Adoption 22: WHEN YOUR PARENTS SCREW-UP
My Dad's love for my kids, and their love in return, makes me very happy.
Our parents didn't provide for us in some crucial ways....emotionally and in terms of physical security. (Much more to this another time.) Focusing on work and other interests, made ignoring my own weaknesses as a Father and Husband easy for a time.
They became hard to ignore when my kids started reflecting them right back at me!
My theory is that parents can make up for their screwups when their kids (like me) become adults and have kids in three ways. (My Dad in the photo above has done a great job of this.)
1. Parents should always be willing to apologize whenever their children want....and admit their shortcomings.
2. Parents should be willing to talk in detail about their own struggles so their adult children can identify similar patterns in their own lives, understand the causes, and do things differently.
3. Parents should act differently - better - with their grandchildren. Few things make me happier than watching my Dad love my own kids who I love more than anything in the world. It is even more important for parents who emotionally abused or neglected their own children to unconditionally love and be emotionally available for their grandkids. This is very healing for their own children.
On Dr. Phil a few years back he was talking to a woman and her mother who had done a terrible job of parenting. The mother's only response was, "It's in the past, I can't doing anything about it." Bullshit. It was very much in the present. Her daughter, sitting beside her was in tears, and all the mother had to do was turn to her and say, "I'm sorry. I love you." and give her a hug....but she couldn't even do that. Her kid will yearn for that for the rest of her life. No matter what Dr. Phil says, few people can "move on" from wanting unconditional love from their parents. Understanding that they are "crazy", "sick" (like alcoholics), or "did/do the best they could/can" doesn't change that.
I wonder if Emma, when she's older, will always have an ache for her BirthMom's love.