A Reluctant Spouse: When Only One Partner Wants to Adopt

Dawn Davenport


Reluctant spouse in adoption

What if your spouse is not excited about the idea of adoption? What if he/she is downright resistant?

When I hear adoption professionals say that you shouldn’t consider adoption unless both partners are 100% on board, I wonder what planet they are living on.  From my interviews with many adopting couples and from my personal experience, I have found that in the beginning almost always one partner is more interested in adoption than the other.

Some Reluctance is the Norm

Although I’m writing this about adoption, I’ve seen this situation repeat itself with donor egg and surrogacy.   One partner is ready to move up the treatment ladder sooner than the other.  Heck, let’s be honest, we all know couples who face this issue when they are thinking about becoming parents without the complications of infertility or adoption.  Maybe that is why there are so many accidental pregnancies with married couples in this day of effective birth control.  Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, it is impossible to accidentally adopt so a spouse’s reluctance must be fully considered.

Easy answers elude me when one spouse wants to adopt and the other does not.  My hubby and I had always planned on adopting, but we hadn’t necessarily planned on having four children.  After our third child was born, I still felt a very strong pull to adopt.   My husband did not.  His resistance had nothing to do with adoption and everything to do with being the father of four.  He wondered whether he had the time for another child, whether his work would suffer with more kids, or whether his guilt would increase over the time he devoted to work.  Would this child have needs that demanded even more time and money?  Wasn’t he too old to have another child?  The whole idea of adopting seemed risky, and he didn’t feel the need to take the risk.  I did.

Communication is Key

I don’t have any magic answers.  What worked for us, may not work for you.  We kept the lines of communication open; talking about it more than he wanted, but less than I wanted.  I asked his permission to share my research with him.  I tried to understand his concerns more than I tried to convince him.  After about a year, he became more comfortable with the time and financial commitment.  He loved me enough and valued my happiness enough to take the risk.  We compromised on what special needs or disabilities we were willing to consider.  And we slowly moved forward.  For what it’s worth, our daughter has been the apple of his eye from the moment he first held her, and he says he has never regretted his decision for one minute.

The first step should be trying to understand why your partner is hesitant to adopt.  Don’t assume you know.  He or she could be thinking any of the following:

  • Can I love a child that is not biologically related?
  • Can we afford to adopt?
  • Do I want to be a parent at all, especially if it’s not going to happen the “old fashioned way”?
  • Am I ready to stop infertility treatments and give up all hope of having a birth child?
  • Will I feel like a failure if I can’t biologically have a child?
  • Am I too old to become a parent?
  • Do I have the time or do I want to devote the time to being a parent?
  • How will my parents or older children react?
  • What type of medical or emotional problems may this child have?
  • We already have birth children, why complicate things?

When You Can’t Agree

You’ve reached an impasse.  You want to adopt but your partner doesn’t.  What do you do?

Keep talking.

Don’t assume that if it isn’t said, it isn’t felt.  If the reluctant partner feels that this is all you talk about, agree to a set time each week to talk about this subject.  Talk about what each of your hopes and dreams are from parenting in general.  When he is speaking, really listen rather than planning your rebuttal.  Seek to understand more than convince.

As strange as this may seem, share your own fears about adopting.  You know you have them.  The relationship dynamics of some couples is to balance each other out.  Yin and yang are great for philosophical discussions, but lousy for decision making if one partner is stuck at yin while the other is clinging to yang for dear life.

Let him know that you want to start getting educated on adoption and ask his permission to share the information with him as you go along.  Don’t expect him to be as enthusiastic as you.

Join an online adoption support group for people considering adoption.  Encourage your partner to participate as well.  Talking with others who have similar concerns can be helpful.  Introduce a thread on reluctant spouses.  You’ll be surprised at how many people have had this experience.

Take a break from infertility treatments for a set period of time, with the agreement that you can resume if you still want to once the break is over.  Spend time enjoying your life as a couple.  Remember why you married each other in the first place.

Attend an “in person” support group for adoptive families or an informational meeting at an adoption agency, with the promise that this does not mean a commitment to adopt.  Spending time with families formed by adoption is amazingly helpful to normalize the process and to provide an opportunity to ask questions.  If your spouse feels it is too soon to do this, agree to revisit this option at a set time in the future.

If you are feeling particularly stuck, visit a therapist to help with communication, and if applicable, choose one that understands infertility issues.  It’s not always easy to find a counselor with this expertise, but we’ve provided some suggestions on our Coping with Infertility Grief page.

Give Him Time

As hard as it may be, give your partner time.  Each of us has a different speed and style for processing grief and making decisions.  If you are totally committed to him or her regardless of whether you ever become parents, say so.  If not, talk with a therapist before you issue an ultimatum.

