Wednesday, July 27, 2005

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.

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10 Comments:

At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you make some great points and it's in your power for Emma to have a relationship with her natural mother so she doesn't have to deal with reunion issues when she is older. If she and her mother have contact throughout her childhood and in a positive way where everybody feels loved that would be better for her than very sparse contact where they both are like strangers to each other. I don't really agree with adoption but since this one has already happened and you seem like a really open and loving person then I heartily encourage you to keep the relationship between Emma/Ashley and her natural family ongoing.

 
At 1:27 PM, Blogger Sam said...

I believe very strongly in Open Adoption.

In this case however, the Birthmom has disappeared onto the street, and my guess is I'll have to track her down in jail someday.

Emma's biological aunts and uncles have their own criminal records, CPS referrals, and have also moved showing no interest in maintaining contact.

The one aunt in high school in an earlier photo who was pretty cool moved, and the Grandma who took care of the Birthmom and thus the baby, has died of cancer.

We've also been cautioned against introducing Emma later to her Birthmom if she is doing drugs, in jail, etc...as it can really upset her stability. Not sure if I totally agree, so we'll have to wait and see.

I agree with you overall, but, it's sadly not exactly in my power to maintain the relationship.

thanks for the comments,

sam

 
At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think as long as you are open to it, you let her know she has/had another mother and support her if/when she wants to search and have a relationship, that is what is important.

 
At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or the mother will do a 12 step program and get clean and with support get her life on track? I don't want to assume she will end up in jail. It's good that you want to support contact if it is mutually beneficial.

 
At 1:22 PM, Blogger Sam said...

That's what we'll do. 12 step program is very unlikely statistically, but we can hope and pray.

 
At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People live up to expectations. If those around her expect/want her to fail, she probably will. It might also take her some time. We can pray for Emma Ashley and her natural mother that they both end up with full happy lives.

 
At 5:06 PM, Blogger Sam said...

spend some time at AA meetings. people do live up to expectations but no one gets help unless they want it and ask for it and try.

 
At 9:37 PM, Anonymous Leanne said...

mmm, re the comments... I have had lots of very positive expectations of people who have had problems in the past, encouraging them in the future and being very supportive of their potential and if they don't have the expectations of themselves, they will do everything they can to "prove" you wrong... and then saying "I told you you were wrong to trust me/ encourage my talents" etc. I agree with Sam that unless people WANT to change and are willing to see themselves more positively they will be very closed to positive expectations. Well, that isn't what I came here to say at all. I am here via cubbiegirl's blog. I am interested in fosteradopt so am avidly reading blogs of people who have done so with different ages, races, abilities of children. What a wonderful family you have. And I was very touched by this bit about your father. I have a difficult relationship with my dad, who wasn't a very good parent often. I do feel that he did much better with my younger stepsister, and will hope that he can be a welcoming loving grandfather. Interestingly his mother (my grandma) was so wonderful to me as a child... totally unconditional love through adulthood. But when she died, my aunts and uncles said "she certainly wasn't like that as a mother". I was very surprised to hear that, since she was my model for excellence in grandparenting. I guess I need to give my dad a chance at grandfathering (he is not meeting the 3 points you list as a father). I do fear my mother will react badly to me giving him access to my children though. Families are so hard. Thankyou for writing your blog!

 
At 8:45 PM, Blogger Sam said...

Good luck with your Dad. That sucks. I'm not close to my mom anymore.

I don't let people into my life if they cause, create, or require too much negative energy - hmmm like this blog sometimes.

It'll effect my kids and I won't allow it. If on the otherhand, they are good with my kids and that outweighs the bad in my life, then i'm a bit more lenient.

Thanks for sharing your story.

 
At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just came across your blog about communication problems in relationships and wanted to drop you a note telling you how much I enjoy reading the stuff you are posting here. I also have a web site about communication problems in relationships so I know what I'm talking about when I say your site is top-notch! Keep up the great work, you are providing a great resource on the world wide web!

greets,

Frank

 

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