Monday, May 11, 2009

Heavy heart and very sad.

I don’t want to complain.

I want to be grateful.

My mom and aunt and friend are throwing me a shower, and I am grateful, but my heart is also heavy and it’s distracting me from work. Not sure whether I should post this but after sitting on these feelings for two days and still being upset I have decided to be honest and let this blog be more than surface.

You see, no one else in my family is coming to my shower. My female cousins are like my sisters. I don’t have any siblings and I grew up very close to my all my cousins. This is upsetting to me because I want to share my excitement about Charlie’s arrival with them.

And it's not just them not coming. NO ONE else is coming. From my entire family of 20 people. I have always been supportive, enthusiastic, and attended all the bridal showers, weddings, bachelorette parties, baby showers, christenings, anniversary parties, surprise birthday parties, and big life events that have happened in a large extended family. Many of these events involved me taking several plane trips (sometimes to different countries, always to a different state) , taking vacation days from work and paying exorbitant amounts to kennel 3 dogs.

I have NEVER, ever, "not shown up" when invited to be a part of.

And I was happy to celebrate these occasions, I really was. I was hoping the same support would be shown to me too, the same joy shared. I often thought, when I was celebrating with family one of their life moments, that these types of events would never happen for me. I'm close to 40, not dating anyone... it didn't look good frankly. But I smiled and helped them celebrate their good fortune. Tried not to be envious, tried not to feel self pity, tried to be happy for them. And somehow, through the miracle of adoption, one of these life events finally is happening for me!

Only I'll have a baby shower with most of my loved ones absent. This is important to me. I need support. I don't have a husband to rely on and I need my extended family.

Oh they all have excuses. Previous engagements. Tight financial situations. Child care difficulties.
The lawn needs mowing.

Seriously, that was cited as one of a litanity of reasons. It's not like this shower is tomorrow. It's in over a month from now. Can't some of these chores and situations be figured out given a month?

So, I’m very hurt. I was so excited for them when their lives were changing in these huge ways. Now I feel "less than" and unimportant to them. Their lives have gone ahead and gotten "busy", too busy to mark this occasion of Charlie's impending arrival. When I get an rejection email with a list of chores and errands that need to be run instead of attending Charlie's shower, I guess I can tell where we fit on that person's priority list.

This is probably going to be my only child!

There probably WON'T be a wedding for me, or a bridal shower or bachelorette party or another opportunity to say "Hey, this is wonderful and huge! Let us be with you to celebrate!" this is kind of IT.

I am VERY grateful to my mom, dad and my aunt. Well thank goodness for them or I would really be all alone in this world. My aunt and parents also offered to pay for people's flights to neutralize the financial excuses... how generous, thank you, but no takers. And I don't really get it because we were raised that family was more important than anything, that is the legacy my grandparents left us. It seems from my point of view to be a weakened link today. Those day dreams of perhaps one day moving back to NJ so Charlie could grow up in the bosom of her family... those day dreams might just be dreams I'm thinking.

Tell me readers, am I being “too sensitive” or would you feel the same way?

33 comments:

Robbin said...

Nope you are not being sensitive...I think people think that adoption is optional and everything we do surrounding it is optional...

Sorry!

ShannonC said...

OOOOUUUUCCCH.
Your feelings are warrented and legitimate. Truely. It is ridiculous and a sad commentary on the absentees life.

I spose it's possible, they think that your non traditional track to family - gives them an out. From one single girl to another... aaargg

I saw a re run of Sex in the City recently and although not a huge fan. This episode struck home. Something happend at a baby shower for a friend she used to party with and her Jimmi Choose (??) went missing and the host refused to pay to replace them, using the arguement that that was a ridiculous price for shoes. The host had far more important things to spend money on now that she had a family.

Carrie thought about it and realized, all the time, money, travel expense she'd put into friends weddings, wedding showers, bridesmaids gowns, personal showers, baby showers.. etc. "WHERE DO PEOPLE GET OFF?" So she sent out an announcement that she was getting married and she registered for those one pair of shoes.

It does post the question internally, to remember who you are spending time with in your daily life of priority though...

