’t live too far from where my family does.

When I read that, I immediately got excited and then got nervous.  My family was NOT supportive of my making an adoption plan (they thought I should parent or place her with my sister – not good ideas).  I think they’ve come to terms with it now, and seeing that I’m working actively on maintaining a relationship with my daughter’s parents has helped a lot.  My main concern was that the visit would overwhelm T & C because my family would be so excited to meet them and see their granddaughter.  I didn’t want my parents or my sister to assume that because T and C want to meet them once that visits will continue and they’ll start to get updates about my daughter from “the source.”

I also have to fight with my feelings of selfishness when it comes to my daughter.  I would NEVER say this to T and C simply because I don’t want them to assume that I’m pushing for more contact when that’s not the case.  But I feel that I get limited visits with my daughter anyway, and now I’m going to have to “share” her with extended family as well.  I know that had I decided to parent, I’d be grateful to have my family spend time with her, but it feels different simply because I’m not parenting.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining.  A lot of you don’t even get letters or pictures, much less visits. I’m very grateful for the contact I receive.  I just now have to fight with wanting to keep my daughter “all to myself” when the extended family visit finally happens.

What about you?  Do any of you have contact arrangements in place that have allowed your families to spend time with your son or daughter and their parents?  How do you deal with anxiety over “sharing” that contact with your families?


  1. Wow. Just to let you know, your family is your child's family, too. It really doesn't matter if you don't want to "share" your daughter or not. I mean, seriously- they want to be in her life-and THAT is what is important. I applaud your child's adopters for taking this step.

  2. Yeah, this is really good. My situation is totally different, but the 'not sharing' part really resonates with me. I have not even told my family of origin that I have met my daughter. I honestly can't imagine a time I would. My family was not supportive, so they don't get the blessings on this side of it. It sounds harsh, but it's my decision.

  3. I see nothing good coming out of an extended family visit. I view adoption as too personal. I don't mean to be harsh, but your extended family has no business meeting your child especially if they didn't support your decision when you needed them. My family was NOT supportive and my mother has tried to contact my child's parents. I found it highly inappropriate and disrespectful to me.

    If you decide to allow this visit, your family will expect more visits, letters, and photos. Are you ready to handle their expectations after the visit?

    Also, I don't know about you, but the feeling of loss and missing my child is for me to grieve. I'm too sensitive to deal with my family's emotions/opinions about the situation. It's my child and my loss.

    I do respect your adoptive family's wish to get to know you and your family. It's admirable. Just remember to be self-protective first and foremost.

    Let us know what you decide!