When dysfunctional APs affect the next generation
Today I received a phone call from my oldest who is away at college. She was very upset and in need of some extra support and empathy. The trigger? She received an e-card from my Amother... a Valentine wish, telling her how loved she is by her only known (and living) grandparents. How could this be an issue? Throughout my daughter's life, my Amother never showed a sincere interest in my daughter, or any of the other 3 children I have given birth to. The only time my Am would do something remotely "loving" or "grandmotherly" for my own children is if she knew she was being watched by other family members, neighbors or friends. In this particular case, my husband (in denial that some adoption issues do NOT go away, especially if the AP refuses to acknowledge there is a problem) made a call to my AMother, demanding she make an effort to keep in touch with ALL her grandchildren, not just the ones she has through her bio-son. At first she denied she had a bias, but social networks, like Facebook, make it very clear she's lying.
Since my Amother has always owned a bias against the adopted child in her life, any and all "loving gestures"/"efforts" would always come off as being as sincere and filled with the depth of emotion as one would have when completing an annoying task found on a list of "Things to Do/Prove". My Amother's attempts to get close to me and my children have always been superficial at best, making the possibility to bond and love her, with sincere heart-felt emotion, impossible.
So today, my oldest got the email reminder that she has a "loving" grandmother who has never shown a sincere interest in her life. In my daughter's mind, this disinterest can be seen and proven in all the photos that feature school, family, social events that "loving" grandma missed, but managed to attended and participated in when the same events involved her bio-grandchildren, of similar age.
Today my daughter got the reminder that her grandmother is still up to her old tricks - she, as usual, is showing an insincere interest in only one side of the family - and she's only showing an interest because someone must be watching what Super Mother/Grandmother is doing these days to keep in touch with ALL of her grandchildren. If there's one thing my AMother wants others to think it's this: she treats both her bio son and her adopted daughter equally, and this equal-treatment extends to all the grandchildren -- each is given the same amount of love, support and interest, which has never been true.
Today my daughter got the reminder that her grandmother is not loving, not when it comes to the children produced by the adopted child. Instead, the grandmother she has, through adoption, is more interested in how she is perceived by others, and how her actions can help preserve her precious reputation.
During the course of the very long and intense conversation with my daughter, we agreed, there needs to be a support group for those affected by the strange adoption issue that revolves around an adoptive parent's inability to bond with the adoptee. This issue is made worse when that AP - that parent - CAN showing a very strong loving side. The bias given towards biology is amazing, and yet there aren't many in or outside the adoption community who are willing to hear how this is a serious adoption issue. It's an issue that makes the adopted-side of the family appear very angry and spiteful, incapable of love. After all, it's very difficult having to explain to new friends, (who have loving families and loving extended family members), why a person may hate having contact with a mother/family member created through adoption. It's very difficult explaining WHY receiving any contact from an estranged adoptive family member is very upsetting and traumatizing, and triggering, especially when so many assume that person (that role) is in most cases, very loving and accepting. [When is an adoptive parent ever seen as being less than ideal? ]
Fortunately, my children have me, the outspoken angry adoptee, to talk to and hear their vent. I understand how such events (like a generic impersonal e-card from phantom grandma) can ruin an entire day, or more, because the insincerity of that gesture is written all over the ecard that asks nothing about the recipient's well-being. [My daughter has been away from home, doing a stellar (Dean's List) job at a very prestigious college, for 5 months now. Not once has her "loving/interested" grandmother asked her, via phone, email, or Facebook, "How are you adapting to college-life and being away from home?" Not once has my daughter received the same interest and attention her cousin, a year older, has received from the same grandmother.]
My children are lucky because they have me as I recognize the victim of a toxic relationship has a very strong need to be given the freedom to express the anger and grief that goes with the loss associated with a very dysfunctional/biased adoptive parent. But how many children of the angry abused/unfavored adoptee have this support-system as a way to deal with the grief that comes with a very unhappy adoption experience?
It's days and event like this that remind me: I have a husband who does not understand many of the hard-core adoption issues that come with being adopted by abusive/negligent (unfit) APs, and this makes me realize, what happened to me didn't happen to just me; the dysfunction found in my own Afamily, has touched and affected the next generation, too. I find allowing poor AP behavior to continue without speaking-up, is NOT OK.... and I wish more outside the abusive adoptive family relationship could see this simple truth: just because one was able to adopt, that doesn't mean that person is a good fit parent, or loving grandparent to the children of the adoptee.