6 Ways Adoption Changes Your Marriage

A new baby has a way of shaking things up.

Karen White January 23, 2017
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1. You’re broke.

So you finally have a baby in your home…and now you are broke! Adoption is expensive. And for many families the decision to adopt followed pricey infertility treatments. Even if the adoption didn’t financially drain you, the endless supply of diapers, wipes, formula and, of course, those irresistible, itty-bitty clothes will! And since the most common arguments in marriage revolve around money, having a child definitely adds to those arguments. Especially if you have a daughter. Those darn hair bows that they don’t even have enough hair to hold will bankrupt you (and drive your spouse nuts)!

2. Time? What time?

You used to come home from work and look forward to preparing dinner and watching your favorite shows. Before baby, you pictured family meals together and snuggles on the couch. In reality, your dinner is spent holding a crying baby while trying to shovel some pre-packaged food into your mouth. Those ‘meal train’ casseroles only last so long and by then your baby is active enough that that homemade puttanesca becomes a jar of room temperature Ragu thrown on some semi-cooked noodles you forgot to stir while cooking.

And the only TV you will be watching will consist of grown men and women dressed up in weird puppet costumes singing mind-numbing songs over and over and over. And THEN you will buy said group’s CD and listen to it IN THE CAR!!

3. Date night! Oh wait…

Wait what?? There’s no more date night! You can’t possibly leave your baby with a sitter. Your cousin’s sister’s friend’s neighbor had a sitter once and you know what happened then….

And grandparents, well when THEY had kids they let them sleep on their stomach, not on their back. And they added rice cereal to bottles to thicken it which is a no-no. What if they did those things to your child? I mean the years of experience raising you and your siblings can’t possibly make them capable of watching YOUR baby for a few hours.

4. Bow-Chicka-Bow-Wow…No, just, no.

Even though many adoptive parents do not breastfeed, and you’re not physically recovering from a birth, sex still seems to take a back seat when a baby arrives. First of all, you are too focused listening to the baby monitor to make sure your new addition is breathing regularly to focus on having an enjoyable time with your significant other. And regardless of how a baby joins your family, there are always sleepless nights. New parents are exhausted and by time you hit the bed the only thing you can think of is actually sleeping. Even if you get up the mojo for some adult time, it will likely be interrupted by a crying baby. Even when they sleep through the night there is always the well-timed, “Daddy, Mommy? What are you DOING?” to ruin the mood.

5. Birth Family Relationships

Time to be serious for a moment. Interactions with birth families can be very stressful on a marriage. Rarely do both people agree on what openness will look like, or how the child should be told his/her story. And having visits in your home can be stressful for all involved. In MY experience the wife usually is more open to a higher frequency of visits than the husband. And also more inclusive of extended family in visits. It can create some strife when one side perceives the contact to be too much or too little. Figuring out how open your adoption will be and what visits will look like are the cause of a lot of arguments. If you need help contact your counselor. Many agencies offer post adoption services that will help you work through these concerns.

6. The “Awww” moment

It usually happens just when you think you have had it. Just as you stomp down the hall to the bathroom to have two seconds alone you see it. Your spouse, knee deep in dirty diapers, covered in spit up, singing and rocking your new baby. And your heart melts.  And you remember why you wanted all of this. The days and weeks are hard, but these moments make it worth it and you find yourself falling in love with your partner even more. You don’t need fancy dates, to hell with new furniture. You have one another, and that is what you wanted when you began this journey.

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Karen White

Karen White is the self-proclaimed leading authority on being "that mom." You know the one. The PTO Vice President, room mom, baseball team mom, AND leader of well-behaved kids (OK, the well-behaved part may be stretching it . . . like really stretching . . .) When she isn’t threatening to tackle one of her boys on the ball field if they don’t run faster, or convincing her 4-year-old daughter that everything doesn’t HAVE to sparkle, she is also a wife and stay-at-home mom of three. One of the three happens to have been adopted, but good luck figuring out which one it is, since they all have pasty white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes.


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