This is an incredible difficult and hard place for a spouse to be at. Many times it is the woman who is feeling the leading to pursue adoption and the husband just isn’t feeling it. Sometimes I know it can be the other way around. But for this article we are going to assume it’s the mama’s heart that is aching and strongly beating for a child that she desires through adoption.
I thought THIS was a very emotional, hard and honest article about honoring a husband who doesn’t want to adopt when his wife is infertile.
I get emailed often by sweet mamas who want to adopt but their husbands just aren’t there. And more and more hear about husbands who are feeling the pull and their wife just isn’t haven’t it. Honestly, I don’t know always what to say… mostly that I will join them in praying that whatever God wills that it would draw them together to be of one heart and in unity. I mean how could wanting to adopt be a bad thing? Surely God wouldn’t want to change your heart on the situation. Well, we aren’t God so we don’t know the future… we don’t see all the facets of these decisions… we aren’t in control of timing and really aren’t in control of anything! So while I do pray that God would bring the husband’s heart to a place where he desires to adopt…. I also pray for togetherness most of all.
Adoption can be tough for a man to get his head around. And let’s be quick to remember that at one point in time most of us couldn’t wrap our heads around adopting either. Even after a husband agrees to move forward towards adopting… he may still not be as on board or as over the moon excited as you are. That is understandable when you contrast a pregnancy with the adoption process. Typically, a pregnancy gives a reluctant spouse nine months to ease into the idea of parenthood. Greeted with joy and excitement by friends and relatives, a pregnancy inspires questions: Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl? Have you picked a name? Now, consider the issues that couples are forced to confront during the adoption process…. often, towards the beginning of the process when things are very uncertain but you are being asked to feel very certain about many things. What age child do you want? What about gender, ethnicity, or race? How will you pay for the high cost of adoption? How do you plan to raise this child? How will you cope with health conditions? And these questions don’t even begin to touch on the procedural aspects. Lawyer or agency? Open or closed? Domestic or international? It’s easy to be overwhelmed with it all when you are 100000% on board and want this more than anything… but if you’re scared and not even sure this is what you are wanting… well, it’s a lot. So grace…. piles and piles of grace is needed when adopting as a couple where one’s heart is ahead of the other.
I can’t help but to think of Joseph, Jesus’s earthly father. When he first heard that his wife would be having a baby that he wasn’t the father of….Well, let’s just say if God hadn’t spoken to him and changed his heart then he wouldn’t have been Jesus’s adopted dad! It took time to adjust to the “new normal” rather than what he probably had envisioned and hoped for. I know the scenarios are a little different but I think it shows that godly men (and women) wrestle with plans that aren’t what they signed up for or had in mind to begin with.
Here are some ways that I think you can press into the heart of God while your heart is aching to adopt but the person you gave your heart to isn’t.
First a foremost. PRAY!! God’s word tells us “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. Proverbs 21:1. God is able to change anyone’s heart. We also know in scripture that sometimes it’s not in the ways we would like it to be turned. But I think taking this issue to the One who can change and convict instead of placing all the weight of this issue on yourself is such a great place to start. KNOW that while adoption is a very GOOD thing. God is never going to ask you to adopt at the cost of your marriage. Your spouse comes first. God has given your husband to you to guide, lead and protect you. Given you your wife to love with understanding. And while you can’t imagine a scenario that it would be a bad thing to adopt… maybe for right now, or for always, it is something that for some reason that we may never know until the other side of eternity we are being guided and protected from.
Gather prayer warriors on your behalf. Ones who will pray for God’s will to be done… not just praying for your spouse to change their minds. Prayer does change things and we need His grace just as much as our spouses do…. because we need changing constantly! We have sin in our own hearts that need exposing and rooting out. So share with those who you know 1. love your spouse and won’t think badly towards them for not being where you are. 2. who won’t share with others this personal journey you are on right now. 3. who will encourage you with truth and not just be on your side of things. 4. Will weep with you through frustrations and waiting… and will rejoice with you as God’s will is revealed and He does great things through you and your marriage.
