Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Adoption Discussion

I have again fudged my goal to read through our entire home library before buying or borrowing another book.

I bought a book on adoption.

Two, actually.

And now Husband and I are reading the first one together. I feel fairly justified this time in the decision to fudge my reading goals, however. Both Husband and I felt led to learn more about adoption. Reading a few choice books together will help us learn, explore our feelings, and further discern God’s will in regards to our pursuing adoption.

This first adoption book that we’re reading together, quite appropriately, is The Adoption Decision, by Laura Christianson. A couple people have recommended this book to us, and one chapter in, it’s already giving rise to discussion.

Our most interesting discussion came from one of the “Questions and Ideas for Reflection or Discussion” over the first chapter. The question is: “On a scale of 1 to 5, rate your enthusiasm and readiness to adopt. If you’re married, rate your spouse’s enthusiasm. Discuss your ratings together.”

Can you imagine why this might lead to colorful discussion?

At this time, I don’t want to share exactly how Husband and I rated ourselves and each other. Suffice it to say, we both judged the other’s enthusiasm and readiness correctly, but our readiness and enthusiasm are not the same.

Our discussion was good. Thoughts that came up included the idea that—get ready for brilliance—pregnancy and adoption are not the same.

A) When a wife gets pregnant, sometimes it’s a surprise. Adoption is never a surprise.

B) As a couple, you may or may not have done your research before your become pregnant. However, as a couple you must do your research before you adopt.

C) As a couple, you may or may not be in the same place emotionally and mentally when you become pregnant (though it’s better if you are). As a couple, you must be in the same place emotionally and mentally—or at least close to the same place—when you adopt because of the points stated above.

It is this last point that I took with me and have been pondering since our discussion. Husband and I are still considering and praying about the possibility of adoption. We’re still going to read both of the books and continue to read online. But we are also going to make sure that we talk regularly and honestly.

We want to be in the same place emotionally and mentally when we make our decision whether to adopt, not adopt, or wait.


  1. If only B were true!!! Heh. (But I definitely take your point - you don't even need to fool a social worker to get pregnant!)

    This is a tough decision, and I think you're smart to be doing your reading in advance so that you don't have to make a decision in a rush. I don't know if you've come across the book 'adoption after infertility', but I found it extremely helpful in thinking through a lot of this stuff. It's not written from a Christian perspective, but the first section, particularly, has got a lot of distilled wisdom that I really appreciated. My husband, on the other hand, refused to read it - kudos to yours for actually doing the set exercises!

  2. The deciding phase is a hard place to be...I remember going back and forth in my mind for days before telling myself, "Let's do this thing!" I can honestly say that Heather and my emotional and mental states were a little further from the same that what you stated. I think they aligned to being the same when I saw Million's face. It was like all the other cares I had fell away and there he was looking at me and I knew TOTALLY that myself and Heather had made the right decision.

    You may never know the emotional and mental distance there might be between you and your husband until your up to your ears in the process, but at that time, when things may or may not be the most trying, you both said yes to this. You took the first step, not depending on a perfect emotional or mental state as a couple, but rather being comfortable to tell each other that you're okay with adopting.

    What made me say yes to adopting was realizing that my family wasn't dependent on my genes, but rather dependent on who I loved in my life. As you will probably read on many blogs and other sources is that God adopted us as His children when we accept Him into our lives and in a way we do something similar with both children who are adopted as well as with biological kids. God's attachment to us as believers is something that parents do with bio kids as well as adopted ones. I won't go into too much about attachment because you will get flooded with info about this in your research.

    As always talk to those who you know that have adopted. Whether us or maybe friends of friends to get a perspective that a book can probably not give you. Sometimes just calling an agency and asking some of your questions to them directly will give a little perspective. Just a thought.

    Hope this all makes a small amount of sense,

  3. I wrote a comment, but then my brain said "it's okay, Heather, press the back button...everyone's doing it! it will be just fine!"
    And I obeyed my brain. Stupid me. The comment was gone with the wind.

    I think it's wise that you both discuss things. However, I have absolutely NEVER heard of a couple who adopted who was on the "exact same page at the exact same time." One or the other spouse's enthusiasm lagged at different times during the process. This is healthy.

    For instance, if a person who was gungho about adoption read statistics about certain age groups and certain medical needs being referred more quickly...that person might decide "oh! let's change our request TODAY!", while the spouse said "wait a second. I thought we agreed we would adopt THIS kind of child with THIS need." It's healthy to have one more reticent person because they prevent emotional ship-jumping or "pasture is greener" syndromes that might lead to parenting situations that are out of that couple's capacity to parent.

    By the way, I have heard of surprise adoptions internationally. They are the exception, not the rule, however. (i.e. a child previously adopted had birth siblings who become available for international adoption.)

    Okay, Heather. This is a comment, not a book.

    Anyway--Hill. You know us. We're fairly open books about anything except for Million's past. You can e-mail us or facebook us any questions you may have. We'll try to be good resources from "afar" as best we can. I know you have many local couples that can help you through your decision making process too. As always, we pray for all of your decisions on a regular basis.

  4. I came back and read this and thought "hey, maybe you misinterpreted." I think both Michael and I assumed that the discussion was about "when to adopt", and the discussion might very well have been about "whether or not to adopt." If one party isn't interested at all in adoption or is adamantly against it, it is NEVER wise to proceed. Just thought I'd chime in after over-thinking the matter. :)

  5. Haha, don't worry, Heather. Mark and I appreciated both your comments and Michael's! We appreciate all of this free advice. I got a whole lot more advice today that has my mind busy and will most likely spill over in the form of another blog on the subject soon. :)