Ultimately, you should not try to force (or coerce or guilt) your spouse into something as major as becoming a parent.  It likely won’t be effective since during the home study the social worker will delve into each of your reasons for wanting to adopt.  And though it can be faked during the interview with the social worker, every child deserves to be truly wanted by both parents.

P.S. Check out our video on The Reluctant Spouse-When One Partner is Hesitant to Adopt

Image credit:  Naomi

18/11/2015 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 80 Comments

80 Responses to A Reluctant Spouse: When Only One Partner Wants to Adopt

  1. Avatar Cassie says:

    As the wife that doesn’t want to adopt I find this kind of gross. This insinuates that your partner’s wishes to not adopt are invalid, so you pester and possibly threaten them with sentiments along the lines of: (I’m reading the comments) “if you loved me you’d do anything for me” which is emotionally manipulative. I had adoption sprung on me after 10+ years of telling him that I wasn’t interested in child rearing. He took that to mean that he could still adopt and now I have a spouse I probably shouldn’t be married to, because we clearly have different wants. These are things you’re supposed to talk about early and often. Adoption is HARD and not for everyone, and manipulating your spouse into a position they could regret is unethical.

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

      I’m so sorry, Cassie. That sounds like a very painful dynamic going on in your marriage. You are absolutely right – manipulation and coercion are NOT ways to dialogue about this issue of family building. However, there are other, healthier ways to talk through the issues of changing wants, needs, and expectations you are both experiencing.

      Have you guys looked into therapy to talk with a neutral third party that can help you parse out the issues and find healthy ways to either compromise or move forward in another way? We highly recommend that you do so — regardless of the outcome of the conversations, counseling can help you clarify what you need and want from the conversation.

      Best wishes to you.

  2. Avatar Jake says:

    So my wife wants to adopt a Child, and I want to let her; but I do not want to be (leagally speaking) part of it. I was divorced once and it was such a huge betrayal, and I don’t think I could ever give someone the power over my livelihood that comes with having a child together again. I love the idea of giving a child a caring, well provisioned home, and I completely support my wife; but I am just not willing to take the chance of her divorcing me down the line and taking me to court for thousands of dollars a month in child support. We have talked about it and she is okay with my position and she understands me: But is it even possible for a woman to adopt a child while married and be solely responsible leagally in the US?

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:


      It’s important that you both understand that the responsibilities in the adoption of a child are the same from a legal standpoint, as if your wife gives birth. And should be approached the same from an emotional standpoint. We suggest that you contact both an adoption or family law attorney and a social worker to find out more information.

  3. Avatar Marie says:

    My husband and I are fostering his 2 year old nephew. The outlook for this child returning back to his mother does not looks good. Our relationship has been challenging during the last 8 months of fostering. My husband has been threating our marriage with an ultimatum of me signing the adoption paper work or getting divorce if I do not sign. His behavior has me confused and more reluctant not wanting to sign the adoption paper. Our adoption conversations has been intense and emotional with an unfamiliar man that I do not know. Adopting this child is the right thing to do but I don’t want to be pressure into something. I support my husband to adopt his nephew but I don’t know if this is acceptable within the AR law. Other concerns, if sign the adoption paper work to save my marriage who says on down the road we divorce. Than, I am obligated to pay child support for his nephew. Is there any way around for an adopted parent to pay child support since this is my husband family?

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Marie, you’ve raised good questions that you need professional help in answering. I strongly suggest that you and your husband get into counseling immediately to help you move forward in a constructive way and to help you understand how to better work together in the future. Parenting in general, and adoptive parenting in specific, require the ability to openly communicate and creative problem solving. It sounds like you and your husband could use some help in this area. You will have to ask an attorney in your state about the issue of future child support. I wish you the very best of luck.

  4. Avatar Maya says:

    Hi! How does a wife deal with her husband’s immense fear of the homestydy / interview part? We’re talking terrified here. He hasn’t had the best of childhoods and thinks this will ruin things for us even though I keep explaining that the whole point of the interviews is to establish whether we’d be good parents ourselves, whether we have learned from our parents’ mistakes etc. At least that’s how I have it in my head. He also thinks it’s an immensely invasive procedure to our privacy. I, on the other hand, think it’s nothing next to the physical and psychological torture of misscarriages/ failed IVFs I’ve endured. He is willing to do it but is terrified and overall very negative about whether the whole thing will work out, to the point that I have doubts whether to proceed with the application or not. Any advice?

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

      Hi Maya! I’m so glad you asked that question. I think it’s a pretty common fear for anyone, given that the questions can feel intrusive, especially to a private person. He is not alone in worry about the idea of sharing details of your finances, relationship dynamics, and family of origin stuff. Like you, I think it might be helpful if he could try to think about the homestudy as an opportunity for the caseworker or social worker to get to know you in ways that can ensure a good match between you and a prospective child. He might just need more information to do that. We have some fantastic resources to help “de-mystify” the homestudy process. I’ll link them below.