Calmil2 said...

Oh, I am so mad and so sorry!!! Unbelieveable. I just lost a good friend this week and I can't even tell you how many regrets I have that I am working through. Family and friends need to be there for each other in tough times AND times of joy. I think they will regret this and I think they should be ashamed. Sorry to be so blunt, but life is all about people...especially the people you love and you just don't know if you will ever get another chance to show someone you care. I wish I could be there to come to your shower and celebrate your beautiful little Charlie. You guys make it a wonderful day!!! Harmony
p.s. Can I have 20 points for that being so long, ha, just kidding.

Peta-maree said...

I totally feel your pain with this. I am in the same situation except that I can adopted in Australia as a single person. I am an only child and my cousins are my sisters and brothers and I have attended all but 1 family event in the last 37 years. I even flew home from Canada for a wedding. But when I moved to Canada not one of them could come to my going away party actually only my best friend and her husband where going to attend as every one else was busy.

I mentioned this to one of my cousins at New Years after a few drinks and she was so upset that I was hurt and just thought that I knew how much I was loved. I said it is not knowing it is showing a person. Someone who has been the "single" person at soooo many events etc but as always dropped everything for them.

You might want to say something to at least one of them so that they know how you feel. She has changed her ways now that I mentioned it.

Amy said...

Shame on them. Seriously. Your child and you should be celebrated.

missy said...

i can totally understand why you would be hurt and disappointed. how sad for them to miss out an an opportunity to show love to you and celebrate with you. thanks for letting us know what you are having to deal with emotionally. i am wishing that i could come to your shower! despite their absence, i know it will be a magical day for you.

Charmaine said...

This happened with some (not all! I feel for you girl!) of my family. Watch, next they will offer to send gifts in place of themselves. Well heck! I didn't want gifts! that's like some lame way to get rid of their guilt for letting you down. "Guilt gifts". No thanks!

Mark my words: Actions speak louder than words. You stick with the people who DO stuff to show you they love you and you'll be fine.

I really think this has to do with it being an adoption. This is the suttle way we are discriminated against. If you'd had a big belly, I bet some of them at least would have shown up.

Chrissy said...

That is so sad!! It really stinks to be disappointed by those that your cherish!!!

Angela said...

I am so sorry to here about your delimma with family. They can be extremely dissappointing at times. Maybe they're caught up with their legacy right now. Once they get over themselves, they'll probably come to their senses.

If I was closer, I'd defintely attend your shower. Sometimes married people or people with small children forget what it's like to be single and take for granted the plans it takes for someone else to be there for them.
People have a tendency to be self-centered.

I think you should let a couple of them know how you feel. You need an explanation and closure.

Queen Diva said...

Michelle,

I’m so sorry to hear that your family will not be attending your baby shower.

Adoptive parents are sometimes forgotten in the grand scheme of baby showers because people often have images of a bursting pregnant women who is getting ready for her big day, the delivery of her baby. You are getting ready for your big day too but unfortunately people just don’t seem to see it that way and that’s really not fair.

If I lived close by I would come to your shower. Just know that your blog friends are here to give you support and although we cannot attend the shower we are with you in spirit.

Hope you have a great baby shower!

Andrea

AmeliaLongbottom said...

You know, this really seems to be about not realizing that adoption is JUST AS IMPORTANT to mother and child as a genetic birth. Other commenters have mentioned, and I whole heartedly agree, that if you had been pregnant they would be taking this more seriously.
And it's not like you haven't been educating them (if they read your blog at least) becasue I've learned a lot from reading your blog about adoption and family and relationships.
I'm so sorry to hear this is happening to you. I don't know you, but I've been reading for a long time and I quite like your personality from what comes through. You seem fun and funny and intelligent and very empathetic. I remember when you posted about going on many planes to be a Godmom. Surely they have not forgotten that so soon, that wasn't even that long ago. I would think your family would WANT to be there for you, and would move their schedules around and make it happen. I would, from what I know of you. Too bad you can't have a blog shower, it seems like your readers would love to come!

Michelle J said...

