To not want to take my children to Australia?

(256 Posts)
Andro Fri 04-Jan-13 19:48:42

I never thought I'd say this, but I really need the views of someone not connected to my situation.

Background: My DH and I are the adoptive parents of his sister's children (DS 9 and DD 5), we took them on after their parents were killed in a accident and the adoption was finalised just over a year ago. I couldn't love them more!

Problem: My in-laws live in Australia and are demanding that we take our DC to visit in the summer holidays, I've said no and now we are heading for war.

DS has a serious phobia of flying; not long before is DP died they were on a flight that had to make an emergency landing, he was bumped around pretty badly and he now has some serious problems. We didn't realise how bad his fear was (I don't think he knew either tbh) until we tried to take a flight to Ireland, the panic attack he had was so bad he had to be taken to hospital by ambulance, sedated until his vital signs stabilized and spent a few days there for observation. DS is now having treatment for his phobia, he is making progress but it's slow going and his therapist agrees that any flight right now would be counter-productive. My in-laws know all this, it has been explained to them in detail and both have acknowledged that over 24h of flight time for a phobic child is, and I quote "less than ideal".

Let battle commence: They have suggested that I should drug DS for the duration of the journey...I just about hit the roof! I have no problem with an adult choosing to take medication in order to travel, but to suggest I do that to a child? I don't even know if a doctor would agree to but in truth I don't care! My DH is in a lousy situation, he really wants to support me but is being emotionally blackmailed by his parents. I feel sorry for him really because his Mother really does know which buttons to press. She had tried everything from 'we haven't seen them since the funeral and we miss them terribly, we might not see them again if you don't bring them over' to 'it's not as if they're her (my) blood family, why should she have any say?' and just about everything in-between. DH is trying to hold strong but his Mother is getting to him and it's causing some heated discussions between us.

Summary: AIBU to refuse to consider drugging my DS in order to take him on a long haul flight?

(sorry for the mammoth post)

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 04-Jan-13 20:09:22

YANBU.

It's clearly not in your DS's best interest to be put on a flight that lasts 24 hours...assuming there are no changes. If there are,he will have to endure not only flying but take off and landing repeatedly.

Why exactly can't they come to see you?

Fresh01 Fri 04-Jan-13 20:09:34

YANBU get a letter from his therapist to give them saying he can't fly yet. He would need to be comfortable with short haul flights before you should consider this huge flight.

I have done the Australian flight many times. It is around 23 hours in the air but 30 hours travel time all up, depending where you go in Oz. Even as a regular flier you get fed up on the flight. You also have to factor in 3 or so days each way of jet lag.

Ask them what you do if he panics midway through the 12 hour leg?
Ask them what you do if he has a panic attack at a transfer airport in Far East or Dubai?

I know adults (we know a lot of people who do the journey) who have taken sleeping tablets on long haul flights and most have said yes you sleep but any airport transfers are a nightmare as you are so sluggish.

I accept they have gone through a huge loss but it is too huge an ask for a young child who has been through so much. Agree with suggestion to meet somewhere else in UK or France.

LouisWalshsChristmasCloset Fri 04-Jan-13 20:09:35

shock I was ready to tell you yabu but after reading about your sons fear, no way. yadnbu. Why can't they get on a plane to come and see him? confused

Peoples ignorance and stupidity never ceases to amaze me.

MayaAngelCool Fri 04-Jan-13 20:11:42

Andro - they are grown adults, yet they would rather subject their young grandchild to massive trauma and drugging rather then they themselves have to face the emotional pain connected to their daughter's loss? What selfish, childish bastards. I speak as someone who's lost a lot of close relatives, so I know full well how painful grief can be. They are the adults: they can bloody well cope a hell of a lot better than your son can (yes, he is your son if you've adopted him; what a vile and offensive thing to say otherwise).

They sound self-absorbed and frankly, horrible. Poor you and DH. NO WAY should you two cave in. You could offer to help them out with the flight costs as a goodwill gesture, but if they're not willing to show their love for their grandchildren by flying over here in spite of the emotional distress it will cause them, but would rather impose worse on a young child, they don't deserve to see their grandchildren.

You and your DH are amazing for having adopted and thereby doubled the number of kids in your family. They and your vile in-laws are extremely lucky to have such wonderful people in their lives.

tinypumpkin Fri 04-Jan-13 20:14:48

Having lost a child myself, I do understand that certain situations / locations are just so so hard to face. Grief is not rational. However, I agree about suggesting meeting them elsewhere in the UK (far away from the accident site). Other posters have suggested a holiday cottage which is a fab idea. Have you suggested this to them?

I am sorry about what they said about not being a blood relation, I truly hope they do apologise. That is shocking.

spiderbabymum Fri 04-Jan-13 20:15:02

You have no choice

Montybojangles Fri 04-Jan-13 20:15:06

I don't think you are being unreasonable as far as not going now or drugging your child, but I do think you should be asking your gp for some help in dealing with your sons fear of flying while he is still young. Better to tackle it now than leave it to grow and worsen.
Your MIL sounds a proper cow.

What Maya said. Exactly that.

spiderbabymum Fri 04-Jan-13 20:15:31

The child cannot travel at the mo

Imaginethat Fri 04-Jan-13 20:16:15

Of course they are being utterly unreasonable to suggest further traumatising their grandson to satisfy their need to see him. Absurd and cruel.

