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Old 07-01-2014, 10:36 PM
43,012 posts, read 92,013,162 times
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Originally Posted by gouligann View Post
After one small altercation with her mother (very trivial), she wrote her mom a long letter accusing her of always being demanding, controlling, non-supportive, and all kinds of horrible things. My sister in law went to a specialist at adoptions counseller and was told by her that the wrong person had come to see her, that it was her daughter that needed to talk to a counsellor, not her.
You don't share that she said anything specific about being adopted. Honestly, if she said anything about being adopted, it could have been just tacked on for good measure.

What you describe could happen in a biological mother/daughter relationship. Even though the parents have always been very supportive, she could have always felt they were demanding, controlling, non-supportive. She might have a passive personality where she kept her feelings internalized until she found a comfortable relationship that allows her the security to speak up for how she feels.

You're looking at this relationship from your SIL's perspective instead of your niece's. My sister adores her daughter. She's very supportive. But she's also very demanding, controlling, and non-supportive of anything she disapproves. My niece is 32 years old and has pretty much allowed my sister to dominate her life. To someone looking at this from the mother's perspective, my sister appears to be very supportive and helpful. Looking at it from the daughter's perspective, many people wonder why my niece hasn't run like hell.

I love my sister. She has many great attributes. She is absolutely the person to go to when you have a problem. Unfortunately, she interjects herself when you don't want her to. When my niece exercised the most independence in her life, my sister blamed it on her boyfriend. Just like you are blaming it on your niece's husband. It really comes down to people having the courage to stand up for themselves when they have someone in their life they feel are supporting them the way they need to be supported instead of the way the parents think they need to be supported.

An adoption counselor telling your SIL she was the wrong person to be there is an indication your SIL may have been over involved in her daughter's life.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:10 AM
Location: Albuquerque NM
3,165 posts, read 4,816,895 times
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Just reading the first post here, and kind of shocked that the OP makes a connection between the daughter's behavior and her adoption. How are the two connected at all? And the mother went to an adoption counselor for help.

I think it goes to show that some people see adopted people as "adoptees" first, and "children" second. If something goes wrong, then blame the adoption.

Being adopted myself, I never had anger or abandonment issues at all. But I did develop problems with my adopted sister later on which had mostly to do with her substance abuse issues (which, of course, had nothing to do with being adopted--people who were not adopted have those too!). It got to the point that we do not speak to each other anymore.

Then after our parents had passed away, I was talking to my aunt on the phone and we got to talking about my sister, and my difficult relationship with her. After saying our good-byes, I could hear my aunt talking to someone after she thought she'd hung up the phone. I heard her say, "It's so sad, the two of them were adopted, and now that their mother is gone they aren't speaking to each other." I was floored (and hurt) that after 50 years she thought that being adopted was somehow relevant to the situation. She saw us as second-class children of our parents when we never felt that way ourselves.

So my advice to parents and relatives of the adoptee, is look past the adoption. The adoptee got over it long ago, and so should you. Parent-child problems happen in any kind of parent-child relationship, with or without adoption.
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:50 AM
Location: Southern California
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I'm an adoptee. I have no anger issues about being adopted. I was told at a very early age that I was adopted because my birthmother couldn't care for me and did what she thought was best for me. No blame attached, so there was no drama. It was a state adoption, so I had next to no information about my birthparents. My adoptive parents were told that she was an unwed mother who had a high school diploma and worked at a cashier in a grocery store. We knew that my birthfather (like my adoptive father) was a U.S. Marine. As I grew up and thought about their situation, I felt bad for them, as I realized that if I'd had a baby at that young age I didn't think I'd have been able to take care of it either. When I conducted my birth search and found them, I found the story to be very different and very much more complicated than what the adoption agency had told my adoptive parents. But I still understand how they could feel that they wouldn't be able to keep me, and so I had no hard feelings toward them at all. In fact, I got to meet them, grew to love them, and we still have good relationships. It's kind of weird, but I've always thought of them as "family", even when I was a child, and after I met them, they told me they'd felt the same way. It was coming full circle.

