disclaimer: I am a Christ-following, stay-at-home mama. So, it would naturally follow that this post is written from the perspective of a Christ-following, stay-at-home mama. My goal here is to encourage, and to help others who are struggling. This is simply my opinion, from lessons I’ve learned on this journey called life. I am not a professional, nor do I play one on TV.
If you don’t want to hear my thoughts on adoption, marriage and sex, stop reading now.
Otherwise, let’s do this thing.
A question I hear frequently is, “How can I get my husband to agree to adopt?”
Which I guess shouldn’t be a big surprise because, well… my husband did say yes. Seven times.
But he has said no many, many more times than that.
Each and every no was for me.
But each yes? Those were for God.
And, thankfully, my husband knew the difference.
I didn’t just come to this realization overnight. It has been a long road for me, from a time of being almost blinded by a longing, to fully understanding and choosing to embrace God’s plan for my life. I have struggled with the sadness and frustration at what seemed to be an insurmountable impasse in our relationship:
I wanted to bring home another child.
He absolutely, positively did not.
While there is no magic wand, I do believe that there are some things that a wife can do to facilitate her husband in fully evaluating a potential adoption.
If you’ve found yourself in this spot – wanting to adopt but your husband does not – I’m guessing that in this struggle the waters at your house got muddied a bit. And I say this from first-hand, been-there-done-that experience. But with certain hindrances moved aside, you both might be surprised by his answer. Please be mindful though, the goal here is not to convince a husband to do something he is not feeling lead to do. But it might possibly be the outcome.
I encourage any woman feeling burdened with a desire to adopt to put her passion into action. If it’s eating you up inside, do something about it! Even if your husband is adamantly disagreeing, there are several things you can do to ease this longing.
1. Examine your spiritual walk.
Have you been spending a good bit of time with Him? Or is your Bible gathering dust? Are you going to God with your feelings? Are you praying not only for this burden on your heart, but for His leading? Be certain that you give yourself adequate time to pray, and to listen, to be very clear that this desire to adopt is from Him, and not simply a desire to add to your family through adoption. Might you be feeling called to do some volunteer work for the orphan? Sponsor a child? Advocate for those who wait?
Choosing to adopt a child is a monumental decision that involves not only you and your husband, but your children at home, as well as this potential future child. As a Christian, it is imperative to check all decisions through the Big Guy… but one of this magnitude especially.
Once you’re sure that this desire isn’t going to go gently into that good night, keep on praying. All the time. Write yourself notes and place them in your house to remind you during the day to give this process over to Him. If He lays a verse on your heart, write it out and memorize it. Pray for your heart, your husband’s heart. And that God – who established marriage as the uniting of two people into one – will unify you and your husband.
Don’t doubt that the God who created the universe can change your husband’s heart, if it is indeed His will.
The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases. ~ Proverbs 21:1
2. Examine your relationships.
Who – after the Big Guy – is number one to you? When your heart is hurting, who is on your speed dial? I hope the answer to this question is your husband, but if you’re like I was not too long ago, the answer is probably a sister or a big-hearted girlfriend. Often, as women, we turn to the people most likely to understand us, which is often another female. But in sharing with others instead of our husbands, we lose that intimacy that God intended for a husband and wife. We slowly disconnect when we share parts of ourselves with others instead of our husbands… until it doesn’t seem so natural to share our heart with him anymore.
I encourage you to wholeheartedly share everything with your husband. Make a date with him. Ask him to set aside some time on a Saturday to sit down with you, after the kids are in bed, to just talk. And if you’re burdened with a desire to adopt, then naturally, you’d share that along with anything else you’ve got on your heart. Be certain that your intentions are purely to share, though. And while you don’t expect him to solve anything, ask that he simply listen. Resist the desire to over-share by praying over the things that you want to bring to your husband before sitting down with him. And once you’ve given him the information, let it be. Don’t look for a reaction from him or you probably be disappointed. Try to share with him like you would a girlfriend… not trying to convince, just unburdening your heart.
It took me years to come to this realization. During one especially difficult period for me – in which I felt like my husband not only didn’t understand me, but didn’t want to understand me – God opened my eyes to the fact that every time a child captured me, or an abandonment story made me cry, or a desperate adoption situation touched my heart, instead of turning to my husband, I was turning to my girlfriends.. who understood. But how could I expect him to know me, to understand, if I didn’t share with him exactly what was going on in my heart?