Secondly, TALK about it with your spouse. This isn’t a nagging type of talking about it. This is just a talking about different aspects of what your heart is feeling or learning. This is talking about what you are learning about God through this. This is talking to him… period. It would be easy I would imagine to start to shut him out of your most inner thoughts and desires when he isn’t on board with the one desire that is practically consuming your heart. But please don’t. Ask questions. Practice just listening and maybe responding on another day or time. Hear his heart. Don’t assume that if it isn’t said, it isn’t felt. Men sometimes have to mull over things before they can put words to how they are feeling about something. Don’t always make it about him not wanting to adopt… often men aren’t the ones whose biological maternal clock is ticking loud and strong so maybe it’s that he can’t imagine a life other than the one you’ve worked together to create. Give him the freedom to say that without you being the Holy spirit and correcting him.
Yes Talk… but don’t nag or pester. This can be a fine line. But I think I know when I’ve gone from talking to nagging because I can feel it in my heart. When my heart is frustrated, impatient, and angsty then I can almost hear the tone change in my voice or the quickness in frustration come over me like a wave mid conversation. I’ve found that sometimes… I just need to have a good cry, either to myself, with a friend or even with my husband as you share your heart about this leading you are feeling to adopt. Crying is a way to let those emotions come out and to admit the true sorrow you’re feeling without letting them turn into the frustration and bitterness that can develop very easily over time and can be so very ugly when you and him don’t see eye to eye on this issue.
Get to know other adoptive families. Sometimes it’s the fact that he can’t imagine adopting a child that would be his. Sometimes the journey is intimidating and he can’t fathom what it would take to provide and care for the family through such an expensive and time consuming process, not to mention adding another mouth to feed and life to look after. But I’ve found that being around other adoptive families is a great way to take the scary out of the initial process and to see first hand how a child who was once an orphan or in need of a mommy and daddy become your children… they aren’t any different!! I’ve had several people tell me they couldn’t imagine what loving an adoptive child would be like but watching us has shown them how it’s a miracle that God does in a family to bring a bond and connection that is every bit as special and strong as if they had been phsyically there since conception. Growing up I was home-schooled and I remember that when Dan and I were first getting to know each other that I would talk about homeschooling and how I wanted to homeschool my future children. All Dan knew was Christian school so it was hard to wrap his head around something that came so naturally to me. But I remember when he went on a retreat with the youth group he was working with at the time and they stayed with a family who home-schooled their 4 boys and he was able to have a front row seat to something incredible that they were doing as the Dad took an active role in educating those boys at home. I’ll never forget that conversation when he came to me all excited because he saw something that before I had only been trying to explain to him. It made all the difference when it came to him supporting something my heart was already wanting. So when it comes to adoption…. give him time and opportunities to be able to understand, open his heart to and get on board with something that is obviously scary and unknown to him right now.
Do something. Just because you can’t adopt on a united front right now, doesn’t mean that you can’t do something to help bring children into families. This might be painful to do. I get it. It also might be healing and life giving to your soul. I think that those who feel led to adopt will have a passion about seeing all kinds of children find their forever homes. This can be helping others with their fundraisers, this can be sticking other adoptive families photos on your fridge to remind you to pray for them, Go on an orphanage focused mission trip… together! take an adoptive mommy out to get a pre trip pedicure or massage, Host a adoptive mommy prayer group, Celebrating with others will definitely help you not grow roots of bitterness and will also bring such a rich blessing of friendships in your life that otherwise you would miss out on. (these mommies/families will also join you in praying towards how your family might be led towards adoption someday.) But you’ll find that after a while this community you feel so distant apart from because of a spouse that doesn’t want to adopt… will actually be a group that you are essential to and loved well in.
Ask God to help you learn to live in the tension of longing for something but trusting that He’s enough and that the life you are living right now is what He wants you to be faithful in. Sometimes you’ll be surprised at the things you’ll enjoy more and experience fully and see God’s hand in when you let go of what you are planning or wanting and embrace the family life you have right now…. even if that’s just you and your husband. Let God be the One who orchastrates today and tomorrow and the year to come! I know He can do far more than we can. I know He can change a heart in a moment. I know He can place opportunities in your path that you might had been to busy being bitter to recognize or be ready for had you not let go of Your plan and said.. Yes to God’s! He knows your heart… He sees your family.. He cares far more about the orphan than you do… He’s got this!! You just have to trust Him. And no… your husband and his feelings about adoption aren’t going to thwart God’s plan for your life. He gave you that man before He put this in your heart. Trust that He is working in and through your marriage to accomplish what will most bring glory to His name. (and His ways might just surprise you!)
While this post was written in the perspective that it would be the husband who didn’t want to adopt…. The same principles can be applied if it’s the wife who is having a hard time opening her heart and head and whole life to so many unknowns that come with adoption!