      If you two aren’t already part of our online community, I highly recommend it for the peer support of other BTDT families. We talk about homestudy concerns fairly often! Our group is here: http://ow.ly/ORBh30hlXPY

      Some resources you and your husband might find helpful are here:

      Surviving the Dreaded Adoption Homestudy: http://ow.ly/v0yS30hlXVO
      Adoption 101 (overview of adoption options): http://ow.ly/D8WJ30hlYi1
      What to Expect in the Adoption Homestudy: http://ow.ly/wRov30hlYqY

      We hope these help the two of you talk through your concerns and worries productively. And we wish you well in building your family.

  5. Avatar robenmoore says:

    When I became the ‘birth mother’ I was dating a really cool guy. I had just graduated from high school and started college, and he was finishing high school. I found out I was pregnant pretty soon after we began our relationship. We waited to tell our parents because I did not want to be forced to have an abortion after few months being pregnant my boyfriend passed away due to cancer of the skin. For a young woman, finding out she’s pregnant before she feels ready to be a mother can be terrifying and challenging. Perhaps one of the only things harder is deciding to place the baby for adoption , I have been looking for a family that will have a private adoption with me been searching a free-style, family or any single one willing to have his or her family through adoption . At the time I felt so lost and confused. I didn’t know what to do with my life, including the fact that a new life was coming. I grew up in poverty and knew that was not an option I was willing to consider for my child. At the time, I was planning on keeping my baby, but one day adoption came up in my mind . I sought out what it meant and what the expectations were. I was so scared and didn’t want to do it. After receiving advice from a church rev sister she informed me to search for an adoptive parent for my child here and after praying i decided to create a an account to begin the journey . I am begging anyone who sees this post to share my story and post to help me locate a loving family for my child…

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

      It sounds like you are in a place of crisis and I am so sorry. It is important that you seek support and advice on all your options, including parenting this child, from a professional. Most communities have free or low cost mental health services for people in crisis. We strongly urge you to seek out this help for you and for your child. If you decide that adoption is the best option, then you should consult with either an adoption agency or adoption attorney in your area.

    • Avatar Niccole Francis says:

      … My husband and I are unable to have children of our own and are seeking adoption to complete our family. please contact me. Thank you.

      • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:


        We appreciate your longing to build your family by adoption. However we are not a placing or matching agency. If you are pursuing adoption, it’s best to seek out an agency or attorney to help you navigate the journey ethically and legally. We have a great resource to help you think through the process of choosing an adoption professional that suits your needs: http://ow.ly/DXX430fW1kk

        Best wishes to you!

  6. Avatar MommyMor says:

    I have a 15 year old and my husband and I have a 22 month old that was frankly a natural miracle. We have been trying to have a baby for about 8 months (I’m 35 and he is 41). I kinda figure it won’t happen, I am willing to try artificial insemination (with his sperm) but since I have 2 kids I think doing IVF is a little silly- but I do have an insane desire for more kids. I would like to be pregnant again but that isn’t a requirement for me. I have ALWAYS wanted to adopt through the foster care system but my husband wants no part of it really. He promises to keep an open mind as long as I keep an open mind to being “done”. We will probably try the AS before we talk more about fostering/adopting since that is what he wants but I remain concerned that whether it works or not he will never come around to the idea. I am involved with a local foundation that helps foster kids and their families and this is currently a pleasing outlet for me and I feel happy about this. Maybe some of you could use volunteering as 1 of your first steps? I can say that my husband was much more stubborn about the idea before I started volunteering.. So I guess we have made progress. Just a thought. There ARE more ways to help kids than to parent them.

  7. Avatar Kitty Kat says:

    I can say with 100% certainty that few people understand what an adoption actually entails. In the US it is a long, invasive procedure from which you might walk away unscathed, and less likely, with a child. We were unlucky enough to succeed. They even rushed us through the courts, which I thought was odd at the time. Turns out we adopted a psychopath who has completely destroyed our lives. A master manipulator who turns people against each other, destroys everything they touch, and gets enjoyment out of leaving a disturbed trail in their path. After fighting for years to keep them in our home, against a state court no less.

    Unless both spouses are completely dedicated to BOTH the idea of adopting AND to each other, do yourself a favor and stop fantasizing about the happy family you don’t have. Appreciate the family you already have, children or no children. Appreciate everything you have in your life. This grass looks inviting, but is full of stabbing burrs. Appreciate the soft grass you walk on today, and walk in the other direction.

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

      I’m so sorry for the really hard things you have endured as a result of your adoption. These stories are always heart-breaking for all involved.

      Your advice to be thankful for what you have and where you are in life though, is very good counsel. Both for those waiting to become parents and those who have to come to terms with remaining childless. Very hard to do but a key to contentment for sure.

      We wish you well. And we hope that you have surrounded yourself with healthy, supportive people that can walk the path of healing with you.

