If your spouse doesn’t want to adopt, there are some things to take into consideration. There are many things in life that you and your spouse might disagree on, and whether to adopt is no an exception. Oftentimes, these things are little blips in life that really make no difference. It might be something such as where to eat next or what movie to watch on Netflix. However, marriages can become strained and even break up due to significant disagreements such as those revolving money or children. There will be big disagreements in life such as whether or not to have kids or how you decide to have kids. Furthermore, if you choose to adopt, you may find that your spouse is not on the same page.
Unfortunately, not everyone will be on board with adoption. If you had the privilege of discussing the idea of adoption before marriage, it can often avoid this type of disagreement. However, there may be a situation where adoption wasn’t really an option or a thought before you were married. Many people get the desire to adopt or are presented with an option to adopt when they’ve already been married for quite a bit.
My husband and I had been married for six years when we were asked to adopt. We were not currently looking into adoption nor was adoption on the radar. However, the moment we were asked to adopt, we both felt strongly drawn to adoption. I was the one who was asked to adopt a child first. I took that information to my husband. I was definitely worried about what he might say or that he might not be on board. I had just given birth to our third child only a year before and we were nowhere near a place where we were thinking about having another child. To my surprise, he was immediately on board with adopting a child. I remember calling him while he was at work and simply stating, “How would you feel about adoption?”. Without missing a beat, he declared, “Let’s do it!” I was shocked at how receptive he was. Even with my experience, I know that some may not be as receptive nor quick to make such a huge decision.
While I was lucky for this to be my situation, it might not be yours. If your spouse is not on board with adoption and it is something that is on your heart, there are a lot of variables to consider in this situation. It is important to establish if not adopting a child is a permanent decision or a “not right now” decision for your spouse. Your spouse may just be in a place of apprehension about adoption or are not informed about the variables of adoption. However, adoption may have been something that your spouse has thought about and simply does not want to do. The course of action you take next will very much depend on the answer to this question.
If you are in a space where you are not yet married, but you are headed that way, it is important that you talk to your future spouse about ways that children might come to you through any avenue. You never know if you might have infertility issues or if you may have a heart for adoption later on. If adoption is on your radar or a possibility for you, discuss that with your future spouse. If adoption is a make-or-break for you, this would be the time to consider this variable in your marriage. I’m not saying to not marry your significant other, but consider if not being able to adopt would be something you would resent them for in the future. Knowing the answers to these important questions before you get married is crucial to the health and longevity of your marriage.
If you are already married, there may be many reasons why your spouse is not on board with adoption. It is important to establish the reasoning for this feeling or stance. Your spouse may not want to adopt because of not feeling ready to adopt. It may simply be due to a lack of knowledge about adoption. It may simply be due to fears or it may be bigger factors. There are so many reasons why your spouse might feel hesitant toward adoption that can be remedied in the future or through simple education about the adoption process. The only way to find out is to ask and get to the bottom of what the reasoning is for your spouse’s negative feelings towards adoption.
There are many adoption myths that prevent people from adopting. One of the first questions that my husband and I needed answered was regarding the cost of adoption. There are so many different types of adoption that no two adoptions will cost the same. However, we were under the impression that all adoption was unaffordable. In our minds, adoption was something that rich people did. We had no idea about the programs, grants, and loans that were available to prospective adoptive parents. While adoption was still expensive both times that we have adopted, we were able to find the funds and not go into incredible amounts of debt. The money aspect may be difficult but does not make adoption impossible and is very doable.
The cost of adoption was also one of the reasons that we had never considered adoption prior. We are a working middle-class family. In fact, we worked very hard to go from poverty to the middle class. Though we were not in a tremendous amount of debt, we were still living relatively paycheck-to-paycheck. For us, adoption was something that well off people did and wasn’t available to us. This was definitely a reason that we did not consider adoption as an option. However, the more we learned about adoption once we were asked to adopt, we learned that it was possible even on our limited income. This dispelled a fear that would have prevented us from pursuing the adoption. Consider some of these questions: What fears does your spouse have? Do they have any beliefs about adoption that are untrue or possibly partially untrue? Would it possibly change things if they knew the truth or the real statistics?