Once I began to share with him, with a desire to simply let him in on all that burdened me, our relationship changed. If I read a story and the Holy Spirit nudged me, I’d email him the link. If I saw a picture that spoke to my heart, I’d send it to him, or print it out and show him. I am blessed with a wonderful husband, who tries his best to be there for me, but I can assure you that sitting and listening to me talk about the orphan crisis isn’t his first choice for an evening together. Eventually though, once he understood my goal was to open myself up to him, he began to ask questions. Often we’d pray for these kiddos… for protection, for health, and to find their forever families. And somehow, that really did make me feel better. Not just because I was able to unburden my heart, but because we were becoming more connected. And together, through prayer, we were doing something. And as I began to feel unburdened, and understood, I found that the resentment and frustration that has been building silently inside me began to melt away.
And I realized that I didn’t need him to say yes to me. I just needed him to understand me.
3. Examine your household.
How does your house run? Really?
Are you able to, for the most part, manage your house well? If the answer is “yes”, then good for you! Pat yourself on the back and skip the next few paragraphs. But if the answer is a resounding “no”, or you’re not quite sure how to answer, or you want to say yes, but you know you’d be lying, then I encourage you to take a few minutes today – and look around. Where is there room for improvement? If you put that emotional energy you have into action, you might be very surprised with the result. Use it as motivation to work harder to keep your home maintained, and to even set the bar higher for yourself. If your husband comes home to a chaotic home every night, he’s not likely to dream of adding another child, which inherently includes more chaos, into the mix.
This dawned on me a few years ago, as we were considering beginning the paperwork to adopt our 7th child. Although it was heavy on my heart, another adoption felt completely overwhelming. So, since my husband was reluctant – and so was I! – I decided to up my game. I rolled up my sleeves to see just how efficiently I could manage our home. I needed to answer my own questions…. Could I really do more? Could I manage my kiddos at home even better and add another child? Could I take more of the burden off Chris’ shoulders so that he could be freed up to enjoy more downtime at home?
I was determined that it was in no one’s best interest to adopt again if I could not be sure that I could do it, and that I was ready to do it.
The result was quite surprising. As much as I thought I was doing before, somehow I was able to do more. And the more I did it, the easier it became. I liken it to working out (except this didn’t do much for my behind) in that the more you do it, the better you get and the more it becomes a habit. Before, I’d let Chris bathe the kids at night, after he came home from work. But this left little time for the two of us before bedtime. So I began to bathe the kids in the early evening, before he came home. Also, I planned further in advance for dinner time. I tried to, as much as possible, have dinner on the table when he got home from work. This allowed us to have some relaxed downtime with the kids before bedtime, and then, once they were in bed, we were able to spend some time together, alone.
I also tried to do more things around the house… things I might have put on my honey-do list before. I didn’t get crazy but, fixing a squeaky door here and putting in a new air filter there, I was surprised at how easily I could fit these things into my day. The result was a much shorter of a list for my husband to tackle on the evenings and weekends. And that meant a less stressed, more relaxed, happier husband.
All of this effort resulted in a whole new normal for us. I’ve been able to maintain this for the most part, even though now we have brought four more little ones home. In my effort to determine if I could run my home more efficiently, I realized that not only could I, but that everyone would benefit from my effort, including myself.
And let me reiterate that I am just a regular mom. Flawed in so many ways. And God just simply blesses my efforts, like I know He will bless yours. The payoff has really been huge, not only for Chris and my relationship, but for our family as a whole.
4. Examine your marriage.
Notice I said “marriage”and not “husband”. This is a two-person commitment and above all things, you must be equally committed to bringing a child into your family. Adoption is a huge undertaking, one filled with numerous blessings, but that can also be challenging and oh-so taxing. Don’t underestimate the toll it can take – in the early weeks and months especially.
And now for a whopper… how is your sex life? If you’re like most women, it’s not a priority to you. And, I’m not gonna lie, my knee-jerk reaction is the same. I don’t give it a whole lot of thought.
You should. It’s something I’m working on, and I believe God wants me to understand fully what a significant role this plays in a marriage. If I expect my husband to sit down with me, making time to talk about what is on my heart, I should also try to understand his needs as well. Men and women are, for the most part, simply wired differently. And as important as it is to you to feel loved and understood, that is how important it is to your man to have his needs met. If you can’t make time for him as often as you want him to make time for you, I encourage you to reconsider your priorities. As Christian women, it’s our job to honor God and honor our husbands… and then take care of everything else. And when we honor God, well, it’s just a really good thing in every way. Spending that kind of time with yo’ man is an investment in time and energy that yields some amazing relational results.
So, the real answer to the question, “How can I get my husband to agree to adopt?” is this:
Nor should you want to. Okay, you might want to. But that really wouldn’t be a good thing. If you focus on the work at hand – your relationship with the Lord, your relationship with your husband and your work at and around the home – then, even if another child is not what your future holds, you, your marriage and your family will be immeasurably blessed.
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” ~ 1 Chronicles 28:20