    • Avatar R Tschida says:

      I’m sorry you’re hurting. You and your family may all benefit from some counseling. Continuing to live with the level of anger and viciousness I read in your email is not a recipe for a peaceful future.

      • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

        Yes, counseling can always be beneficial when family members are at an impasse or when one finds it intolerable to live with such pain and is ready to change. It’s such a personal and painful place to be and not being on the same page as your spouse or partner surely complicates the issues. As Dawn said in another comment, even if your partner won’t go for help, there is no reason you can’t seek out the help for you.

  8. Avatar Denise Toffanello says:

    My husband and I have been married for 11 years. When we dating he said he wanted kids, after we were married he changed his mind. I have brought up adoption before and walked out,we were able to fix our marriage. But I have been to afraid to talk to him about me wanting to adopt. It has been over five years since I brought it up, I can’t get pregnant never even got pregnant once he won’t go to the doctor for it either.

  9. Avatar sam says:

    hi i have a question my husband want to adopt his sister’s son he is 10 years old and am not agreed at all is he still able to adopt him without knowledge me! i think he might do his adoption without my knowledge if legally possible

  10. Avatar Laurence says:

    If you want to adopt but your spouse does not, is it possible do just adopt as a single parent? I mean, you adopt the child and the spouse then will be able to adopt the child later if he/she feels like it as if he was a regular stepparent. It is something that is legally possible?

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      I can’t give you legal advice and every state is quite different, but I can say that I know of no adoption agency that would allow this.

  11. Avatar T says:

    I can’t find the video.

  12. Avatar Jme says:

    Hi All,

    The post has helped me a lot explain things a bit more to my partner. I’m 27 and she is 26.
    We have known each other for over 10 years but have only started dating in the last 6 months or so.
    We have discussed having children and even went to the extent of picking names etc. then we were discussing things the other day and she then said she didn’t have any desire to have children of her own but would love to adopt.
    I’ve always loved kids and always wanted to have kids but I’m not sure how I’d feel about adopting over having my own biologically. There are members of her family who have adopted but they were older and couldn’t have children on there own, but they have such a loving family it’s amazing to see.
    I just don’t know where I stand on the situation, always having wanted my own kids I don’t know if I could act the same if the child was adopted.

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Jme, you both need to get educated on the realities of adoption. You also need to start the dialog about how both of your needs can be met. You didn’t say when you wanted to start a family, but given your ages, you have some time to get educated and start sharing. If you feel like you are getting stuck, get yourselves to a marriage counselor, even before you get married. I think the decision of having kids is such a major one that you must work it out before you get married.

  13. Pingback: Adopting When Your Partner is Reluctant | Love Builds Families

  14. Avatar Tasha says:

    Hello you wonderful people,

    I can understand your sorrow so well. When I was dating my husband, we both expressed children were a must. Not in the world did I expect there could be trouble with infertility. After a year of trying we started the adoption process, because we were already in our late 30s, and were afraid, if we waited to long , we wouldn´t be considered for adoption anymore because of our age. Then the miracle happened and I gave birth to our beautiful son shortly before my 40th birthday. He is the blessing of my life. My husband then became very content with our family situation, while I was not. I desperately wanted more children. We both have 2 siblings and large families.
    8 yers ago I was able to make him get all our papers ready and we have worked ever since with a great adoption agency. But due to circumstances my husband as indeed canceled 5 possible matches with birthmothers. ( Once because his father very sick, once because he didn´t want twins, once because after I was gravely ill he thought I wasn´t fit enough to parent another child and now 6 month ago because he felt he was to old now, adoption is too high a risk) Everytime I just went into deep
    grieving and this last time, I´m afraid our marriage will not survive, becuse I just resent him now so much for destroying my dream. I know he will not go to counseling, we did that once and he hated it. I have tried everything to convince him that adoption is great. We´ve visited people who adopted, met their kids, friends who adopted spoke to him, . My husband has always refused to educate himself about adoption. Noone in his family and among his friends has ever been supportive of my adoption wish.
    He thinks I should just be content with what we have, it´s just me who´s always the nagging one.
    I also can´t blame our agency for being reluctant to work with us after all their experience with us.
    They say time heals all wounds, I´m not so sure about this one.
    For those of you that are still young and feel young enough to adopt, you should maybe set a timeframe for your spouse to decide. You might come to the conclusion, to end your relationship is indeed the only way for your dream to come true before you are too old. And that without having a guarantee to ever find someone again you would want to have kids with.
    Bless you all, who still have hope and don´t give up.

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Tasha, thanks for sharing your story. I would strongly urge you to go into counseling for yourself to help you come to terms with either your life as the mom of one or as a single mom. Just because your husband won’t go is no reason for you to not get help.