This breaks my heart and makes me cry...seriously. I know we aren't blood, but to me you ARE my family. I've always felt that as we age, we choose our family. I've never believed in blood family, but more in family of choice. Anyway, I've already felt horribly about not having the extra money to participate in shopping for Charlie. I SOOO want to indulge her, you have no idea! Reading this, once again I feel frustrated and angry at our joblessness. I wish K and I could be there to support you and I so hope you know we're not just giving you an excuse or dropping you on our priority list. I seriously have no idea when we'll have a steady income that will cover our bills. Right now we are only just getting everything paid. Fantasies of just hoping a plane and saying, screw it! poofed when I saw the depletion in the checking account. We both love you tremendously and will love Charlie just as much.

J-momma said...

yeah, that def sucks! i had a similar sentiment when we had a big party for mateo's adoption/birthday last year. i thought it was a big event. i mean, you only get adopted once. and it was a lot of work to get to that point. but when i invited one group of friends from church (who didn't have to fly or pay any money) i got a lot of half committments or stupid excuses. what really hurt was when another mom from that same group sent out an evite for her son's b-day party and all the responses were "wouldn't miss it for the world!" what? again, you have birthdays every year, you only get adopted once.

anyway, that group is not really even my group anymore. you learn a lot about people in these situations.

just forget them, if you can, and have a blast!

p.s. maybe they'll read this post and feel bad. guilt is the best weapon.

Canlan said...

I'm almost 50, never married, no kids. So I have a glimpse into your world of always attending other people's celebrations, always going out of my way to show up for family things.

I can tell this really hurts you.

I have no idea if it is the fact that you are adopting that is keeping your family away, or if it is the fact that you are the last one to have a child and they are so caught up in their own family lives that they can't see how important this is to you. If all their kids are older, they may have mentally moved on from the shower stage in their lives and forgotten how much those small celebrations mean to the guest of honor.

My SIL is the youngest, by 13 years, of a large family. She has nieces and nephews that are only a few years older than her. I also come from a large family. DB and DSIL live about 400 miles from most of my family, much further from some of them. Her family all lives pretty much in the same town where they grew up.

I'm the only one in my family who went out for all three of their kid's christenings. (I could attend them because I'm single and didn't have other commitments.) Twice, one of the godparents couldn't make it out. For the youngest, only SIL's sister was going to attend, but it turned out to be a rainy day, so her brother and a cousin showed up. Whatever plans they had were washed out by the rain, so they decided to come. I remember the night before just how sad my SIL was, that pretty much no one in her family was coming.

It stunk for her and it stinks for you.
And for me, the adoption would make no difference.

I have a feeling your extended family does not realize what this shower means to you.

MzMizerly said...

My heart is breaking for you Michelle. How sad... It's times like these where I wish I was independently wealthy, so I could drop everything and attend. (I'd be there for you). When addressing all those who you thought you could count on to make the get-together, hold nothing back. They should all be ashamed of themselves. A great big warm smooshy hug your way! Well wishes your way.

Truenorth said...

Holy cow. I'm so sorry to read your post. You know, our extended families haven't met our daughter and have no plans to. It hurts very badly when people are insensitive. The only consolation I give myself is that these are just lessons and examples to really reinforce the kind of child I hope to raise- that when she grows up and lives life she will not treat people like that. My father in law said he doesn't want to meet her because "babies are boring." This is his first grand child! UGH.

I don't think it's paranoid to link this with the fact that you are adopting either, but whether anyone would ever come out and admit that is another story.

Oh my. I hope you feel better soon and can find some peace. Big hugs! - Truenorth

Amelys said...

I know you're hurting right now, but as a lot of people here can tell you, you're not alone. This sort of familial ambivilance is a really common experience for adoptive parents before their children come home. No one in my family came to my baby shower. Even worse, no one in my family wanted to visit us when we got home. We finally took it upon ourselves (after six months home with no visitors) to get on a plane and go visit my mom so that she could meet her grandson.

