Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why can't I call her my sister?

We put together a Halloween care package for Brit this past week.  It is also her mom's birthday, so we thought a package with a gift for the mom and Halloween treats for Brit would be fun.

The package has a Halloween treat bucket, iced animal cookies, 2 tutus, a soft crown, a couple of glow wands, a Halloween book, a Halloween movie and a custom made funky dress up cape.  Nothing expensive, just fun holiday things that a child could enjoy.  We hope she will have a start on a dress up box that she can play with all year round.

When I had the cape made for her, I asked the person making it to embroider their last name so Brit's little sister could wear it too someday.  I want to be sensitive to including the new siblings when I send things (although right now they have no understanding as they are only 4 months old).

BF went to the mall and got some smell good lotions from the popular store that sells those things.  He did a great job of picking out a package for Brit's mom. I was terribly proud of him.  Usually that is my job.  But he wanted to do it this time.

I got the cards.

One for Brit for Halloween.  One for the twins first Halloween.  One for Brit's mom's bday.  One for Brit's dad's bday (we don't know when his bday is, so we are just sending him one with hers so he isn't left out).  And a hilarious Halloween card for Brit's parents.

On Sunday, we had all of our boys together.  So we had them all sign Brit's Halloween card.  My two older boys did a good job, said I love you or Happy Halloween and signed their names.  Then Little D got the pen.  Immediately he signs "I love you Sissy".


Brit is his sister.  He calls her that.  He claims her on family trees.  He tells the world that he has the family that lives with us plus he has a baby sister who was adopted. (Generally adding that he is mad that mom did that because he wanted to keep her. :gulp:) 

But what he did scared me.  How would Brit's parents handle that?  Would it cause an even greater rift between us?

We claim Brit as one of our own at my house.  Her picture is up on the wall with the 3 boys.  A stranger walking into my home would assume I have 4 children living there.  She is no secret.

But Brit's parents don't know that.

Of course they don't.  They have never been over to our home.  They have never allowed Brit to meet the boys. (They specifically asked we not include them in that 2 hour birthday visit in March.  They thought it would overwhelm her.)

They have no idea how these boys feel about the sister they cannot see. 

But D just put it out there.

So what did I do?  I panicked. 

I looked at D and using my calm, level headed voice I said "I think we might not want to add the word sissy because it could hurt Brit's parent's feelings."

He looked at me.  I am pretty sure I could tell you what he was thinking.  And even if he wasn't, I was. 

He has watched me sob, he has seen me depressed.  And he knows it is because I miss having a relationship with Brit and her family.

But when it comes down to it, Brit's parents' feelings take precedence over ours.  Every time.  Trumped.

He looked at me, looked back down at the card and scratched out Sissy.  He turned it into a smiling ghost face.  Without a word to me.

I am not proud of what I made him do.

I wish it was different.

But I have to be careful.  I have to be sensitive.  I cannot do anything to jeopardize the relationship that I hope to have some day.

I do not like the person I have become, but I will do anything to preserve the hope that someday this will be different.  Self sacrificing included.


Anonymous said...

Oh man, I am so sorry for all of you. For your mother's heart, and for your boys who love their sister so much. I have had to have conversations like this with my own parented boys. There is never an easy answer, never an graceful solution.

Sending much love your way -


Debbie said...

I'm sure you did the right thing given the situation but my heart breaks for you and D. It's awful that Brit's parents can't include your boys and you in her life.

What a sweet care package to send her. The fact that you all take the time to send such a nice and thoughtful gift is wonderful. I hope Brit's parents eventually realize that you all just want to love her.

m&msmommy said...

What a thougthful gesture on all accounts!! Brit is going to love it.

My heart is broken for your boys. I can't even imagine their pain about all of this. I'm sad for you that you had to have him scratch it out. UGH!!!!!

As I had mentioned before I pray for you and your family every day, but tend to forget about Brit's parents. I said a specific prayer for them, just this morning, that they would find it in their hearts to open up. Gosh, I pray that with all my heart and soul!

Love and prayers coming your way! :)

Global Librarian said...

This makes me angry. Very angry. How incredibly selfish to deny siblings the right to know each other.

