“Broaching the Subject”
I’ve been told that I have some wisdom to offer, I’m scared for those people that consider me wise, but for now I’ll run with it. “Broaching the subject”
Wow. So I’m a daddy blogger who is going through the adoption process and I get hit with this question of how do I approach the adoption thing with my husband? Well there are a couple of factors that we have to discuss here. First I have no frame of reference to address an infertile couple, so we are eliminating infertility out of the picture. Secondly there is the subject of do you already have kids or not. Simply put if you don’t already have kids, by choice, and are considering adoption, that’s great! But both of you need to be on board. I think the conversations would be very different in this situation, but I don’t know, so for my blog I am going to eliminate this as well. That leaves us with happily married couples who already have biological kids and you are considering adoption but don’t know how the husband is going to react.
Well lets start this with my own personal story. My wife and I started dating in 1996 (early spring) But we started after having a very long conversation, me talking about how I want to move to the Horn of Africa, permanently. Her talking about how she has wanted to adopt internationally since she was knee high to an ant. (She has since grown to officially knee high to a grasshopper) We married in 1999 and 4 months later we were pregnant. Now mind you this threw our plans in the blender, we had just decided to move to
Kenya for at least the summer when we discovered she was pregnant. Suddenly our lives plans were upside down and empty and we had no idea what to do. We had wanted to keep our kids close together in age, so we had number 2 very shortly after number 1. Then my favorite doctor made sure that wouldn’t be possible to happen again. It wasn’t that I was against kids, I am just anti diapers / bottle feeding / potty training / etc. Remember adoption was already on the table for us, we had discussed it and it was in the back of both of our minds since 1996. So in January of 2005 I started to feel like now was the time to adopt. Heather had mentioned how cool it was at a recent women’s conference to watch the lead speaker speak while holding her adopted African child, but I had dismissed her comment as nothing more than an observation. I looked around the internet for a couple of days looking at adoption, and what it would take and then went in for the kill to bring it up to the wife. Knowing that the probability was if I mentioned the mere possibility of this being the time to start that she would more than likely jump all over it and we would be full throttle into yet another crazy adventure.
For us the desire for kids was already there, the desire to adopt was already there, but we are a single income family, that things were tight BEFORE we decided to take this on. Money was the only obstacle I could see in our path. Well I told her my thoughts, and she told me she had been feeling the same way for about the same amount of time. The funny thing that we would find out MUCH later in the process is that our kids had their intake interviews at the same point in time as we had the desire to adopt. Of course she was all over the opportunity but there were major financial barriers for us, but that is a different post, for a different day.
That said, I know that from the adoption community 9 times out of 10 it is the woman who wants to adopt, she decides to adopt, and the husband has a whatever makes you happy attitude towards it until the kids are in his arms, and he finds himself madly in love with his new kids. Honestly I don’t see how this is different than most pregnancies really though. For the most part men may have a “look what I did to her” approach to the preganacy, but it’s not really real until the baby is in his hands. It’s the difference between masculine and feminine mindsets and I think it’s one of the things that enables men to adjust a little quicker to the adopted child than the mother. For men it’s not really real until the kids are in your arms, for moms, the first kick /morning sickness lets you know how real it is. You even know your baby’s temperament as they grow in your womb. Men, we just tink it’s cool to poke your belly and make them kick you.
So where do you go from here. First sit down and really evaluate where you are in this process. I have seen too many people think they should adopt that really shouldn’t be adopting. Look at your household, are the kids already there well adjusted, or are they ready to send you to the mental ward? Bringing in adopted kids to a home in chaos will not fix a thing, in fact it will just make things worse. Secondly does dad spend more than 10 minutes a day with his kids or does he fall in line with the some 80%+ of American dads? As much as I want to see orphans adopted hubby doesn’t become a good dad by adding more to the mix. Seriously guys, there is this huge problem in
America of absentee dads. They live in the same house as their kids, but on average spend 3 minutes a day in the PRESENCE of their own kids. No wonder kids are growing up as screwed up as they are, and I’ve been a youth pastor at several churches so I can tell you how screwed up they get. There is a huge need and bigger deficit of DADS out there. There are plenty of sperm donors and wannabe dads but very few of the real deal.
Now luckily the majority of people that adopt are the genuine article, but all you have to do is watch the news to know there are the losers that make it through the process as well. So I’ve said a lot without even touching the answer really, but that’s the point isn’t it? There is no real answer, not one that blankets the whole cyberverse of anonymous surfers out there. My gut instinct is to tell you to just bite the bullet grab the barrel and shoot, but that’s my general approach to life and would be my advise to the majority of anything anyone would ask. Basically if you aren’t comfortable being honest with your spouse about the thoughts you are having, them perhaps you need to work on that first.
All in all I think most people are pleasantly surprised by the spouses reactions to thoughts of adoption, but you will never know if you don’t talk about it.