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Lack of family support !

Mason August 13, 2019 22:39

Hello all,

Me and my wife adopted a gorgeous little boy 18 months ago. He had his first birthday a week after we got him. Between us we are a great team, I work full time ,she has our little boy all day and | take over when I finish work and she makes our evening meal. On a weekend my wife has a few cleaning jobs to bring in a few extra pennies and I take over with the childcare. By chance my sister-in-law lives 5 doors down from us. She is on her own with 3 kids. Eldest 12, then 10 then 4. We thought this would be a great little set up for our little boy, 3 cousins round the corner to play with, an auntie to love him, but things have turned sour, very sour ! My wife and her have had a tempestuous relationship over the years but a few months ago they had a bust up which I dont think will ever be resolved. Worse is ,shes turned her children against us so our little boy hasnt seen his cousins for months ! We have our house up for sale at the moment so we wont be seeing much of her family anyway soon but its hurt my wife that she has involved the kids. Now my family. I moved away from home 14 yrs ago so all my family live 40 miles away. None of them are regular visitors, I can count the number 0f visits through the years on one hand to be honest, both my parents have passed away so theres no grandparents on my side. Two of my nieces have small children who I hope will grow up with my son and be lifelong friends. My point is this, Im worried our little boy will grow up with thin family ties. I look back at my childhood and I had sisters, aunties, uncles, cousins it really seemed perfect, Im comparing my childhood to his ! We have no plans to adopt again so he will be an only child, this worries me enough without the other concerns I have. On the other hand I think " whats so good about family anyway ?". I have two sisters that have fell out, as Ive said my wife is in a similar situation, and my family cant jump on a bus and pay me a visit, so this is family is it ?? Our child does have siblings relating to his birth parents, so maybe in the future he will meet up with some of them ( 1 half brother and 2 half sisters). My wife still has her mam so he does have a Nana and we have a few good quality close friends.So, is a large family realy that important ? Any advice would be appreciated.

Edited 13/08/19
aquilegia August 14, 2019 08:57

Hi mason, welcome to the boards if this is your first post. 😀

I am sorry to hear that you have not had much support from family. It's really tough. I have an 8 yo son. He has additional needs as lots of adopted kids have. We talked to family, gave them info and books to read, put them on our mapping exercise of our support network all adopters do as part of preparation. Well unfortunately we have had very little support and a complete lack of understanding of my sons needs. Disappointing and upsetting. 😫

In my experience a lot of adopters find their support network completely changed after adopting for lots of reasons. You are not on your own with this experience. Great you've found these boards. Are there any local adopter groups near you or near to where you are moving? Adoption UK can give you into on local support groups. As for us we network with other adopters/ parents of kids with additional needs. We have fantastic neighbours. Positive adult role models don't have to be family. A large family is not important. Think quality not quantity, people who understand! Keep posting and let us know how you get on!

Take care x

Serrakunda27 August 14, 2019 09:14

I'm single, so 'half' the possible family to start off with. One brother in Australia, the other we don't see much of. The cousins, nieces and nephews are much older. My son is close to my parents and one uncle but they live in the North west, we are in the Midlands.

I do have very close friends who I also regard as family and who have taken my son to their hearts. Knowing my son, he will cultivate theses types of friendships for himself. I think he will have a relationship and a family of his own. He does have a brother to whom he is close.

I think quality not quantity is important. If your child has people in his life who love him, I don't think it matters if they are 'relatives' or 'friends'. Your ties will be what you make them.

My son is 15. He has friends who are only children with no cousins, friends from big families, and some in between. He has never given me any indication that he is envious of other family set ups.