That one trip was all it took. After my mom met Asher, she couldn't stop talking about him. She calls all the time now asking about him, and she flew up here a few weeks ago for a visit. This confirms what I've heard from many other adoptive parents--that the child just doesn't seem "real" to your family until they've met him or her. We still have two other sets of grandparents that have yet to meet Asher, but we feel confident that they will fall in love with him once they actually meet him. If that means we have to take the initiative and bring Asher to them, then so be it.

So, the moral of my post is that you have every right to feel hurt, but take heart in the experiences of others. Your family will probably come around once Charlie is home. I know that seems like a long way away, and you need support now, but you may just have to rely on friends until your family can get on board.

Ddangelo said...

Oh my heart is breaking for you.You should have this we are up in NY so NC is to far to travel or I would have come but hey its not to far to send you something.Im sure some of us cyber friends would love to show you how important what you are doing is.So hey do you mind posting your address??
Ddangelo

MLADOPTS said...

That sucks. And I don't think you are paranoid to think it has something to do with adoption and (I think) being single. I think that single adults, and then non-biological parents, are sometimes not recognized as "real grownups," or "real parents," by family because the major milestones in our lives don't fit the mold of "engagement-wedding-first home-baby." It seems to me that For many, MANY families, the adoption doesn't seem real until they meet the child. None of my brothers responded when I got a referral... or passed court... and I was hurt, but one of them said something to Mom like, "well, it's not like she has a kid yet." And I saw that to them, there's just no difference between being in the "home study phase" and "about to travel" -- all these incremental steps, and huge steps, that we take together on this board can be meaningless to our family. But an actual child, not just a picture, once home -- in your arms, in your house -- FINALLY gets through to a lot of people. I got mother's day cards from all of them (a rarity for us) because now that they've been getting pix of her in my house, they GET IT. So just realize that it may not be about you or their love for you, but about their inability to conceptualize... non-conception.

THAT SAID... those are some lame excuses!!!Well, look for the support where it is found -- and you'll probably find some sources different from those you relied on growing up, and that will sustain you through this.

Kiki said...

I'm the jerk with the lawnmower issue and I just want to say that it has nothing to do with Charlie being adopted. It has to do with lack of money in a tight economy, and yes I did mention that I have to buy a lawnmower which I probably shouldn't have listed in my list of excuses but I was just rambling. Also want to mention, since Mika didn't, that the whole family that lives up North is getting together in August and offered to have a family baby shower then, so it's not like we don't want to have a shower or support her. It's just difficult to get to this one which requires a plane trip and taking an unpaid day off from work. Her family definitely loves her and I think if she were to look back at all the times we've supported her she won't think it's all her doing the supporting of others.

Stacy (single mom to Ethiopian child) said...

how heartbreaking. i hope you do send this to them. This makes me so mad and sad for you.

Michelle J. said...

I don't believe this is about your family not taking adoption seriously. I think this is about humanity in general not knowing how to treat one another and lacking the ability to give of themselves selflessly. I'm sorry, but if you have money in the bank and your bills are paid, there's no reason not to attend your shower...particularly when I KNOW you have traveled many, many miles to participate in their functions. It's bullshit that none of them are reciprocating. Is there any chance they are planning on surprising you?

Single PAP said...

things are just not the same for us adopting, especially singles, in so many ways and i get mad just thinking about it. this is another example..it's like other commenters said -it doesn't seem real or something so people don't react the same way.

it frustrates me to think about all the thousands of dollars i have spent and all the support i have given to friends and family over the years and how little support and excitement i am getting now.

that said, i think i, too, tend to celebrate more the actual event than the pre-event if i have to choose. so, the wedding not the bridal shower. the birth, not the baby shower. i think it's nicer to meet the spouse or baby if i can't do both. so, you post really has me thinking that i may do my shower after my child comes home. it can be a big event --almost wedding-big-- and with the opportunity to meet the baby i bet more people would come.

perhaps you could have your shower in the fall? that way family would get to meet charlie. i bet folks would be more excited. they should be supportive now, of course, but it's a thought.

(((hugs)))

laura

Wife to the Rockstar said...

Oh you poor dear. I wrote a post about this EXACT subject on my Adoption Connect blog. In fact... you are SO not alone... MANY MANY adoptive parents (including myself) were shocked at people's blatant lack of excitement over our children coming home.

