Did You Get The Book?
As mentioned just the other day, we gave an adoption book to a bunch of our family with the hope that they would want to learn more about how we are growing our family. Some did not acknowledge receiving it which sent my mind reeling.
Many of you encouraged me to take a step back before I overreacted and let my fears get the best of me.
We have since addressed their lack of acknowledgement with them. So, today I have an update on what we did and how it went. We asked the question did you get the book? We left our emotional baggage out of the conversation and asked in a nonchalant and casual manner.
The paraphrased conversation went something like this:
Us: Did you get the book we sent you?
Them: Yup, just reading it now. And X is asking to read it as soon as I’m done. X really wants to know more too.
Us: Great. It’s nice to know you got it. Maybe next time you could let us know that you receive something so we aren’t left wondering.
Them: I just wanted to read it before I called. Did you send it to anyone else, or just us?
Us: Since some people were asking for more information, we found this book and thought we’d just send it to everyone. We actually sent it to everyone on both sides of our immediate families. Feel free to share it with anyone you think may want to read it.
Them: I know most things the book is saying, but it’s also been helpful in making me think about things I had never thought about like the extended birth-family `. And, it’s also made it clear that I can ask you questions whenever I want to. I’m often not sure how to bring up adoption stuff.
Us: I’m glad you are enjoying it and finding it helpful! As we said when we told you we are adopting, you can absolutely ask questions whenever you want. We don’t have a lot to update since we are just waiting to be matched, but we are happy to answer questions whenever you want to talk. We want you to be part of this, just like you would any other growing family.
I think it’s safe to say we had blown this way out of proportion and were clearly over-reacting.
In addition we learned a few more things:
- They have not felt comfortable asking us stuff about the adoption. We told them originally to ask anything and we’ll do our best to answer them, but clearly this wasn’t enough. I’m not really sure how to fix this, but it could be as simple as we need to start the conversation more often so that they feel safe asking questions.
- They were worried that we sent it just to them, just like some of you suggested. I think there was some relief when we said we sent it to both sets of parents and siblings. I think they appreciated knowing that we did not single them out as idiots. We overlooked this entirely when we sent the book and in hindsight probably should have given more of an explanation when we sent it. Ops!
- When they received the book they forgot to use their basic manners and say thank you. That annoys me, but not in a catastrophic and relationship ending kind of way.
Because we took your advice and simply asked the question we learned that we have a bit of work to do here. Thankfully, we figured this out before our resentment boiled over. And, because we asked the question casually, we didn’t blow up the relationship. This relationship may never be ideal, but the work is manageable and can be done. What we learned is that we need to show them that we want them to be part of our adoption journey – we need to give them opportunities to talk about it rather than waiting for them to bring it up. While we thought we were doing this, we need to do it more. We will try our very best to be better now that we know.
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