As far as therapy goes, I've been in therapy for over twelve years now, and though some of the things we talk about deal with being adopted, the vast majority of our discussions are about how my life has been in the 52 years since my adoption that have shaped who I am and from where my issues originate. I agree with you that your niece should seek therapy, but I don't think a therapist who specializes in adoption is necessary, since that's such a small part of her life. Maybe some family therapy with her parents participating would also help.

Sometimes what we see from outside a situation is very different from what is actually going on, so even a family that seems to be "perfect" or that "should be perfect", might be very different to the people living in that house. Even two siblings who are raised together may have very different personalities and experiences that affect how they view their lives.
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Old 02-20-2015, 11:13 AM
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I honestly can't tell you how annoyed I am to read the paragraph about how your brother and wife did everything for them! You wonder why the daughter has issues?? As an adoptee myself, I was told by my mother how grateful I should be for being fed, clothed, loved. I was even told "if it wasn't for me you'd be in the gutter!!" Excuse me, but as a parent myself, it is a privilege to do everything possible for my children. I give them everything, always have and always will. I don't want thanks or appreciation! That's my job. Unconditional love! I've spent years feeling grateful, guilty and not good enough and when people like you post such narrow-minded, ridiculous comments, it's little wonder your poor niece has issues. None of us ask to be born but some are lucky in life; some are not. Being adopted does not mean we should be grateful for something totally out of our control. Maybe your brother and wife should be grateful they got the chance to be parents and have someone to look after them in their dotage!! That's the only reason my mother had me in any event!! Furious with your post!
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Old 02-20-2015, 09:25 PM
Location: Southern California
394 posts, read 1,334,274 times
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Originally Posted by pippybread View Post
...I was even told "if it wasn't for me you'd be in the gutter!!" ...
Wow, until I read that, I'd forgotten how my mom (adoptive) used to tell me all the time how I'd end up in the gutter just like my mother (birth). Interesting what you forget when you grow up. As you can tell, my adoptive mother and I have issues, and after 53 years years, I don't expect those issues to magically disappear. When I was 5 or 6 years old, I remember being yelled at for something and running upstairs to my room to cry for my birth mom to come get me. I didn't find out until years later than she and my birth siblings lived only about 20 minutes away at that time. It was the only time we lived in the same state.
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:44 PM
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I can totally relate to that! It's not always the bed of roses it's made out to be is it? I look back to my adoption in 1969....my BM stipulated (ooh get her!) that she wanted me to go to a Mediterranean family who were catholic (she was Italian), so I was placed with my APs in the space of 2 weeks. No counselling, no mental checks, no time to do anything other than to fill the brief! Done! Sorted! No thought of what was actually in the best interests of this 10 week old baby!
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:56 PM
Location: East coast-New England
1,638 posts, read 1,777,427 times
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Originally Posted by nj185 View Post
My first reaction to the OP remains - is this necessarily about adoption? Tell the story with adoption cut out and it still resonates with tons of parents. It's quite possible that these are simply mother/daughter issues. Your niece has married and may feel a real need to loosen some ties to mom that she didn't do as a teenager. Her assertions don't sound especially adoption-centered. Viewing your parents as controlling is relatively common, especially where some of the great things you mentioned they were given can sometimes be perceived as coming with strings and expectations.

I said the same thing. Unless she has specifically mentioned having issues about adoption, why cant this just be normal family issues going on? I cant tell you how much family drama and dysfunction I see all the time going on with family who are all biologically related. As an adopted person, im almost feeling a bit offended that your mind would automatically go towards the fact that she is adopted. Almost like putting a sign and spotlight over her head saying 'LOOK!!! Adopted child issues'!!

Now, bear with me after that comment because remember I am also adopted and I have had to deal with people (friends or coworkers) bringing up that issue like i'm some circus freak or like im not really a part of my family (Who by the way have NEVER made me feel that way...and I was adopted 47 years ago).

So...I don't like seeing the adoption thing spotlighted unless....of course....there is CLEAR EVIDENCE to support that certain issues or behaviors are coming from that.
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