“I want to adopt, but my husband doesn’t.”

I hear that phrase quite a bit from my friends, and I hear the longing in their voices. I heard a statistic recently that around 40% of practicing Christians had seriously considered adoption, but only around 5% had actually adopted. I wonder if part of the discrepancy is due to one spouse being on board with adoption while the other is happy to clap from the sidelines.

From my unscientific observations of those around me, it seems to be mostly the wife who wants to adopt and the husband who doesn’t. With that in mind, I’m talking to the women here.

I know it’s painful when you feel strongly about something and your spouse doesn’t. I know you are tempted to forward him pictures of waiting children, statistics, Bible verses about orphans, and sermons on adoption.

Please don’t.

You won’t win him over through guilt. Even if you could wear him down, would you want to enter into such a huge, painful, uncertain, faith-stretching process without your husband on the same page? Trust me, you don’t want that. You need to be united, or you won’t succeed. Not only will the adoption suffer, but your marriage might be ruined, as well.

It’s not worth it.

My husband and I have adopted three children, but at times, he was hesitant to move forward. Each time, there was a real possibility that we were done growing our family–even if I didn’t feel done.

I’m a huge proponent of adoption, but adoption does not trump your marriage.

Here are a few reasons why you should wait instead of pushing adoption on your husband:

1. God designed marriage first and parenthood second. If you don’t have a strong marriage you aren’t going to be an effective parent, so while you are waiting for clear direction, take the time to work on your marriage. Get closer to your husband and look for ways to bless him.

2. I truly believe that God will not call one spouse to something this life-changing without also calling the other spouse. If you feel called to adoption, you have to wait until your husband feels called, too.

3. You aren’t your husband’s Holy Spirit. It’s not your job to change his heart. God cares more about hurting children than you do, so if He wants you to adopt, He can put that desire in your husband’s heart. He doesn’t need your help.

So what should you do when you find yourself in this situation?

Your responsibility is to pray. Hard. Pray every time you get that urge for a child.

Father, you know the desire of my heart. I want to adopt, but my husband isn’t ready. I want to honor my husband and honor You, Father. If you want us to adopt, please change my husband’s heart. Place the desire in him so that he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the direction we should go. Help him listen to your prompting and not be afraid to go into the unknown.

But Father, if this is not your plan for us, change my heart. Help me to be content in our current situation instead of constantly longing for a child. Take that desire from me, and show me other ways I can fulfill your purpose in my life.

Either way, Father, help me to crave you as much as I crave a child. Help me to turn my thoughts to you whenever that familiar longing arises. Help me remember that you are the only one who can fill my heart. Help me draw close to you in these hard moments.

Friend, I know how miserable you might feel right now. Just because your husband says no to adoption now doesn’t mean he won’t want to adopt in the future. You have to wait for God to lay it on your husband’s heart as strongly as He has on yours.  If that doesn’t happen, you must honor his decision.

Either way, God has amazing things planned for your life, and He will honor your obedience.