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When you Want to Adopt a Child But your Partner Doesn't
Having a child of your own blood involves pretty powerful emotional and cultural connotations. So while you may be ready to bring up someone else's biological offspring as your own child, your partner may not feel the same about adoption. Unfortunately this difference in priorities can create significant stress in a relationship. So if you find your partner is closed to the idea of adopting a kid while you wish to become a parent, here are a few things you can do.
Get your thoughts straight
There are different reasons why couples and individuals may want to adopt a child and before you clash with your partner on this issue, it may be wiser to get your own thoughts and emotions in order first. To begin with, consider what are your own reasons for wanting to adopt a kid – is it because you and your partner cannot have a biological child due to medical reasons. Or is it because you have a child already and are looking to expand your family but the mother cannot afford to be physically indisposed for a length of time. Then again the fact that there are so many kids in the world in need of a loving home may also be a powerful factor in motivating you to seek options like adoption. On the other hand, wanting to adopt a child primarily because you are unhappy with a spouse is a bad idea. Parenting is hard work. If your marriage is under strain already, adopting a child could be the final straw. Eventually the child will sense that he or she is supposed to hold your relationship together, a burden that no child should feel. Whatever be the reason, be honest with your motives and your desire to have a child. Clearing your thoughts will not only help you discuss the matter more effectively with your partner but actually let you understand how important is having an adopted baby for your personal fulfilment.
If possible, give it time
If your partner never wanted to be a parent or admitted that he/she could never have one biologically and you had already discussed this before entering into a relationship, your partner really cannot be blamed for holding his/her ground. Thus expecting him/her to change his feelings about this may not be realistic or possible. However people are usually more ambivalent at the earlier stages of a relationship and perhaps this was a subject that you both avoided or you thought that you could resolve later. If this is so, you still have hope. As people age and life circumstances change, people often change their feelings about parenthood and may be more open to having a family. If you already have a kid of your own and are relatively young couple, you still have time to think about adoption. Maybe your partner has his/her hands full now and is not financially or emotionally ready to add another family member – and adoption is after all quite an expensive process. Take your time and proceed slowly through this very complex area. In the meantime expose your partner to other families with adopted children. Sometimes people have a psychological fear about not being able to love adopted kids as biological ones. If you have friends that have adopted children, attending social events together with them would be a great way to get used to the idea of making kids your own. Moreover, being around other happy adoptive families may help your partner to realize that families are marked not just by bloodlines.
Have a talk
However if you feel you cannot wait for long, then it may be wiser to have a discussion about adoption with your partner. Find out if your partner is not interested in adopting a child right now or is opposed to adoption in principle. While there is little you can do about the latter, more temporary objections to adoption could have to do with expenses and financial costs. Or perhaps while growing up your partner witnessed ill-treatment of kids by their adopted or foster parents and this has left a strong negative impact on him/her.
Look for solutions
Identifying the source of your partner’s reluctance to adopt a child will go a long way in looking for workable solutions. If you want to expand your family by adoption while your partner feels your finances are already stretched, you could look for ways to cut down on unnecessary expenses like eating out, buying lifestyle products, taking luxury vacations or entertaining a lot. Again if your partner feels that you cannot afford the expenses associated with the adoption procedure, look for ways that you can pitch in financially or consider opting for government adoption agencies which may have more reasonable costs as compared to private ones. On the other hand if your partner feels emotionally ill-equipped to raising someone else’s biological child, you can attend parenting classes or seek the help of a therapist in order to deal with deep-seated issues. The trick is finding a meeting point between your own needs and those of your partner – after all, every relationship is about seeking a balance between fulfillment and adjustments.
Explore other options
If the emotional block to adoption is what is preventing your family from going for an adoption, consider becoming foster parents. Opening your home to children who can’t live with their biological parents is a marvelous thing to do when you can no longer have kids of your own. This is also a feasible option when your partner is wary of the long term and legal commitment involved with adopting a child.
Finally focus on strengthening your relationship. a highly emotional issue as adoption can put tremendous strain on a relationship and obsessing over your partner’s reluctance or pressurizing him/her to change his/her mind will not only be useless in the end but may even lead to a breakup. Rather take a break from the issue and instead work on strengthening your bonding and communication. If down the line you still find yourselves at diametrically opposite extremes, seek the help of a family counselor or therapist to resolve the conflict. A professional would not only be able to identify the actual cause of differences between you and your partner but also suggest ways you can work out a mutually satisfying solution.