  15. Avatar Doraki says:

    Hello! When I was 19 I said that I want to adopt a baby from third world countries, a baby who really have needs.
    Then, I met my boyfriend. He didn’ t think was good idea.
    We married and have passed 10 years without having a kid. 5 miscarriages, 2 surgeries, fertility treatments and recently doctor said that is almost unlikely to have my own kid. I don’t want with a donor and I don’ t want to see a doc again since I felt like I was sick all these years without a break for me, always giving 100% of me. This the end.
    I am from Greece and adoption here is a painfull procedure without , most of the times, happy end. The only path I found is from third world countries! But my hub is a from a small village and his parents will die from melancholy and moreover, my hub doesn’t want. He feels its out of him. He is a wonderfull person and he always supported me but not in this. Motherhood is a need. I am so sad, a baby needs me and Ι need it too. Is a marriage or motherhood more important?

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Doraki, I am so sorry you are going through this. Is is possible for you and your husband to see a marriage counselor together to help you work out this conflict?

    • Avatar seancallen@yahoo.com says:

      I’m really sorry to read your story! It breaks my heart to hear this. I can feel what a kind and loving person you are, and would make a great mother. I think you should really consider moving on if your husband continues to refuse adoption.

  16. Avatar Sylvia says:

    Thank you for sharing this. DH and I have been trying to have a baby of our own and have had 2 miscarriages in the last year, and I had one about 10 years ago. DH wants to continue trying where I’m done. Every time I suggested taking a break he’d talk me out of it, so I made an appointment to go back on bc then told him I NEEDED to take a break. Personally I’d rather take this time to save up to start the adoption process, but since the second miscarriage he doesn’t want to talk about it. His response is always “I don’t want to think about not being able to have our own” or “I thought you wanted to keep trying”. I know he’s sad about the loss, and I understand that he wants to father his own, I just can’t handle the physical loss again.

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Sylvia, ughh, what a lousy place to be. Have you considered going to a counselor for a few sessions as a couple. It sounds to me like you guys are stuck on being able to communicate on such an intensely tender topic. Or at least he’s stuck on being able to hear your pain.

  17. Avatar Stephanie says:

    After 4 years of suffering from infertility (lack of ovulation, taking Clomid and a thyroid condition), we took the foster care classes in Georgia. That is when I found out that my husband only wanted to adopt a child who looks like us. A year later we moved to Indiana, where more people look like us and took the foster care classes here. Then, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. So, I had a full hysterectomy and am cancer free now. We have been married 8 years. Having a heart to heart with one’s spouse is essential before even thinking about becoming a parent. Don’t give up on your spouse who doesn’t know what they are missing until they become a parent! Yet, try to educate them. I am not giving up on my spouse or being a parent.

  18. Avatar Emi says:

    I feel this article but from a slightly different perspective i think.

    I am desperate to have my own bio child. Have been since I was a young girl. I always told myself to just be patient and one day I’d get my dream…
    However my boyfriend doesn’t want to father any children of his own but wants to adopt.

    We’re not married yet and have a way to go before kids but this situation is hard. He talks about marriage often and projects us into the future more than I do (ever since he admitted not wanting to be a bio father).

    There’s always a chance he’ll change his mind but I know I can’t hold on to that.

    I understand how adopting is an amazing thing but I am afraid I won’t bond with the child enough because I’ll most likely have missed his or her first months/years.
    I want to experience pregnancy, doing everything to the best of my abilities to be able to give life to a healthy child born from love.

    He feels his genes are rotten and shouldn’t be perpetuated. But does want kids so is confident that adoption is in our future.

    I try to tell myself our relationship is more than this issue but to be honest it’s constantly in the back (and often front) of my mind. We will not have our own baby. And it sucks. Even though we’re great together this makes me question our future 🙁

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Emi, I think the decision of whether to have kids (by birth or adoption) is absolutely a topic that should be discussed and can very well be a “deal breaker”. I don’t think you should diminish your desire to be pregnant and to pass along your genes. If this is important to you now, it will likely continue to be important for you. Have you considered having you and your boyfriend see a counselor to talk about this. You have a couple of options, if he really does not want a biological connection to a child and you really do want one. One option is to use donor sperm. You can select together a sperm donor. Another option would be using donated embryos; however, you would not have a genetic connection. I wish you the very best of luck.

      • Avatar Emi says:

        Thank you for your mind reply.
        We are only 25 but as a woman I feel ready. He does not.
        We do talk about it, every few months actually because that’s about the frequency of my restless episodes (anxiety about the situation).

        Initially he told me we’d have a bio child. Then he said no. Then yes again.
        Then this spring it was a definite no. He hasn’t gone back on it since.
        We spoke about it yesterday and I told him I wasn’t keen on adoption.
        He said how about we live in the now and worry about that later.

        I can’t help but slightly hope at that.

        I am seeing a councelor atm, we are about to start properly talking about this issue. My bf has been cordially invited to join us down the road. I hope it goes well.

        • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

          I’m so glad you’re seeing a counselor to help you work this out. It is something that the two of you have agreed on before you go much further. It isn’t likely to get better.

  19. Avatar Jms1980 says:

    I have had to have a hysterectomy at the age of 33, this took away my chances to naturally have a child. I had a friend who offered surrogacy services at no charge to myself and my husband, but he declined this extremely generous and heartfelt offer, stating we would most likely adopt. Now 2 years later he said he’s 50/50 on having children at all. I have told him from the time we started dating having children was a top priority to me. I feel as though he’s ripping my dreams away from me and invalidating my feelings by saying I only want to be a mother because it’s expected of me by society, while this could be partially true, it’s not the only reason. We tried to have children for 2 years before the adenomyosis was diagnosed, it’s been another 2 years since then. I finally told him he has 6 months to think about it, if his answer is still uncertain or no, then I will file for divorce.

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      I am so sorry you are going through this. I know for me that my desire to have kids was more than societal expectations. Good luck.

  20. Avatar DinSC says:

    Thank you for this article. I feel as though I may be in the minority here as I am the DH wanting to adopt buy my DW does not.
    I grew up in a loving household that fostered kids and ultimately adopted two brothers once I had left for college (I am the youngest of three biological). They were a struggle for my parents but they love them all the same.
    We have two boys of our own and are considering a third. I am content with two where as DW wants three. If we’re to have three, I’d prefer to adopt.
    I’m sure I’m optimistic and naïve about the process, heartache, costs, etc. but I’m willing to try. DW main concern is more primal: will she be able to love a child that is not her own? There are other concerns as well.
    I will take you points and approach the topic with care and research.
    Thank you,

    • Avatar MJG says:

      Thank you for sharing. I am in the same boat; the DW does not to adopt, while I want to try. She too has similar fears about not being able to love someone that is not her own. Or can we afford it? I don’t know what to do.

      • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

        MJG, is she willing to talk with other parents who have adopted and might have had similar fears? Would she attend an adoptive parent gathering, if there is one near you?

  21. Avatar JSP says:

    Thank you so much for this.
    I have always wanted a big family, we are blessed to have four very easily conceived biological children. We both agreed for my DH to have a vesctomy. However after 3 years, I would love one or two more children. I would love to adopt a child now. As well as foster a teenager in 10 years until they age out of the system, to provide them a home to come home to. One huge problem, my DH says he is done, he only wanted 2 and I wanted 6. I’m praying for a change of his heart, or mine. Your article gave me a lot to think about and talk about. Thank you for sharing.

  22. Avatar K. A. L. says:

    Hi. Thanks so much for this article. It’s comforting to know I’m in good company. I was always the kid who strangle claimed they’d have 12 kids. Always wanted a huge family. Became a special education teacher, love caring for and helping kids achieve learning goals.Met my wonderful husband after I became a born again Christian. He is from a family of 9 siblings, from asia. He was excited to have a big family. Well, God knows something we dont. While we do trust Him to know best, I’ve had 10 miscarriages within a span of 14 years. Sigh. I thought, well, we’ll adopt. I was very surprised when my dear hubs told me we aren’t adopting. So, I’m still praying and trying, at 44 now, naturally, not with ivf or anything. Trying to grow into that state where I am God’s vessel, and let me serve Him, though my plan hasn’t turned out to be His plan. TRYING is the key word. A well meaning family member on hubby’s side told me, you know you’re not a woman until you have your own children. Even illogical statements like thus begin to chip away at my wonderment of what do I do now? Praise God I can just cast my cares to Him, as He refines me in the fire. Thanks for listening. Bless you all!

  23. Avatar Lois says:

    I’m so happy to hear your story because my dh is just like yours. He is not opposed to adoption and knows how important it is to me but he’s worried about handling a third child and being “too old” to keep up with another. I hope we have the happy ending that your family has. I really believe we will because I know how much my dh loves children and how big his heart is.

  24. Avatar Yogeshwari says:

    Thanks for the response Dawn. I saw it only now. I do hope something can work out ; the trouble is that I have become so scared of the whole episode that I’m torn between having and not having children. I have reached a confusing point in my life and I sometimes feel it’s best for us to not have kids. But there are times when I feel miserable and want to give it a shot. It’s shaken me completely and robbed me of whatever self confidence I had in myself. Though my husband does say, ” we should have kids for your sake” (he used to say this when we first went to the agency to sign documents), I can’t even bring myself to calling up the agency now. He says he’ll make an effort but there are times when he says fundamentally he doesn@t like kids, the previous experience has completely shattered me. No one from the agency calls and I don’t feel it’s the right time. I don’t think there can ever be , not for us, not when we are so confused.

    • Yogeshwari, I think you would really benefit from seeing a therapist to help you sort through all your competing emotions. Adoption is not easy and requires a lot of commitment from both partners. You might also benefit from listening to some of the Creating a Family show’s on deciding to live child free. You might find that a child free life has benefits that will work well with the two of you. I wish you peace in this journey.

