Reluctant Spouse Adoption: Let’s Talk About It
Before you start on the path to infant adoption, it’s important that both you and your spouse are on board and enthusiastic. At Lifetime Adoption, we always encourage those interested in adoption to confront and resolve any issues or concerns they may have surrounding adoption.
But what if one’s spouse is uncertain about whether the two of you should adopt? It’s hard to tell how often this is the case nationwide; many people naturally prefer to keep their family discussions private.
However, it is crucial that both potential adoptive parents embrace and look forward to bringing an adopted child into their lives.
But what if your spouse is uncertain about adoption?
Some of the good people we’ve met since we opened our doors in 1986 can provide some insight into this dilemma.
Cindy’s Adoption Story
An adoptive mother, Cindy, who adopted a baby girl through Lifetime in 2015 shares her story.
“It was difficult at first for me to convince my husband to start a family,” Cindy said. “When we couldn’t get pregnant, he said the subject of being parents was closed. John wasn’t into becoming an adoptive father and raising a child that he said was ‘someone else’s kid.’”
This is a common thing to hear reluctant parents say. For many people, it’s difficult to think about adopting, caring for, and loving a child that is not your biological baby. However, it’s also true that once adoptive families agree that adoption is a loving choice to put out in the world, they find the adoption process and their relationship with their adopted child to be blessings.
That was certainly the case for Cindy and John.
“Now that we’ve adopted,” Cindy said, “John and I can laugh over our intense discussions about this and share our experience with couples thinking about adopting.”
Many times, one spouse is reluctant about adoption because of the unknowns surrounding it. They may find themselves asking lots of questions — the answers to which are, in many cases, unknowable.
What will the child be like?
How will they mesh with the family?
How much does adoption cost?
What will the birth mother be like?
As one considers these questions, it’s important to understand that a lot of these questions will be answered during the open adoption process itself. For example, you have the opportunity to get to know the birth mother, if she so chooses. Furthermore, that relationship — as well as the relationship between birth mother and child — can continue to grow and flourish post-adoption.
There will be challenges, though. It’s also important to keep that in mind as you begin the adoption journey.
First things first: Think about how different a pregnancy is from the adoption process as far as your relationship is concerned.
A pregnancy allows an uncertain spouse nine months to transition into the idea of becoming a parent. Friends and family members are very excited for you, asking if you know your baby’s gender and if you’ve chosen a name — fun things like that!
With adoption, couples need to make lots of decisions before they bring their baby home, such as gender, age, and ethnicity. All of the choices surrounding domestic adoption push the subject of “baby” onto an uncertain spouse. It requires that he try to imagine the child’s entire upbringing.
Being forced to think about his child’s upbringing comes with a great benefit. It gives a reluctant spouse wonderful preparation for parenting, something that having a baby biologically doesn’t provide.
“John had insisted he was too busy (and too old) to be a good dad,” Cindy said. “But once we brought our daughter home, he’s flourished as a father. He hates it when his job takes him away from being able to tuck her in at night. It’s been such a blessing to see my loving husband evolve into a loving daddy!”
Bottom line: Know that it’s completely normal for one spouse to accept the idea of adoption and arrive at the decision to pursue adoption before the other one. Even after failed fertility treatments, each partner may get there at different times.
To gain some perspective, consider listening in on one of Lifetime’s webinars. We’ve held webinars in which the adoptive father shares his side of the story, and what his attitude towards adopting a baby was in the beginning. You can watch our adoption webinars for free at AdoptionWebinar.com.
Lifetime Adoption is a domestic open adoption agency. We help adoptive families with adoption, parenting, and educational resources. Families in our program often feel like they have a built-in support group as they work with a social worker on their home study and their Lifetime coordinator on their adoption. Our adoption services, even at the introductory level, help families discuss options in adoption so they can get on the same page in the journey to build their family.
So if you are interested in adoption and you and your spouse — reluctant or otherwise — have any questions whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to contact Lifetime Adoption today. We promise that our experienced, thoughtful, and caring adoption coordinators will be happy to assist you.
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.