Value what you have and don't worry about what you don't

Safia August 14, 2019 20:43

Build up friendships through contacts you make with the children if you don’t have any friends currently with children - toddler groups schools etc - if you make one or two close friends and keep up with them it’s as good as family and can provide the support you need as well as company. If you do see some members of your family from time to time too that’s an important connexion - it doesn’t need to be everybody or often - we used to go to my grandmothers in Scotland every Easter and saw all my relatives then - only for a two week period every year - but I feel really close to them - you don’t necessarily have to live nearby

John August 14, 2019 20:52

I completely agree with Serrakunda’s comment that in a family, quality is more important than quantity. We have adopted siblings and don’t have an extensive family. Actually we are the first in the family to have children, so our little ones don’t have any cousins yet. In addition, our families live abroad so we only get to see them a few times a year. I don’t think this is really an issue. The important thing is that your little boy grows in a house where he feels secure and surrounded by love. He will go on to make lots of connections and friends throughout his life (in playgrounds, through your own friends, at school), just like every kid. You and your wife will always be the most important people in his life. It is you two that will provide him with a solid foundation which will allow him to be as happy as he can be.

Edited 14/08/19
windfalls August 15, 2019 12:48

Hi Mason,

You can still have a close bond with family members despite the distance but it really depends on how much effort you are prepared to put in to it. I suspect from your post that you are not someone who is prepared to put a lot of effort into cultivating relationships, for example you say "my family can't jump on a bus and pay me a visit" - so why don't you jump on a bus and take your child with you and pay them a visit? I always find that people expect, were family are concerned, that they shouldn't have to put effort in to it - that they should be able to "take" from that relationship without any "giving" or very little "giving" on their part. You mention your sister in law and her three children and how you thought it would be great for your child to have three cousins around the corner to play with and an auntie to love - but what are you expecting from that relationship? Do you want to just be able to drop your child onto your sister in law, a case of " hi x , little johnny is here to play with his cousins, right see you in three hours?" - you say you thought this would be a great little set up for your son? How much effort have you and your wife put into this relationship over the years? Your sister in law you say has been on her own with three children and you both have had a tempestuous relationship with her over the years. Maybe this is because you haven't made as much effort with her as you could have? You live 5 doors from her - over the years did you ever have her children to stay/sleepover so that she could have a rest? ever taken her children out for day trips/holidays during the school holidays? do her children consider you to be their 'favourite uncle/auntie' who are always spoiling them, taking them the cinema, football, ice skating , pizza etc? I suspect that you have not done any or much of this over the years, and if you haven't because you didn't want to or couldn't be bothered/didn't have the time, then that is ok but you can't now expect her to be falling over herself to help you. I have three children - 2 bs's and 1 ad and my husband works away quite a lot and being on my own with three children is really really hard i can tell you. May be she feels that you are now trying to take advantage of her without helping her out over the years, and i am sure there will have been plenty of time when she would have loved your help.

You will find that as your son gets older that you will make friends with the parents of your son's best friends. But you have to realise that YOU will have to put time and effort into cultivating these relationships. So when your son wants to have a sleepover at his best friends house then you will have to have this child for a sleepover at your house. the same with play dates and trips out - it all means you having to make an effort. Further if, as you say, you don't intend to have any more children, then you will find that you will end up having your child's friends over to you a lot more than the other way round. That is just what happens with only children.

You need to start investing in these relationships for the sake of your son and stop the self pity and feelings of entitlement.

best wishes

Snowy August 16, 2019 09:42

Wow, congrats windfalls, that's rudest AUK post I've ever seen!

aquilegia August 16, 2019 09:57

..........If there was a like button snowy. 👍 These boards are supposed to be a supportive place even where there are differences of opinion. Mason, please do not be put off posting. A comment from AUK mods maybe would be helpful.

onlineteamAUK August 16, 2019 10:27

Hi everyone,

We would like to remind users of Rule 2 of the Forum Rules of Use: 2. The Adoption UK message boards are for adopters, prospective adopters and those interested in adoption to communicate advice, support and knowledge and to respectfully express their opinions in discussions – regardless of their level of adoption experience or time as message board users. All message board users must be respectful of other users’ opinions and experiences. Adoption UK does not tolerate any form of verbal abuse, online bullying or deliberate attempts to initiate tension/arguments on the Adoption UK message boards. Any user found to break this rule will receive a formal warning and/or, in extreme or persistent cases of this rule break, may be suspended/banned from the Adoption UK message boards.

Full Rules of use will can be found here

We will be monitoring this thread and hope that it remains supportive.

Mason we have sent you a private message of support via Chat.

