Ask Amy: Adoption complicates clan’s wedding plans
Dear Amy: My biological great-aunt and uncle adopted me when I was 2 years old. I am now 20, and I’m planning my wedding. My adoptive parents are my world, and I couldn’t be more grateful to them.
I have a very close relationship with my mom, and plan on including her in my wedding, just as anyone normally would.
Because it was an open adoption and my adoptive parents are my great-aunt and uncle, I do know my biological mom.
She and I have more of a friendly bond than a mother/daughter bond. I am getting married next year, and I want to include her somehow, but my adoptive mom gets jealous and hurt about certain things when it comes to including her.
How can I incorporate my biological mom, but not hurt my adoptive mom’s feelings?
Also, should I give my biological mom a corsage to wear?
I’m not sure what to do. — Unsure Bride
Dear Unsure: This is tricky, because all of your parents are also related to one another (I take it that one of your biological parents would be your parents’ niece or nephew). There is no doubt a lot of challenging history there, before and after your birth and adoption.
In my opinion, you should invite your biological mother to the wedding, and give her a seat in the front row, along with other family members. Yes, it would be nice for you to give her a corsage.
Weddings are highly charged events; feelings and insecurities are heightened in anticipation. Communicate with your parents honestly and as soon as possible, letting them know what your plans are, giving them time to adjust.
Consider having both of your (adoptive) parents — not just your dad — walk you down the aisle to formally present you to your prospective spouse. They deserve that honor.
Understand that your mom might feel threatened, jealous, and upset, no matter what plan you present. Affirm her feelings, saying: “I know this is hard, but there is no question in my mind about who my ‘real’ parents are — you two! I hope you can keep that in mind and help me by being friendly to my biological mom during the events. It’s hard on me, too, but I’m trying to do the right thing.”
Dear Amy: “Carrie” and I met at work a few years ago.
She’s well-known, but for some reason, has no “real” friends. As I got to know her better, I realized that she is needy and selfish, the kind of person who has no trouble asking for things, but who doesn’t reciprocate.
When we hung out, it was always at the location she wanted. I’d have to take pictures of her for her Instagram (dozens at a time, in different locations!) and she would always keep me waiting.
Over the last two years, I’ve been trying to ice her out, but she has not taken the hint, confronting me when I haven’t included her in gatherings. I should have been more upfront, but I thought she would figure it out.
A few months ago, her dad died during the COVID-19 lockdown. I handled it the way I would for an acquaintance: A heartfelt call, a message to check up, and a memorial gift.
Today, she exploded at me. She expected more. She thinks I’m selfish.
I just don’t want to be there for her. Does that make me a terrible human being?
Is there any way to come out of this without seeming like the ***hole? — Guilty, Angry and Frustrated
Dear Guilty: The basic math to friendship is this: You receive roughly the equivalent of what you invest. “Carrie” is getting from you what she has invested in you — the minimum.
At this point, you should respond to her with compassion for her loss, but not bite the hook if she baits it. Tell her, “I realize that I have been a real disappointment to you. I hope you have other people in your life who are there for you in the way you want them to be.”
I think it’s OK to seem like the ***hole, as long as you aren’t one.
Dear Amy: I could not believe your stupid advice to “Independent,” the woman whose in-laws stayed at their vacation cottage and did a “deep clean” while there.
If the place is so filthy that it requires a deep clean, Independent should be ashamed of herself. — Disappointed
Dear Disappointed: “Independent” implied that the cottage was not filthy, and I believed her.