While this question does pose a broad generalization, men and women often do approach their reaction and reception of adoption very differently. Much of this has to do with socialized gender roles that men and women are expected to fulfill as well as expected emotional reaction and attachment. This can also vary based on how a man or woman was raised and a person’s family of origin. You may even find that one man or woman reacts completely opposite of how you might expect. It can be a totally anomaly at times. Regardless of how one man or one woman may approach adoption, there are a few simple reasons their approaches may differ.
Man or woman, no two people have the same personality. Personality plays a huge role in making us who we are. When is comes to adoption, our approach will be largely based on our personality. If one person has a very nurturing, loving personality, he or she may approach adoption with excitement, enthusiasm, and a sense of calling. Those with a more composed, introverted personality may approach adoption with more caution, realism, and less initial enthusiasm. Neither of these ways is wrong; it is simply a matter of personality differences.
Men are stereotypically labeled as emotionally stunted as often as women are stereotyped as overly emotional. However, both men and women respond differently depending on their emotional capacity. When we first met my daughter, she was already four months old. I smiled and felt immense joy. However, my husband, who is a football player and a grizzly man, broke down in tears. It didn’t mean that I was not emotional enough or that my husband was too emotional—we just operate on different emotional levels depending on the situation. In adoption videos shared on YouTube, you may see a woman crying meeting her child while a man gives a gentle smile. It is simply a matter of differing emotional response.
Timing of Reactions
I am very much an I’ll-believe-it-when-it-happens type of person. During our adoptions and even my pregnancies, I did not feel that initial bond or anticipation. I was certainly excited and nervous; however, I was more cautious and in disbelief. My husband was incredibly excited as well but was planning more for the future. He was envisioning life with a daughter and what all they would do together. All I could do was get to the next piece of paperwork or court date. When my daughter was in our arms, there was no immediate bond and I could feel myself let go. My lack of initial excitement did not mean that I was not ready to adopt. It did not mean that I wasn’t absolutely ready to fall head-over-heels for my daughter. I simply struggle to envision the future. I am a here-and-now person. My husband is a dreamer. Traditionally, these roles are often reversed for men and women. Regardless of the the approach you take to adoption, both men and women would do well to understand that we are simply all different regardless of gender, and this is completely normal.
Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/halfemptymom/”>Facebook.</a>