I am so sorry. If I knew you, I would come to your shower. REALLY. Because the arrival of this child means an orphan is getting a home. And that is something we ALL should be celebrating!

Gretchen said...

I am SO sorry. Charlie should be celebrated. To me its not like they are just avoiding you, but also avoiding any relationship they would have with your son. Shame on them. I would go in a heartbeat. Have a great time and celebrate without them. And remember this has nothing to do with you, but them being self-centered. :0(

sko3 said...

I am so sorry. I have experienced something similar, and it hurts to this day. I hope the void can be filled with the others who so clearly love you and care for you and little Miss Charlie.

abby said...

I'm sorry that your family is acting this way. Welcoming Charlie home (and into the family) is a huge deal and deserves a party. I have to say, you are handling it much better than I would have. There would have been angry phone calls and much screaming if it were me, but your post was well written and expressed how you felt. I really hope your family comes around and people change their mind about attending.

J Studio said...

I'm really disappointed for you.... In our many hours of study with CHS... this topic was mentioned.... I was wondering if I could send you an encouragement gift from my etsy shop. Please send me your email and address. I pray that God strengthens your heart.

Ginger said...

You have every reason to feel hurt. I'm just very sorry that there are so many family members so focused on their own lives (nice way of saying selfish) that they cannot see how important something like this is for a member who has always been present and supportive for them.

Leesavee said...

I am brokenhearted for you, dear. As someone also in the process of adopting from Ethiopia, I know that not everyone feels the way we do about adoption. But please remember that family is far more than the people to whom you are related.

I found your site through Shannon's website (Shannon is someone I met through a fabulous group of Ethiopian adoptive families in Maine), and want to encourage you to remember that you are joining an enormous family through adoption. I know that doesn't make up for how you've been treated by those you love, but I hope it will provide some solace. We're a part of your extended Ethiopian family, and we truly care about you and Charlie.

Good luck with your court date, Mommy!!!

Armelena77 said...

I'm so sorry. I'm someone that goes to every party possible too.

I have had that same feeling when I had my bridal shower and only my mom, aunt, sister and my moms elderly neighbor showed up. They invited 30 people too. It made me really sad for a long time...

My mom is all excited to be able to eventually plan a baby shower for us.. "when the time comes"... Every time she brings it up I cringe because I'm guessing it will have a similar turnout. I am trying to stay positive and just expect a couple people, so in the rare event there are more I would be surprised.

As stupid and upsetting as it is, I think more people get excited about adopted children once they can actually see, hold, and get to know them. Hopefully that will be the case.

I'm in MN or I would definitely go to your baby shower!
If you post your address I will send you something!

Best Wishes!

Anonymous said...

Although there WERE several sour lemons who failed to rally to my baby shower, too, I was able, after some time to mainly shrug and write it off as their failing and their loss... And my life keeps getting better, as I hope yours will, with your child on the way!!

I would guess that in the eyes of your family, they don't realize you actually need anyone to give you this very important support because: 1) You have always been there for their events, and they're used to you in that role not the role of receiving a party; 2) You might not have been very vocal in expecting reciprocation (?); 3) They have become wrapped up in their own lives, and haven't even noticed how out of balance the scales have become. (Also known as, they're a bit selfish.)

Honestly, I think you are doing the right thing to let your family know how hurtful this is to you.

Some will probably come around, once their eyes are opened.

Meanwhile ... can you fill out the party ranks with friends from nearby, or co-workers?

DON'T LET THEM RAIN ON YOUR PARADE! Good luck!!

-Bessrny

Bryan said...

Mika,

Sorry this whole thing brought you down. It doesn't pay to be disappointed with family, though. I have great confidence that they all really would be there if they could - people that care for you do the best for you that they can. I've got very little blood family - one sister, two aunts, three first cousins. Of these people, I have only even spoken to my sister in the past decade. My sister was the only person related to me at my father's funeral. As someone who doesn't have many relations, I feel qualified to say this: value your family for what they offer, don't let individual incidents color the entire relationship.

PS - there were no blood relatives of mine or my wife's at our baby shower, either.