We have two adopted children who are half siblings. They have two older half siblings who live with their biological grandmother. There is now another baby who will be born in April. We declined to adopt this baby, mostly because it has now become obvious that the mother is getting pregnant on purpose as a survival mechanism (living expenses paid while pregnant) and we are as certain as we can be that the children will continue to come. We simply cannot adopt them all, even though we know that eventually we will have to answer our children's question about why we did not.

We have a relationship with the biological grandmother and the older siblings and are already developing a relationship with the adoptive mother to be. All the adults in this open adoption are committed to ensuring that the children know each other and can have a relationship with each other as siblings, even though they are living in different families. It is our hope that any future babies will also have adoptive parents willing to join us.

Adults choose adoption. Children do not. It is unbelievable unfair and just plain mean to not allow them to know each other.

This adoptive mother needs to stop thinking only about herself and start thinking about her child. Because eventually her child will not be a child any longer, but will be an adult with questions. And that is far more likely to destroy her relationship with her daughter than ongoing contact with biological family members ever could.

Global Librarian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amber said...

At the last visit with Aidan's birthfamily (well, part of it), he was finally old enough to crawl/walk around and play with his big brothers. I always wondered how that would feel from my perspective. Not that I ever hesitated about it, I was just curious.

The answer was, it felt fantastic. You couldn't even tell they weren't growing up in the same house. To see him interact with kids who look like him and share his face-consuming grin and oversized cheeks was incredible.

I don't tell you this story to make you hurt worse (and I hope that's not been the result) but to tell you that with all that I have, I am sending these vibes to Brit's parents. She deserves to know her brothers. I don't know who my heart breaks more for; her, the boys, you, or even her parents, who are making the biggest parenting mistake they could make and don't even realize it yet.

Hugs to you. <3

Jessica said...

I am sorry, but so thankful for your honesty. As an adoptive Mom, I need reminding from time to time that I could be (and should be) doing more to keep our adoption open. I'll admit, it's been hard because our daughter's birthfamily tends to be more standoffish and I take that to mean that they need space. Not sure if that's what it means, or not, but it's how it comes across. I truly hope that your relationship changes for the better. Maybe now that she has carried babies and given birth, it will give her a new perspective of you feel???

birthmothertalks said...

That is very sad. It's not fair that their feelings being that they are grown come before a child but I know that a relationship in the future is what your hoping for and trying not to do anything to make them shut the door on you guys.

ms. marginalia said...

He should be able to call her his sister. It's heartbreaking. I find it terribly sad when one side controls or censors the way the relationship is named. I firmly believe that it will end up backfiring down the road, and that the sacrifice in the hopes of a better future relationship is understandable, but also painful and unfair.

I have been asked to make a similar sacrifice by my natural family. My brother doesn't want my children to call him their "uncle" or to refer to his son as their "cousin" to avoid rocking the boat. I call my mother by her first name, which is fine, but she's also okay with me referring to her as my mother, which is the truth. My kids are confused, and I can't say that I like perpetuating the fictions, but I hear you on why compromises now might pay off in the future--although they are hurtful. Things can change. But I am also unwilling to live with my situation forever, as are my children.

I am hoping that time will help Brit's aparents see that she belongs to TWO families. That she has other loving siblings and that keeping her from her older brothers will lead to resentment on her part towards her APs, not toward you. Their insecurity and sense of ownership is so sad, and she is ending up bearing the burden, along with you and your sons. It SUCKS. I hope they can look deep into their hearts and share the love they have for Brit.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry that your son had to be the adult here because Brit's parents cannot be counted on to behave as adults should be expected to. It sounds like you are doing everything imaginable and unimaginable to make these people feel comfortable and unthreatened. I hope things get better but I've a feeling that even if this pattern of behavior continues as Brit grows up... you will see a sudden, radical enlightenment on their part before she turns 18. Suddenly no doubt they'll get religion and decide its in "her interest" to show you and your family some respect. She won't be fooled that easily though. Once she is grown Brit deserves to know her WHOLE story, including this part. No doubt she'll want to hear her brother's perspective as well. At that point, it will be up to the adopters to justify their behavior and (if you'll forgive my less than charitible thinking) I would not want to be in their shoes....
Clare (sorry anon... google trouble)