Adoption is a big decision for a couple to make together, so it is only natural if one of you is feeling hesitant to enter into such a serious commitment. It is of the utmost importance that, as a couple, you are united in the decision to welcome a child into your home and family.
If you want to adopt but your partner has expressed fear or hesitation, you should not worry or become angry with them. Rather, there are a few helpful things you can do to help your partner process their feelings before you take any further steps towards the adoption process. It is important to remember that these feelings are natural, and, therefore, they should not cause tension or even strife between the two of you. Instead, take this opportunity to try out a few options that can help you both along.
Where to Start: Communication is Key
If your partner is struggling with adoption, the best thing you can do is communicate with them. As you know, deciding to adopt a child is a very large commitment, and some fear, as well as nervous excitement, is sure to be expected. With this in mind, opening a dialogue with your partner may help them sort through their own thoughts and feelings concerning the adoption.
Adopting is very much like a pregnancy in one key way: you’re preparing to welcome a living, breathing child into your hearts, home, and family. In both cases, parents can have fears and worries concerning their new child, and for many couples, one partner may be feeling more afraid than the other. When this happens, communicating with one another is imperative. If you don’t know where to start, try beginning a conversation with these points in mind:
- Be Open About Your Own Feelings: Your partner may be afraid to express their struggle because they may feel that you are entirely secure in the decision. Whether this is true or not, being open about any fears, misgivings, doubts, or other emotions you may be having will most likely be incredibly helpful and even soothing to your partner. Knowing they aren’t alone in their worries may give them more strength.
- Encourage Them to Be Honest: Honesty is the foundation of any relationship, and it is very important when taking on the grand adventure of parenthood. Encourage your spouse to be completely honest with you every step of the way so you both know the other’s feelings. This may also put them at ease and discourage any concealment of true feelings and thoughts.
- Be Understanding: Perhaps you can’t at all relate to how your partner is feeling, and, if you can’t, that’s okay. Despite the mismatch of feelings, showing your partner that you can still understand and empathize with them adds strength to your relationship as a couple, which can reinforce your relationship as parents. Plus, it may give insight to how/why your partner is feeling they way that they You can learn a new perspective and find ways to overcome it together.
How to Help a Spouse Struggling with Adoption
For the partner struggling with adoption, there are a few things you can do to help them with their worries and fears. There are plenty of things you can try together as well as solo activities that may help them understand why they’re struggling. The hope, in the end, is to find ways to get around such anxieties and move into the joy of a new family member. Mention these options to your partner to help them:
- Consider Counseling: There is adoption counseling available to help families thinking about adoption, embarking on adoption, or struggling with adoption in any way. You can do counseling together or offer that they try therapy on their own. Be sure to encourage them to try whatever will be most helpful for them.
- Get In Touch with Other Adoptive Families: For some, being able to speak with a parent who has already adopted a child may be helpful. They can ask questions, express their fears, and learn more about how adoption truly is from someone who has, and is, currently experiencing it. As you move through the adoption process, you’re sure to make friends within the adoption community, and this can open up access to lifelong friends who will be there to walk your partner through the fears and worries they’re dealing with.
- Speak With a Financial Advisor: If the bulk of your partner’s worries are concerning the cost of adoption, speaking with a financial advisor may be able to put them at ease or, at the very least, offer them more information. There are grants and loans available to adoptive families, as well as other resources to help with the cost of adoption.
All in all, if your partner is experiencing some wariness with the coming adoption, don’t ignore their feelings. Getting these things out and into the open will lead to a better relationship as well as a sound decision. Don’t become discouraged or lose hope if your partner is struggling. It may very well pass after looking into the options listed above. It’s natural to experience fear and doubt, so don’t let it stop you or cause bigger problems than it needs to.