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Need social advice re: new in-laws

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silverhopes posted 10/14/2013 14:52 PM

This is turning out to be a year all about family for us.

I posted here about my family stuff before. But now it seems it's Mr Silver's turn.

He lived with his mother until he was 5 and then grew up in the foster care system. Since we've met, he's always talked about finding her again one day. He had seen her periodically over the years but she was in a mental hospital the last time he saw her. So it had been several years. And he didn't know his father.

Over the last couple of months, he received contact through his caseworker from his long-lost sister. We went through a notarization process and exchanging information, and on Friday, for the first time, they were able to speak over the phone. Mr Silver is finally getting his family back! Because he doesn't use computers, he gave her my email address and she sent us a bunch of pictures (and vice versa), and we wrote a bit to each other. She sent him his cousin's phone number, and this morning he called his cousin and talked to her. His cousin and his sister want to come and visit him next month.

My role is to be as supportive as possible. We've cut down on the emailing because it's really his family reunion, and he should be talking directly to his family instead of me (he told me he doesn't want me emailing her so much and to not overwhelm her). I've been trying to be a good listener and just listen to him a lot and help him feel safe to express himself. Was thinking about printing out and making an album for him of all the pictures his sister sent.

He found out that both of his parents have passed away. His mother passed away 11 years ago, and his father about 3 years ago. So I know that's been hard for him.

I'm writing here because I'm nervous. How do I act when his family comes to visit next month? I don't want to embarrass him, and I'm known for being very awkward around people. Do I just give them a lot of space to reconnect? Focus mostly on taking care of our son, making them comfortable? Keep my own very issue-laden family away from them as much as possible? I don't want to weird out my H's family; just try to help make it the best reunion possible.

Skan posted 10/14/2013 19:04 PM

Well, you're a part of the family too, so please do try to enjoy yourself. I hear what you say, though. I tend to be the Martha of the group vice the Mary quietly going around and getting drinks, refreshing nibble bowls, and listening. I'd keep your family away and just make this about him getting to reconnect with his family. Small steps there is plenty of time to have a bigger family reunion IF y-all decide that you want to.

silverhopes posted 10/15/2013 00:57 AM

I'd keep your family away and just make this about him getting to reconnect with his family.

Thank you. This sounds exactly right. It should be about facilitating and making a safe place for them to reconnect and do what makes them happy.

We're not sure yet where they'll be staying. My H is uncomfortable with them staying in the building because some of my extended family lives here. But then he's not sure whether to ask them to go to a hotel or not. It needs to be his decision, he and they need to feel safe to reconnect without the rest of us butting in.

Now, having said that, H just said something about the upcoming visit that will unfortunately necessitate me posting in another forum. Bummer. But maybe the big relief in here is to not worry about doing too much. It's their reunion.

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