Sunday, November 19, 2006

When The Wife Wants To Adopt But The Husband Doesn't

I've meant to write this post for a while now due to the personal emails I receive from wives who want to adopt, but hubby isn't there yet. So, here's my two cents as a wife who has been there, but is now waiting for my two adopted kids to come home from Ethiopia.

First, DON'T NAG!!!!!
Second, DON'T NAG!!!!
Third, DON'T NAG!!!!!!!!!


There. That's my two cents.

Seriously, I'll share a bit of our backstory with my readers today. I don't remember a time that I didn't want to adopt kids from the third world. I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be a mother. (Well, that's not entirely true. When I spent 20 hours non-stop picking lice eggs out of Kaitlyn's hair recently, I stopped wanting to be a mother around 4:00AM as she slept on my lap and I was still picking them out!! After a few hours of sleep, I wanted to be a mom again after that! :) )

I really wanted to adopt right after Kaitlyn was born. For several reasons, we did not persue adoption at that time, but one of the reasons is because while Avery supported the idea, he wasn't quite there yet as far as the two of us actually adopting. I could be wrong, but I think that one of his biggest reasons was the enormous cost. He just wouldn't consider it and always told me "no" when I brought it up.

So, I just accepted that if this was really something that God wanted for our family that He would speak to Avery's heart about the issue too. Honestly, has nagging ever gotten a wife anywhere. Well, alright, sometimes husbands do what the wife wants just so she'll stop nagging. But his heart isn't in it. And you definitely don't want to adopt a kid just to shut the wife up! Both hearts need to be 110% in it for the long haul! So, I resisted the urge to bring it up every week. Every so often, when I was really feeling the desire to adopt, I would ask him where he was on the issue. And when he wasn't there yet, I accepted that and let it drop for the time being. In December 2004 I started to feel very burdened for the child(ren) that would someday be mine. I felt like God was speaking to my heart that their mother had died and that I really needed to start praying for them in a new way. As crazy as I felt, I figured that it certainly couldn't hurt anything to pray along these lines. So, that's what I did.

In March 2005, I went to a Rita Springer conference. There, I saw Rita Springer speaking to a group of women, toting her very dark brown 3-month-old newly adopted son, Justice. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. The conference wasn't about adoption. She discussed Justice's adoption regarding how it impacted her music. But her speech wasn't about his adoption. Yet, watching Rita Springer talk about "the colors of worship" while she, a white woman, toted around this little Zimbabwean baby who was so very much HERS, changed me. I had lunch with a friend that day. I didn't say a word about it to her, but she just looked at me and asked, "So, when are you going to adopt?" My response, "When God tells Avery it's time, I'm already there."

I went home that day, told Avery yet again that I wanted to adopt a baby, and to my surprise, he said, "Yes." But it was conditional. He said that we could adopt, but we absolutely couldn't afford to go into debt for it. Now, we had just spent almost our entire tax return on paying off our car. There was less than $1,000 in our savings account. I am a stay-at-home mom. Avery is a good provider for our family. But we sure didn't have any conceivable means of affording an adoption on our own. Yet, I thought that if God was really in this, God would show us how to come up with the money. More on that in a future post.

Much later, Avery did tell me that he had really started to feel the pull to adopt around Dec. of 2004- the same time at which I felt that God was prompting me that the kids' mother had died. Their mother, Denkenesh (You are wonderful) had died in Sept 2004 and in Dec. 2004, our adoption agency was busy taking their first video of Yosef and Mihret in the hopes of finding them a family. But, afraid of the cost, he thought he'd wait for me to bring it up.

Now, wives, I certainly don't want to mislead you into thinking that Avery was instantly 100% on board. Now, he's 200% on board. But it was a process. In the beginning stages of our adoption, I was the one who did the research on agencies. I was the one who gathered the documents for our dossier. Five months later, in July 2005, we submitted our completed dossier to our agency. We spent the next several months raising money. As we went to various churches to make our presentation about the need for Christians to care for the orphans of the world, Avery began to do research for his part of the presentation. I doing reserach, his heart began to really break for these kids.

Now, we had wanted to adopt one girl under the age of five. Secretly, I also wanted to adopt a son, but we still hadn't come close to raising the money we need for just one kid. Much less two. Not to mention the fact that we would need a larger vehicle if we adopted two kids. So, I again figured that if God wanted us to do it that He would have to be the one to tell Avery. Lucas had been asking for a brother for a year at this point, and we just kept telling him to ask God for a brother. (Really our way of telling him no!). I'll never forget the night that I heard Avery upstairs praying for Lucas as he tucked him in. As always, Lucas asked Avery for a brother, insisting that his Ethiopian sister also had a brother whose parents had died. To my surprise, Avery said, "Okay, you can have a brother too." WHAT???????!!!!!!!!!