If your spouse believes some sort of myth about adoption, it is important that you lead your spouse to resources that can help them understand the truth in regards to adoption. This may look like speaking with an adoption professional about these myths. There are also multiple articles and resources found on websites such as Adoption.com. Dispelling these myths might help your spouse to come around to the idea of adoption. However, it is not a guarantee that your spouse’s mind will change. Regardless, your spouse will be more informed about the adoption process. Having all the information and all of the facts matters when making big decisions. If there are fears or trepidation based around myths, this information could be a game-changer.
Adoption is a huge decision. Your spouse may not be able to give you a reason why they do not want to adopt. It could simply be that your spouse is overwhelmed by the idea of adoption. Adoption in and of itself is scary. Beyond the cost of adoption, there is the chance of failed adoptions and so many other unknown and unpredictable factors. Once you have made the decision to adopt, there are many more decisions to make and unknown circumstances that will control your situation. You may have to consider the following: How long will it take? How much money will it take? Will anyone choose you to adopt their child? Will the adoption be open or closed? What will your new child be like? How will you know if they are going to be healthy? These are all valid questions and valid fears. If your spouse will not talk with you about adoption or will not give you a reason, give it some time. Your spouse may simply just not be in a place to readily discuss adoption. Table the discussion for a time when your spouse might seem a bit more open to discussing the reasoning and communicating points of view.
One common reason I often encounter as to why someone’s spouse does not want to adopt a child is that they are done having children. These people may be older and even have children from a previous relationship. This discussion can be incredibly hard to hold, but it’s definitely something that should be talked about if possible before marriage is pursued. It may simply be that your spouse does not want children in general. Again, hopefully, this is something that you discussed before getting married. Having a child or having more children is a very personal decision. It might be a decision that changes over time, but one that should be respected if made clear. If your spouse states that they do not want children or do not want more children and they change their mind, it is very likely that they will bring it up if they decide that they want more children or children in general. It is not something that you will need to dredge up daily after they have spoken their peace.
Your spouse may also unfortunately be in a position where they truly just do not want to adopt a child. Not everyone should adopt nor will everyone want to adopt. It is okay if any person does not choose to adopt a child and their choice should be respected. However, I completely understand that that does not make it easier for you as a spouse who has a heart for adoption. It is understandable that your feelings will be hurt and that your spouse may be upset that they cannot give in on this topic. However, you should not pursue adoption when your spouse is not on board.
Is there a chance that they could change their mind in the future? Sure. People change throughout marriages and throughout life. We change the way we think and the way we feel about things. However, you should not bet on your spouse changing their mind when they are clear about their unwillingness to adopt. prepare yourself for the fact that this is very likely a permanent position.
You will not get far in the adoption process if your spouse is not on board. However, you will be wasting your time and your adoption professional’s time by pursuing something that your spouse ultimately does not want. You also will likely end up burning money that you don’t have in pursuit of something your spouse ultimately will not decide to pursue. If you feel resentful or angry about your spouse not having a willingness to adopt a child, this is something that you will need to work through both apart and together. Your spouse is not saying no to hurt you, rather, saying no because it is simply something that they do not want. It would not be fair to pursue adoption in that situation for anyone involved including and especially a child.
If adoption is something that you want and your spouse is not on board, you will need to communicate with each other. If you are the spouse that is not on board, it is vital that you express your reasoning and express clearly whether this feeling may be temporary. Do not give in to please your partner. This will only lead to resentment of your partner and possibly the child. If it is your spouse who is hesitant about the adoption process, the only thing you can do in this situation is to communicate fully and find out the reasoning behind the hesitation. If your partner is clear that they do not ever want to adopt, this is something that you will have to cope with though it may be a bit of a grieving process. Do not try to push if your spouse has made themselves clear. If your partner is open to more knowledge and education about adoption, know that it could still end with that individual not being ready to adopt a child. If possible, have a plan of action in place and prepare yourself for what will happen if your spouse expresses that they do not want to adopt a child.
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 Facebook.