Yes it would be perfect if you both wish to adopt and with all adoption assessments we expect that potential adopters are on the same page. However in reality this is a common problem for many couples.
In the early days it is very typical that one partner is more motivated to adopt than the other. You will likely be the one who starts to research and make the initial calls to find out more. We are hoping the information here will help you when exploring if adoption is for both of you. Our aim is to reassure you that you are not alone and provide you with helpful information, tips and guidance to help you.
Understanding the ‘block’ and accepting
Creating your family is a big decision and it takes time to decide if parenthood is for you. It might be that you have tried to have your own children, completed or are going through fertility treatment, surrogacy, have children in your household or from a previous relationship. You may not have a child in your lives, but whatever your current situation is, making the decision to extend your family will change life as you now know it.
We know that everyone is different and unique, so is it any surprise that we can have different views when it comes to becoming a parent? Such decisions are huge and we all process things in different ways. You may have struggled to conceive and this will have in no doubt left you with the feeling of loss and grief. Grief is very personal and affects us all in different ways. This can mean that you both might have different views, feelings and emotions on what comes next. It maybe that your partner is still grieving the loss of conceiving naturally and needs some time to process before any kind of decision.
It is important to remember that feeling reluctant is a normal feeling and it can take longer to process the idea of adopting. Open communication about how you both feel about becoming parents is needed to help see if there are any blocks initially before discussions around adopting can take place.
Your first step should be to explore why your partner is unsure about adoption, here are some good questions to ask:
- Can I love a child that is not biologically related?
- 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?
- Would I feel like a failure if I didn’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?
- Can we afford to adopt?
- 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?
These questions all represent valid concerns. When you are willing to respect and value each other’s process, you can address them together before moving forward.
All about the questions
You have decided you want to become parents together that’s fantastic! A good next step would be to write down every question that you can think of together. No question is ever silly and we promise you someone will have asked the same question many times before!
Using the time together to jot down questions will help both to connect and will open up more conversations around how you feel, what worries you and also what excites you about adoption too!
You may find the answers to your questions from reading online or attending one of Caritas Care’s information events. Most information events are online. We are respectful that you may not wish to be share your identity with other people as this point in time, so we give you the option to have your camera switched on or off. We understand that for some people, knowing you can remain anonymous at these events and just listen in might work best for you at this stage.
It is important to be open with your partner and that you are researching together to see if this is something you both wish to do. Communication, openness and honesty is key!
Less is more
If you are the partner that is ‘all in’ it might be time to step back a little to see what your partner’s response is. We know this can be really hard when you feel you have all the information you need and you want to jump in feet first, but remember it’s likely that your partner has not had as much time as you to think about adoption. You will possibly have thought about adoption sometime before you started researching and then presented this to your partner, just try to remember this – but please don’t lose that excitement.
You can offer to share what you have found whether that’s a support group on social media, information on Caritas Care’s website or social media feeds, videos, podcasts or one of our blogs. Whatever works best for you, but we advise you do this at your partner’s pace and give them the space to absorb this information before pursuing further.
All about the child
Many of the children who are in the care of the local authority have experienced trauma and loss. They deserve to be genuinely wanted by both their parents. If your partner does not want to adopt please do not pressure him or her into making that decision, as it will fundamentally breakdown and cause additional stress and loss to the child and yourselves.
Our adoption social workers will assess a couple’s motivation to adopt and also your ability to problem solve together. It is important to be open and honest in your assessment. While you might be able to fake some of these differences during the home study, adoption is about choosing what is best for the child you bring home.
We wish you the best of luck and hope to speak to you in the future.