Joyce Maguide Pavao once wisely said, “Adoption is not about finding children for families, it’s about finding families for children.” Is your family ready to be that family for a precious child? Are you both spouses ready to be parents?
Dealing with the Struggle Before Moving on to the Adoption Process
Both spouses should be ready for adoption and decide to adopt for the right reasons. The journey towards becoming ready as partners may take a while. There may be instances when one spouse is ready while the other spouse still may not be ready to be a parent.
It is key to understand a spouse’s struggle, especially when there may be emotional issues brought about by grieving about infertility. The spouse who is ready to adopt should provide vital support for the spouse who is struggling. This may be a challenge as the struggling spouse still has to grapple with emotions such as anger, disappointment and self-blame. The spouse who is ready should be patient and provide support.
If a spouse is still dealing with emotions and he or she enters into the adoption process, his or her feelings may make your adoption process more challenging. There may be resistance with the financial and emotional commitment involved. He or she may be more likely to focus on the negatives and risks and can be the very obstacle towards a successful adoption.
Helping Your Spouse to Move Towards Adoption
As the spouse who has decided to build a family by adoption, here are some ways for you to meet your spouse where he or she is right now and leading him or her to that place where he or she can move forward:
– Open the communication lines. Be there to listen and to talk it through. If your spouse is withdrawn, you can suggest counseling so that a third party can help you thresh out each other’s emotional status. Communicate with the understanding that as a couple you don’t have to be at the same page at all times – respect for the other’s position is necessary at this point. As a couple, discuss the options available and evaluate each based on your individual priorities and needs. Before you start discussing adoption, set down ground rules that leaves out blaming, criticizing or withdrawing from the conversation. Rather, aim towards coming to an understanding of each other’s emotions and to lovingly seek resolution or compromise that both spouses agree with.
– Honesty is the key. When you open up to your spouse, honestly reveal your thoughts and feelings, but say what you feel gently and in love.
– Look to other loved ones for their input. Although the decision to adopt is you and your spouse’s to make, it can help to open the conversation to other loved ones in order for you to get different perspectives on the issue.
– Educate yourself about adoption. Sometimes the resistance your spouse feels is due to the misconceptions surrounding the adoption process. Keep an open mind as you learn about the intricate details of adoptions. Invite your spouse to attend adoption workshops and conferences like A Act of Love Adoptions offers, so that you can both listen to parents who have built their families through adoption. Sit down with friends you know who also have the same struggles and listen to choices they may be making to build their family.
– Don’t push too hard. Having your spouse give you his or her reluctant agreement is asking for trouble in the future when the ups and downs of the adoption process take its toll on both of you. Avoid pushing too hard by laying on the guilt so that he or she finally relents. Give it time and reaffirm your commitment to your spouse.