Friday, April 18, 2008

Unsupportive Family

In a recent post many of you shared some amazing stories of the tough stuff about adopting . Carissa shared that the difficulty she is facing right now is having parents who are “unsupportive to the point of refusing contact.” That is tough stuff indeed.

Carissa asked for some advice, but I feel unqualified to give it. CrazyMom and I have been blessed with a supportive family and have not had to bear that cross. I have heard multiple stories of parents who were against their adult children adopting. It seems like they are concerned that the new child is not the same color, or the child will consume too much of the family resources, or the child is handicapped, or the child will have a negative impact on the other kids in the home. Fortunately, it seems that many of these parents who wish the adoption would not take place change their minds after it does and they have developed a relationship with the child.

That is about all I know. If you have walked this path, please feel free to leave a comment for Carissa.

7 comments:

Shawn Tremblay said...

This is for Carissa. I understand your pain. For much of my married life I have not had any kind of support from certain family members. No matter what I did, it was not right. I choose to shut them out myself because I know that I'm a good person and they were the ones full of ignorance for life. As long as you know you're good people and making a difference in the world in a postive way, then it does not matter what ANYONE else thinks. You just need to get to that certain place in your life where you're comfortable knowing that you need no one else's approval. Sometimes you make your friends your family, as I have done, and just know that that is ok. If they choose not to talk to you then that's very sad for everyone. Don't wait for them to come around. Go on with your life. It is what it is. Everything happens for a reason and it may just be part of your own personal process. Believe in yourself that you're making the right decision and be strong for your family at home. Everything else will fall into place.

Anonymous said...

no advice, but i know understand Carissa's pain. We are just beginning our adoption journey and have yet to break the news to family for fear of their comments/critism. We do love our family, though, and want to honor them and we pray for their support. But I welcome any advice myself on even how to talk to parents about adopting.
i've heard of a book about how to talk to others about adoption, but haven't read it yet...

Jason and Stacy said...

Carissa,

We are still in the paper chase phase. This was one of the major areas we were/and have been wrestling with God about when He called us to adopt from Ethiopia.

Our families are not the most racially tolerant people to say the least. However, when we told our families (after A LOT of praying), our parents were ok (not excited, just ok). Since then we continue to pray for them and we have been amazed at how God has very slightly and slowly changing some of their hearts. They still have a LONG way to go, and some of our families DO NOT like our decision to follow God's leading. The only works of encouragement I could give you is that God can change peoples hearts, give Him time.

Jason & Stacy Cole
Proverbs 3:5

Jim & Laurel said...

Carissa,

I truly hear and know your pain. Our rejection by family, though, happened long before we decided to adopt. Jim and I are the only Believers in either family, and we only have 1 supportive family member out of both families (my 89 yr. old father who lives 150 miles away).

Basically ... we are the "religious people with all the kids that teach their kids at home".

We have no support as Christians. We have no support in having a LARGE family (13 children ages 6-23). We have no support for homeschooling (which we have done for 17 years). We have no support of our adoption (just brought 3 children home from Ghana).

But ... we know that this is the life that the Lord has called us to and we know that He will bring us the support that we need (from friends, not family).

We have not seen any of my husband's family (parents plus 4 siblings) in over 8 years, and they only live 400 miles away. We haven't seen my mother or my siblings in 5 years (and one lives less than 100 miles from us).

We have invited them all to our house, they have chosen not to come and they do not invite us their way. We send each of them our annual Christmas letter and photos of the family ... we do not receive any from them. We send email updates, and occasionally get a random "forward", but few personal notes.

When the Lord brought us together, He gave us a vision for our family. We knew that we would be the start of a Godly heritage. We stand in awe of the things he has done for us and through us, as we have walked in obedience to His plan for our family.

Stay strong. Seek wisdom, strength, and support from the Lord. Seek support from others. Pray for your family, and make sure that you are not the one rejecting them.

Blessings in your adoption journey.

Laurel

Anonymous said...

My situation is quite different (raising my step-daughter), but I have definitely struggled with getting my parents' support. I've learned that they just want the best for the kids, but don't always recognize that we want the same thing! :-) I had a rough time recently and was encouraged by a counselor to start a conversation with my parents by letting them know how much I need their support. Saying something as simple as, "I'm really worried that I won't get your support right now, but I really need it" can put your parents in the right frame of mind. I'll certainly be praying for you and for your family, and I truly believe (as others have said) that God can change hearts!

Carissa said...

Wow. Thank you all. I'm sincerely glad that most of the adoptive families who visit this site have not had this struggle. And I've been reminded again that we _do_ have the wonderful support of my husband's parents, both our siblings, friends, and church family. God has given me such a peace today. We met with eight other Christian adoptive families tonight for fellowship and encouragement, and the Lord definitely spoke to us through many of their testimonies. HE has placed this call on our hearts - no doubt - and HE _will_ received the glory from it. The loss of my parent's support will be a hole that can't be filled, but our friends and other family members are already stepping forward to stand in the gap.
Thank you to each of you for sharing your stories, offering your prayers, and reminding me of God's sovereignty.

Sherry said...

I am so sorry this is happening to you Carissa. We have the same thing with both sets of our parents. They don't want to have anything to do with it at all and never ask anything about how it is going. My dad isn't even willing to talk to me at all anymore because of our adoption plans. We will keep you and your family in our prayers. (((hugs)))