  25. Avatar Yogeshwari says:

    Thanks for the writeup. It has been a year since we said no to adoption (we were offered twins) and though I tried very hard (despite my own fears) to convince everyone around me (especially my husband and mother in law), I realised after four months, I had reached a deadend. I waited two and a half years to get an answer and I was happy when I got a call for twins. But my husband was adamant on refusing and simply said no. He admitted he would try but I realised that we were having the worst relationship. Banging doors, blaming me for ruining his life and being so unfair everything was a disaster. I went all alone for the kids’ checkups (the night after i had a bervous breakdown), I went alone for getting everything ready ( yes I knew it wasn’t happening but I was in denial). Our relationship was in tatters then (a couple of months before the call came) and we had started getting just about okay. Then the call came for one year old twins and he freaked out. I was scared but knew I couldn’t afford to be weak because I had such a fight to put up. But eventually I gave up. I don’t know how but I decided to give this marriage a shot and today he does say we should get in touch with the centre. But I am so shaken with my past experience and will my age (38) that I wonder if it is worth it. That said, I cry and do go through immense depression. What should I do?? I suffer from the guilt of giving them up!

    • Yogeshwari, I am so sorry you are going through all of this. In the US, your age would not be a huge problem in any type of adoption-domestic infant, foster care, or international. But I wonder what type of adoption preparation you and your husband have received. I think every adoptive parent (and I mean both parents) needs to be well prepared for any type of adoption, but especially when adopting a child past infancy. That your husband became so frightened so quickly when offered 1 year old twins may be a sign that he needs more education. It also sounds like you and he could benefit from seeing a marriage counselor to support you both during the huge decision making time. Good luck.

  26. Avatar KatK says:

    Thank you for this. I’m in a serious committed relationship, seemingly headed toward marriage. Last night we had a “real talk” about what kind of family we want to have. Every since I was in high school, I have wanted to adopt. There are many reasons why, and it has been a passionate desire I’ve carried with me for the past 10 years. However, my bf seems completely against the idea of adoption. His main argument being he wants to “pass along his genes” something I’ve never really cared one way or the other about. From my perspective, I would love any child I adopt as much as a child I have biologically. Upon adoption they will be a true part of my family, my beloved, not some child I’m just helping to raise. It doesn’t seem he has that same perspective.

    Last night shook me up, because for the past couple years I’ve been convinced my bf is the man I want to marry – However I know I don’t want to marry someone who would never want to adopt. I felt like I was on the precipice of a break up. This article was extremely comforting and gives me hope for our future.

    • KatK, I’m glad it helped. Keep in mind that you “sprung” something on him that he has probably never thought about. Also, you will likely have the option of having bio kid(s) as well as adopted kid(s).

    • Avatar Rhy says:

      I am in exactly the same situation. We are fairly young and can wait to decide but I’m afraid I’ll lose so many years of my life and so much of my heart if we have to break up over it in the future. I have a phobia of fetuses which I don’t think I could ever work through enough to have a bio child and I’d love to adopt. But my bf is a “passing on your genes is the meaning of life” kind of person. When I think about it my heart breaks. What to do?

      • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

        Rhy, I don’t have any major advice other than don’t ignore this issue. It is fundamental and needs to be addressed before you get married. Would you consider seeing a counselor to work through your phobia of fetuses?

        • Avatar Rhy says:

          I would be willing to see a councilor but I doubt I could ever get accustomed enough to feel comfortable with reproducing. I can’t even look at an image of a fetus now.

          • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

            I think it’s pretty typical before therapy to say that you will never get past a phobia. Give therapy a try and go in without preconceived ideas of how far you can come.

  27. Avatar 4granted says:

    One way to convince a spouse is with a compelling story of a positive adoption. Jennifer Grant’s new adoption memoir, “Love You More” is a great resource. As she tells the story of expanding their family from three kids to four by adopting a daughter from Guatemala, she addresses many of the issues surrounding adoption. But it’s skillfully woven in to a sweet, funny, tender story of what it means to be a family. I recommend it. Here’s the amazon link. http://amzn.to/oMmHGD

  28. Avatar Holly says:

    If you are interested to learn more about embryo adoption, there is a free online searchable donor database at http://www.dreamababy.com. There are available embryos right now at this clinic. They also have a blog at http://www.sweetfertility.com. Check it out!

  29. Avatar Rhonda says:

    Thaks for always talking about the stuff no one wants to talk about. This describes my life. I am so frustrated I could scream. I’ll try your approach first.

  30. Avatar Sara says:

    Yet another advantage to being a prospective single mom by choice. I have to deal with only my own reluctance.

  31. Avatar Brandy says:

    Thank you for this! Very helpful.