Bluemetro August 16, 2019 14:11

Hi Mason

Just wanted to share our situation to hopefully encourage. Family have not found it easy to understand our DS and the best relationship he had was with a grandfather whom he saw once or twice a year due to his distance away but enjoyed talking to him on the phone about shared interests. Unfortunately he died this year. Regarding support and friendships DS often has friends who also have extra needs and we have found most understanding from friends who understand needs or parents of children with extra needs. Friendships when DS was pre-school was via going to toddler groups and keeping in touch with some of them to meet up with at other times. At times we have needed support it has been from friends rather than family.

peartree August 17, 2019 02:41

Hi Mason I’m sorry things are tough at this time . Families ARE complicated aren’t they? We have an estranged aunt, serious health issues and a set of pretty dysfunctional patches on my side of the family and that’s before I look at mrPT. He like you has few living relatives and although his family are local it’s a big deal seeing them.

Two things. Firstly. My parents were incredibly negative about adoption. But they have turned out to be our strongest support. Things relationship wise haven’t been easy with them at times but they’ve stuck with us and us them.

About 2 years ago I had a BIG fall out with my sister. It was really really bad and I feel my anger rising even now. I don’t think things will ever be the same. Sadly. I wish it wasn’t so. My sister and I were pretty close but that’s no more. We are civil and for our kids sake I will be generous to her and pretend all is ok. But all is not ok. The whole business is rotten

I can empathise with your wife as it really does hurt.

I agree with Sarakunda. Invest in a few gooduns. For a time I was a single parent and my dad was the only guy in the mix for my older 2. He’s a good man and my adopted son particularly clicked with him. They have a very firm relationship even now with my lad aged 24.

Good friends are hard to come by I realise but definitely worth trying for, so once you’ve moved and settled and you’ve booked an evening babysitter so you can chat- try and diary a time so you can do something you want to do. Meet like minded people. Get totally blessed up!

All the best to you all.

Scott C-R August 19, 2019 12:30

Hi Mason

I hope that you are ok. If you need anything, I have opened up a DM with you so you can contact myself or the Online team.

Best wishes

Scott

Mason August 19, 2019 22:33

Hello, had problems logging back on. Thanks for all the advice on here, Ive taken a lot of it on board and will help me with my family issues. There was however one post that realy did get the wrong end of the stick completely, maybe I didnt make things clear enough. Where my family are concerned, I am the one who makes all the effort ! I organise every get together we have, bring the christmas presents to them every year and have brought my child to see them umpteen times ! As for my sister in law, the reason my wife is so hurt by her actions is because she has been her rock for the past ten years ! Helping with the children, emotional help, financial help !! Hope this clears that up .

aquilegia August 20, 2019 10:59

No need to justify yourself mason! Can relate as have been in a similar situation myself. 😊

Scott C-R August 20, 2019 14:09

Pleased you were able to log back in Mason. Your device, hopefully, can store all the info to log back in, and if you click/point to the password section it should automatically remember your log in and password, you just need to type in your pin then (for now).

I have sent you a DM should you need anything from Adoption UK.

Best wishes

Scott

BeckyAUK August 21, 2019 09:27

Hi Mason, I adopted as a single parent and all my family live abroad. I'm married now, but none of my husband's family live close by, so I have also worried about the networks around my kids as they grow up and the lack of those regular family visits (both ways). We visit my family abroad twice a year and skype them almost weekly and the kids really do seem to have a great relationship with them, so I'd suggest looking into other ways of keeping in touch if visiting in person is tricky - it's so easy now with skype and facetime and all those things. Obviously that won't help where there's been a relationship breakdown. Like some others here, we've also benefitted from having a few really close friends with children a similar age to mine who we can see regularly, have playdates and sleepovers with, and sometimes go out on daytrips with. I must admit, one of my motivations for adopting again was so that my oldest wouldn't be an only child - I think I worry more about him when he is older to be honest, after I'm gone, but I'm probably being pessimistic, and if adopting again isn't right for your family, then providing a sibling for your child wouldn't be the reason to change your mind! I do think you can build strong ties and friendships outside of family, and as your child grows, he will develop his own networks of friends and relationships and not be so reliant on the people you are able to bring around him.

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