When the idea of adopting comes up, one spouse might be reluctant to move forward. If prospective adoptive parents don't agree on the decision to adopt a child, it doesn’t mean that you have an unhealthy relationship, or that you won’t eventually find common ground. Keep reading to learn how you can work through this issue before embarking on an adoption journey together!
You want to be a mom now, but your husband is dragging his feet and raising new concerns every day about adopting. While this can be a frustrating situation, it’s also incredibly common for one spouse to lead the journey toward adoption. Often, couples aren't at the same point at the same time surrounding major life events, such as marriage, buying a house, or having children.
"I thought my marriage was flawed in some crucial way when my husband and I couldn’t agree on adoption," shares one adoptive mother. "I struggled in isolation, but came to find out that many women were facing the same dilemma as me.”
His hesitation might be due to anxiety about meeting requirements, or to concerns about what must be given up. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself and your spouse to determine if you're both ready to pursue adoption:
1. Am I too old to become a parent? Will I have enough patience, energy, and love?
2. Is it possible to save for a college education when I need to save for retirement?
3. Will I have to re-arrange my work hours? Am I willing to do so?
4. Will my parents reject an adopted child?
5. Who will the child be? Will I be able to love an adopted child as much as a biological child?
If you've turned to adoption due to failed fertility treatments, adopting may symbolize giving up on a dream. Before you begin your adoption journey, it's important to work through any issues surrounding that, first, so that you don't bring these hurt feelings with you.
Before you push adoption on your spouse, think about backing off and giving him time to come around on his own. He may surprise you. “My husband was hesitant to adopt after our fertility treatments,” says adoptive mom, Jessica. "He worried about the emotional toll on me. One day, out of the blue, he asked if I was ready to try adoption. After meeting a couple at our church who had just brought their 7-month-old adopted daughter to service, he was sold."
For other couples, talking it out is the right method to get both in sync. This conversation may be filled with emotion — especially if one partner feels to blame for the need to adopt in the first place. So, it's important to recognize his concerns and fears, and take them seriously. For example, if you've attended adoption webinars and done some research, you're likely to feel more comfortable with the idea of adoption. Your husband’s concerns are valid, and he may need to cover some of the same ground you have before he gets on board.
Consider joining a support group for couples considering adoption. Hearing their thoughts and reservations could help both you and your spouse think about things from another angle. You can also explore where the reluctance is coming from.
Lifetime strongly recommends marriage counseling to deal with any reluctance to adopt. Since a therapist doesn’t take sides, they're able to address your concerns without the pressure of expecting a certain outcome.
Also, considering connecting with other adoptive parents working with your adoption professional who have faced this challenge. A phone conference with a spouse who was previously reluctant (and is now a proud parent) could be incredibly encouraging.