So, in Sept. 2005 we received our referral for Mihret and Yosef. One look at their pictures, and Avery's heart was 100% captured. These were our kids!

Oh yea, God has also provided 100% of the money we needed for BOTH kids. Not to mention Avery's trip to visit the kids this past July.

So, ladies, please don't be discouraged if hubby isn't on board just yet. Don't give up. Truthfully, he might never be on the same page. And that's okay because God's responsible for telling hubby what to do anyway. God understands your desire to adopt, as He's the One who gave you that desire! So, instead of nagging hubby about your desire, talk to God about it. Ask God why hubby isn't on the same page. Is there something else that God wants you to do with this desire? Is it just not the right time yet? Talk to God. And then, listen to what He wants to say back to you. Keep an open dialogue with hubby. Try to understand the reasons behind his, "no." And don't feel crazy to start praying for the kids that you don't know if you'll ever even adopt! Crazy or not, they need people to be praying for them. And to those of you who have sent me emails, know that I've taken time to pray for you as I've read your emails and continue to pray for you as you come to mind. I hope to oneday soon read many new emails and blogs from families starting this process.


richlisad said...

You are so right Heather. We pray for all the kids God has for us (He already knows, you know) and Lisa even prays regularly for our kids spouses.

You can never start too early. He has an eternal plan, that has been around for eternity, so we are really getting started pretty late in the game if we just start praying now.

Avery said...

Really you did all the leg work and research because I'm lazy, and you know that


Anonymous said...

Great post - my favorite part are steps one through three. Impossible! It was also really good to hear more of your story.


Michelle said...

thanks for thr post Heather.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I've been bringing the topic of adoption up with my husband for a while now. We are not able to have biological children, and he is struggling with seeing an adopted child as his own. We are in very different places, and I didn't really know what to do about that until I read your post. I can and I will pray...some more. Sometimes I feel like I've prayed enough, but I know that it a bit silly now that I've "said" it out loud! Again...thanks!

Anonymous said...

Once you have a an adopted child, my experience is that there is no difference in treating it as your own.

Anonymous said...

I came across you post searching for issues related to a wife wanting to adopt while the hubby is opposed to it. I am sincerely happy your husband changed his mind. However I hardly believe such naive views of may influence hubby. I have tried to tell my wife she can pray all day she will not have change my mind (I have my reasons and it would be too long to put them here, but I can tell they are thought through and robust). She has strong faith and I have been trying to explain to here that praying for me changing my mind is loss of time and will lead to disappointment. I have the feeling that she still spends lots of time doing so. What can I do to make her understand that she will not change things?
Maybe a solution is to start to pray for her to understand that it will not happen?

Sadly, this blog, despite your warnings about the "maybe it will never happen", is going to bring flase hope and great disappointment to many women.

Kaitlyn said...

To my previous commentor:

It sounds like this must be a really hard situation with your wife wanting to adopt, otherwise, you wouldn't have read my blog! Really, I don't envy being in either of your shoes because I know what it feels like when a husband and wife want different things and there really isn't a reasonable compromise. One person is going to have to give.

I certainly hope that nobody derives false hope from my blog, as that definitely is not my intention. I stand by my advice that for a family to adopt when the husband isn't completely on board is a disaster waiting to happen and in my humble opinion, just shouldn't happen. No matter how much the wife wants it.

Oh, the pull for motherhood to both biological and adopted children can be ever so strong in a woman! It can drive us crazy to where we barely recognize what seems to be a former shell of ourselves before we were consumed by the desire. It sounds like maybe your wife is experiencing some of that.

I would like to challenge both you and your wife though to ask God what He wants for your family and to do nothing until He answers both of you. But you have to really be listening. Maybe He'll speak directly to your heart, or maybe it'll be a dream, or maybe you'll just know what you are supposed to do, or maybe it'll be in some other way. Maybe He won't even say anything about adoption for a while, but He'll show you both how to deal with each other's thoughts on the issue until the time that He does speak. While we're all called to care for orphans (James 1:27), we're NOT all called to adopt! And perhaps your wife has a special soft spot in her heart for orphans that God doesn't intend to result in adopting one of them. Or maybe He has plans for you that you have never even thought of yet? Who knows?

Anyway, I'm sorry my blog couldn't be more helpful to you, as I can only imagine the shoes you're in. If you're afraid your wife might get false hope fom reading it, pray she doesn't find it! Or leave her a message with your name so she'll know you've already stumbled across my blog before her! :)


Anonymous said...


My husband has finally agreed to talk to someone (another man) about his struggles with adoption and how he overcame them.... problem is, i'm not sure where to find someone who can talk to him!



Anonymous said...

it's been so long, and my heart aches and hubby hasn't budged one bit. I have and do talk to God and I always doubt if he did give me this desire but, constantly ask for him to take it away because it hurts so much and never seems hubby will give in. Please pray for me.