Do I have to choose between my son, or, my dad & stepmom?
August 6, 2012 4:27 PM Subscribe
My father and stepmother have rejected my son, after I placed him in an Open Adoption following his birth earlier this year. How do I deal with important family events where both parties would be welcome and invited? Snowflake details within.
posted by erasorhed to Human Relations (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Last year, I found out that I was unexpectedly pregnant (thanks a lot, condoms + Mirena). When I discovered that the pregnancy was viable, I considered my options. My father and stepmother both said that they would support me in whatever decision I made for the baby.
I discussed options with the baby's father, and we both agreed that an Open Adoption would be the best choice for us and the baby.
I started talking to an Open Adoption counselor, and at about that time, my dad/stepmom seemed to backpedal on their supportive words. My dad would tell me things like "I don't want my family/my neighbors to know that you're pregnant" and "I don't want to hear about the baby," (which I didn't see as being supportive to me, at all, but, I could understand his likely feelings of loss and grief about the situation, along with his lack of being able to express it to me in a way that is still "supportive" to me).
The rest of my family has been completely, 100% supportive of me & my decision, and we all enjoy visiting with the baby and his family quite often.
I already have another child from a previous marriage (she's 6). During this summer, I threw a party for her, and she wanted to invite her brother. I discovered (through my fiancee, after-the-fact) that my dad and stepmom opted-out of attending the party, not because they didn't want to go to my daughter's party, but because they didn't want to see my son and his family there.
My dad and stepmom say that they want their involvement in my son's life to be "his choice". My stepmom herself was adopted (in a closed adoption) but was reunited with them in adulthood, and has a wonderful relationship with her birth family; She was also rejected by someone in her family, on the basis of her being adopted. She knows how much it hurts to be rejected like this, ironically enough.
They have both rebuffed my suggestions that they speak to my adoption counselor about the issues surrounding my adopted son.
I feel like I'm torn between two parties when it comes to important family events.
I am thoroughly convinced that I will never be able to change their minds on the issue of welcoming my son as their biological grandson, but I think it is really unfair to me and my family to have to choose between inviting my dad/stepmom or my son and his parents when it comes to important family events.
I'm beginning to think it might be more proactive to simply ask them "Which life events do you want to be excluded from, so you can avoid seeing/meeting my son and his parents?" That's a brash way of putting it, but feels like it might be necessary to avoid the heartache of inviting them and being asked "is he going to be there?"
Some examples of the "important family events" that I'm talking about:
- My wedding (If my dad doesn't show, it looks like I walk down the aisle on my own)
- Getting hospitalized for some major reason
- My (someday) funeral
- Holiday gatherings
- Parties (Birthdays, etc)
I don't think it would be very polite to exclude my dad/stepmom from being invited, and I don't want to exclude them, but I don't want to keep asking them to join me if their answer is always going to be "no."
I also think it would be unfair and unacceptable to exclude my son and his family from these events just so that my dad and stepmom can avoid seeing them/meeting them. I am not going to reject/exclude my son and his family for some "blood is thicker than water" reason, because my son is my blood, too, even though I am no longer his legal parent.
I respect my dad and stepmom's decision to not be involved in my son's life whatsoever, even though their choice really hurts me (they know this).
What is the best way that I could approach this situation? Should I exclude them from events like my wedding, without discussing it with them? Should I ask them which events they'd prefer not to be invited to, until the day comes that my son asks about meeting them?