Life is all about relationships. I can’t even venture a guess on how many different types of relationships one person has in a lifetime, but there are some relationships that hold a stronger weight than others. The relationship between parents and children is one example, as well as the relationship between spouses. And, as we all know, spouses always agree on every decision from where they’d like to go out to eat to how best to raise their children.
Wouldn’t that be nice in a perfect world? Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and disagreements happen more often than we’d care to admit. But what happens when you disagree about the big stuff, like children and what’s okay when it comes to open adoption?
Believe it or not, it’s not the end of the world when you and your spouse have different opinions about open adoption, as long as both of you are willing to compromise and come to an agreement that works for your family. Here are a few suggestions about the types of conversations to have and how to have them.
Why are your opinions different?
Sorting out the “why” is a great way to begin to understand where your spouse is coming from. Maybe someone has very valid reasons for being on the fence as to how open they want their adoption to be, and that’s okay, but you have to discuss the reasons why. If the “whys” are big enough, then you will need further discussions to either overcoming the issue or coming to a compromise.
Choose your battles.
Once you have figured out your “whys,” the next step is choosing your battles, or rather ranking the issues in order of importance. Maybe the issue of being scared your child will become confused in an open adoption isn’t as important as the issue of your family’s safety in an open adoption. Ranking your issues will give you a starting point to figuring out what is most important to each of you. Maybe then you’ll be able to see that you agree on most of the big stuff, but it’s the small stuff where you disagree.
Are we putting our child first?
Adoption has many layers for all members of the triad, but as long as everyone is putting the needs of the child above their own needs, then (mostly) you can’t make a wrong decision. Look back at your ranks of big and small issues, and now look at that list and decide what issues are parent-centered and what issues are child-centered. This should narrow down that list even further, giving you and your spouse less to discuss later.
Once you have your narrowed down list, please be truthful with one another. There shouldn’t be any secrets in adoption and that includes secrets between parents as well. If you are truthful and kind when voicing your opinions, it’s much easier to talk about why these are important to you. It’s better to get everything out in the open before you are placed with a child rather than when that child is 10 years old and you’re still harboring uneasy feelings.
Educate yourself about open adoption.
Every adoption is different, but if you take the time to learn the pros and cons of open and closed adoptions, you will be making an informed decision and not letting your feelings dictate your decision. Deciding with your head AND your heart will benefit your relationship with your spouse and your future child.
Have the conversations, be truthful, and make a list–you might just find that you are closer to being on the same page than you think.