This is Part Seven of a series on Adoption called Everything I Want You to Know About Adoption. To see the links to each individual post in this series, click the “adoption” tab on the nav bar at the top of the blog, or click here. I am in the process of answering a series of Adoption FAQ’s. If you have a question about adoption, feel free to ask. I promise to answer it in this series.
I get this question a LOT. I think it’s very common. And I think it’s common for four main reasons:
1. Many couples want to exhaust all biological options before considering adoption. If your husband thinks you can have biological children, he may not see the purpose of adoption.
2. A lot of men fear they could never love an adopted child like their own.
3. Some may worry about integrating a child of another race or ethnic origin into their family.
4. Generally speaking, men are freaked out by the financial aspect of the adoption.
I experienced this situation with my husband prior to our second adoption. Even though our first adoption went off without a hitch, Jon had totally bonded with Elijah, and God provided financially for Elijah’s adoption, only “about 1%” of Jon (his words) wanted to adopt another child.
For one, Jon was happy with our “Cooper, Party of Four.” He wasn’t sure he wanted to add another child to the mix. Understandable. This wasn’t an adoption issue for him. It was just a family issue.
For two, while Jon had a stable career with a great company, he still feared the financial aspect. Again, understandable. I agree it is nearly impossible to look at a $20,000 or $30,000 expense of any kind and get excited about it. But Jon didn’t just see the cost of the adoption, itself . He also saw the cost of feeding and clothing three kids, the cost of sending three kids to private schools, and the cost of sending three kids to college. (I bet Jon feels a twinge of anxiety right now just reading that last sentence!)
Eventually, after many long conversations at the kitchen table and a whole lot of prayer on my end, Jon came around and we adopted for a second time.
It may not work out that way for everyone. The bad news is, you cannot move forward with an adoption without your husband’s full support. The good news is, you are not helpless. There are several things you can do to warm your husband to the idea of adoption. Here are some suggestions:
1. Find out why your husband does not want to adopt. Sit knee to knee, eyeball to eyeball, hand-in-hand and ask him. Listen to what he tells you without judging him or defending yourself. Just listen and affirm. You may be surprised at what he tells you.
2. Share your heart openly about why you want to adopt. If something moved you—a story of a child in need, for example—share that with your husband. Be honest, sincere and transparent.
3. Depending on the nature of his reservation, see if he might be open to talking to, reading about or listening to another adoptive father discuss how he overcame those same fears. Some men would rather chew aluminum foil than talk to another man about their feelings. But some will. Maybe your husband is one of them. Adoption seminars are a great place to start because they are impersonal, yet informative. If you know other adoptive couples, you could invite them out for coffee and ask them about their experience. (I, personally, am ALWAYS open to discuss adoption with you, especially if you buy me coffee.) Do a Google search and see if you can find some good blog stories (like this one!). Go to the bookstore and see if you can find some good books on the subject.
4. If finances are his concern, you may need to show him on paper how it can work within your budget. (I will talk about creative ways to finance your adoption in a later post) Of course, God may be asking you to walk by faith—you may not be able to show him on a spreadsheet how it will work. That’s okay. Remember, God wired your man to be concerned with providing for his family. Just ask God to show you how to speak to his concern, even if it means he should trust God for the provision.
5. Above any amount of persuading, coaxing or spread-sheeting, I believe prayer is the most productive thing you can do. Get a group of your best friends together—the ones who really trust in God’s power to change people, and preferably those who have a heart for adoption—and ask them to pray with you. Remember my friend Julie? She did that for me, and God totally moved. I will do this for you, too (and you don’t even have to buy me coffee!)
Q4U: Why else might a husband be reluctant to adopt?
Do you have an adoption-related question for me? Ask, and I will answer it in this series!