  32. Avatar Pamela S. J. says:

    Yep, the social worker who did our homestudy seemed to think it was unheard of that I was not as wild about the idea as my husband and that I had taken longer to get on board than he did. We’ve had our son now for 14 months and I couldn’t be more happy than if I had given birth to him. So, you are right. It is not the kiss of death for one spouse to be more hesitant than the other.

  33. Avatar TillIe says:

    I’m thankful my dh is on board with adoption if we have to go that route.

    Happy iclw…#31

  34. Avatar Kristi says:

    This is my situation to a T. I want to adopt so bad I wouldn’t do one more IF appointment if DH would give me the thumbs up to adopt. All I can do is trust in god’s calling for me and one day he will show me why I want to adopt.

  35. Avatar Erica says:

    Ahhh…the infertility ladder. Yes, I am ready for IVF yet my husband is not. I am nervous as we haven’t really had the adoption talk yet.

  36. Avatar April says:

    Thank you for this post. While my husband and I have not made a decision about if adoption is in our future or not, I am more willing at this point in time to consider it. Your article gives me ways to work with him and us as we look at this decision.

  37. Avatar Ashlee says:

    I worry about this all the time. I’m more on board for adoption than my husband is, if that is what we decide to do. But I worry that he’ll never get on board. It’s nice to read that I’m not the only one who feels like this.

    Happy ICLW

    Ashlee, #50

  38. Avatar Cyndi says:

    I feel less alone. Thanks. I will try to give him time.

  39. Avatar Rhonda says:

    I feel the pressure from my husband to just get on with it and adopt. I have sent him this blog. I want him to know that he shouldn’t be trying to pressure me to make this big of a decision. I feel better knowing I’m not alone here. I think your suggestions gives us a way to move forward while respecting both of our positions and our feelings. Thank you. I will go listen to the show on this topic.

  40. Avatar Chase says:

    Terrific work! Why is so little information available on when one parent is gungho and the other is scared stiffless. I appreciate the suggestions.

  41. Avatar Dana says:

    What a great post. So, do we need to work it all out and he has to be completely totally excited about the prospect of adoption before the home study. If so, we’ll never get there. He’s willing to move forward, but like you said, he’s not able to be all giddy about it…yet. I know he will be once it becomes more real. He thinks he will be too. I think you are right that we need to be around adoptive families. That’s going to be my next goal. Find an in person real life adoptive support group. Thank you for being with us on our infertility journey and now maybe on our adoption journey. Your show was and still is my lifeline. I noticed that DH has now downloaded a bunch of the adoption shows, so he’s getting on board.

  42. Avatar Mommy Lust says:

    I’m thankful for this post, especially right now. My DH is ready to move to adoption, but I simply am not ready. It’s funny reading this blog from the perspective of the reluctant spouse. I showed it to him and then we wathched the video. We had the best discussion we’ve ever had about adoption. He is going to get educated and then share without pressure what he learned. He has already downloaded most of all of your podcasts so it will take him a while–thank goodness. I especially liked the part about not putting pressure on me to be enthusiatic, which is something he would have done if you hadn’t mentioned that he shouldn’t. I don’t know where we will end up, but we feel closer and more understanding for each other and I am so thankful.

  43. Avatar Kirsten says:

    After finally receiving a pretty definitive infertility diagnosis, we began the transition from infertility to adoption. I moved along that path faster than my hubby (a.k.a. “Spock”). It’s very difficult for him to communicate in the affective domain. So, about once a week, I would simply ask him where was on a scale from 1-10 regarding his readiness to consider adoption. Giving me a number felt much easier and less threatening to him than telling me how he felt. And it helped me gauge his progress in some objective way without pestering him.

    As you suggested, I also tried to ask a “Would you be willing to…” question every couple of weeks, proposing small non-committal steps such as dinner w/friends who had adopted, an adoption information meeting, etc. It took him about 4 months to come around, much less time than I had feared. He just needed that time to process, grieve, imagine, etc.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Kristen, what a great idea to ask him to give a numerical rating on his adoption readiness. For some people this is how they best process information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑

Content created by Creating a Family. And remember, there are no guarantees in adoption or infertility treatment. The information provided or referenced on this website should be used only as part of an overall plan to help educate you about the joys and challenges of adopting a child or dealing with infertility. Although the following seems obvious, our attorney insists that we tell you specifically that the information provided on this site may not be appropriate or applicable to you, and despite our best efforts, it may contain errors or important omissions. You should rely only upon the professionals you employ to assist you directly with your individual circumstances. CREATING A FAMILY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION OR MATERIALS contained or referenced on this website. CREATING A FAMILY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR ERRORS or omissions in this information and materials and PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, implied, express or statutory. IN NO EVENT WILL CREATING A FAMILY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the information or materials, EVEN IF CREATING A FAMILY OR ITS AGENTS ARE NEGLIGENT AND/OR ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.