However, in the interests of getting beyond the impasse, I would try to err on side of sympathy in that possibly they are literally crazed by grief.

They may actually find some closure in visiting the children in their own home and even the crash site, if they are well supported and as prepared as possible. It may be worth writing a kindly letter. But you are quite right to put the interests of the children first, please just stay with that.

Sorry for all the sadness you and your family have experienced. X

spiderbabymum Fri 04-Jan-13 20:16:36

Fact facts here op . you .....are being emotionally blackmailed too........if u are being made to feel this upset and guilty

spiderbabymum Fri 04-Jan-13 20:17:46

It's bloody ridiculous o them to out this much pressure on u and not to respect ur decision as a parent . Forget the drugs option . That's just a non runner

Andro Fri 04-Jan-13 20:18:19

Oh God! I'm in tears here, you are all being so lovely.

I was reaching the point where the pressure was making me think that my emotions were clouding my judgement...even though I still knew that I was in the right - if that makes any sense at all?

I'll suggest meeting elsewhere, my DP have a large holiday house on the coast and they've offered us the use of it anytime we want.

PumpkinPositive - your comment made me laugh! Thank you!

My DH had read the comments on the thread (over my shoulder!), he has now excused himself and gone to his study...that means he's thinking seriously about what has been said.

3smellysocks Fri 04-Jan-13 20:19:18

Can you suggest as a first step that they fly over here while you provide a cottage somewhere further away from the accident site. Maybe somewhere in France the opposite end of the UK? Although to be honest, the grandparents really need to spend some time seeing their grand kids every day normal life in thier normal home.

TheBOF Fri 04-Jan-13 20:20:16

Tell them (in your head) to fuck off, then just shrug and say "That won't be possible, I'm afraid". Repeat ad nauseum.

Andro Fri 04-Jan-13 20:26:27

Montybojangles - he's having treatment. After the panic attack (the first any of us really knew about how bad his fear was), he was referred for counseling. That didn't work out (the counselor told him to get a grip, I made a formal complaint!) so he is now under the care of a psychologist who specializes trauma induced phobias. His progress has been slow, but steady and significant. We are very pleased with how his treatment is progressing and DS is increasingly coherent when it comes to explaining what he is feeling (important if hs treatment is to continue progressing).

Narked Fri 04-Jan-13 20:27:12

It's just silly. You've got a child who can't cope with a 30 minute-ish flight to Ireland and they want you to fly them to Australia and back???? Even if you - ignoring the morality, legality and health risks - drugged him up to the eyeballs he would spend the whole time in Australia terrified of the flight back. And you'd have to pay for 4 seats (I didn't see you mention other DC).

All they have to do is pay for 2 seats and come to you.

MayaAngelCool Fri 04-Jan-13 20:27:50

Sorry to your DH for calling his parents vile, etc, but, y'know. They are behaving objectionably. I wouldn't accept that kind of crap from my own child, and a child should not have to experience it from his parent.

You both sound fab. Bet your SIL and BIL are rooting for you somewhere on a star far, far away...wink

while i understand that the grandparents are in pain and coping with their loss, i still think they are being selfish. you have 2 very young children who have lost both their parents, are probably totally mixed up because they are still trying to understand and settle into a new life and family, and one that has a serious fear of flying. why are they putting their needs before their grandchildren?

getting them to come to you, to either stay at yours or in another location is the only way they will see them.

and they are your children now shock

hermioneweasley Fri 04-Jan-13 20:33:58

Agree with all the people who have said YANBU. Your children are getting settled into their new life. They have Ben through enough disruption and your DS is not fit to fly. End of.

They emigrated, they knew it was a risk that at some point family wouldn't be able to travel due to time or money.

Enjoy your lovely family - some of us have the enormous privilege of knowing that parenting is nothing to do with biology.

Fozzleyplum Fri 04-Jan-13 20:34:37

There's some great advice on this thread and Andro, you sound amazing.

NOTHING would induce me to take DS on a plane in those circumstances. I hope that reading the posts persuades your DH to step up to the bar and give you the support you need and deserve. If your in laws won't listen to you because you're not a blood relation angry, then he should tell them, calmly and rationally, that their stance is selfish and unreasonable, and refuse to discuss it further. He should reiterate that they are welcome to come over and explain the arrangements that can be made to address their concerns, then leave them to stew decide.

Good luck.

thegreylady Fri 04-Jan-13 20:36:29

How about a rented place somewhere in a different part of the UK or even France [where you could drive].Your inlaws could join you there and enjoy time with their dgc without being distressed by proximity to the accident site.

thegreylady Fri 04-Jan-13 20:37:22

xpost with 3smellysocks!

OscarPistoriusBitontheside Fri 04-Jan-13 20:37:35

They are being utterly unreasonable. Your poor Ds. It's worth making the point that if your ds does freak out again and it's extremely reasonable to expect that he will, the airline most likely will refuse you travel anyway.

Suggest the holiday house to them, I completely understand why they would not want to come to you, but they MUST be the adults here and not put your ds through more trauma.

MayaAngelCool Fri 04-Jan-13 20:38:38

Don't think I've ever seen an AIBU thread where all the posters agree with the OP!

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