When Your Spouse Is Hesitant To Adopt Or Foster

Be sure you are in unity when planning your family.

Natalie Brenner March 14, 2017
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I have heard countless adoptive/foster parent stories beginning with one spouse being hesitant.

More often than not, one spouse is ready to jump into the adoption or foster care journey and the other is cautious, unsure, hesitant. Was this your story? Is this your current story? You’re not alone.

I was the “all-in, ready to go, why didn’t we start yesterday?” spouse and my husband was the “slow down, let me catch up and process life” spouse.

With two kids already, 14 months and younger, I was ready to talk about future adoptions or foster care and he was like, CAN WE MAKE IT TO YEAR THREE FIRST?

So what do you do when your spouse is hesitant to adopt or foster? What if they don’t even want to talk about it?

This may not speak to or work for every family, but this was our experience. I simply took one step at a time, inviting my husband along, and we thoroughly communicated.

Because I was “ready” to pursue adoption/foster care before he was, I had already been reading articles and educating myself about these areas of life. My heart was invested, his was not quite there. I had to slow down and invite him into the spaces with me.

Ask questions

Ask them why they were hesitant.

We uncovered fears he had about himself and the quality he would be as a dad. This created the opportunity for me to encourage him and point out strengths he was blind to. As he slowly saw in himself the unconditionally-loving man that I saw, his heart softened towards the idea of adding children that didn’t share our blood.

“Looking back, I can’t believe I was afraid I couldn’t love children without my blood the same as children with my blood…I love our son via adoption just as fiercely as I love our biological son. I would go to the moon for them both.” – My husband, Loren.

I asked him “hypothetically” if we would feel more comfortable starting with an infant or an older child. Once we talked through each avenue and type of adoption, it was clear to both of us we were to begin our family with domestic infant adoption. My husband, still hesitant but also willing to take one step at a time, heard my heart and desire to simply explore what our family could look like in the future.

Take the next simple step

We found Susan at Christian Adoption Consultants. We scoured the reviews, stalked her blog and decided a simple email to her wouldn’t hurt anything. That didn’t mean we were committing to start this giant journey, it just meant we were getting more information. Together, we sent off that first email to Susan, asking questions about our income and if it would even be possible for a youth pastor and photographer to adopt.

One step at a time

For our family, it worked to take one step at a time. Gently, simply and slowly (it felt so slow to me). As you begin to share information and really explore what fostering or adopting could look like for your family, allow each other space to process the information.

Find those who have gone before you

Seek out families in your community who have gone before you and adopted and/or fostered children. Let them know you are cautiously but honestly exploring adoption/foster care. Ask them why they adopted/fostered, ask them what they loved about it and what was hard. Ask them the questions you need to know. Ask them what they would tell someone like you– someone considering this big decision.

Communication is key

For the spouse who wished they started yesterday and the spouse who is hesitant, communication is key. Communicate why you are hesitant or nervous, communicate why you want to adopt/foster and empower one another with your communication.

Above all, be sure you are in unity when you take final steps of becoming a family for a child. For us, we took little steps at a time. In some moments, we had to pause to mentally process (individually and together) before moving forward. By the time we needed to invest financially, both of our hearts were so invested; it was an easy yes.

Are you ready to pursue a domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with a compassionate, experienced adoption professional who can help get you started on the journey of a lifetime.  

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Natalie Brenner

Natalie Brenner is wife to Loren and mom to two under two, living in Portland, Oregon. She is the best-selling author of This Undeserved Life. She likes her wine red, ice cream served by the pint, and conversations vulnerable. Natalie believes in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul. She's addicted to honesty and believes grief is the avenue to wholeness. Natalie is a bookworm, a speaker, and a lover of fall. Connect with her at NatalieBrennerWrites.com and join her email community.


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