Those are the words that spilled out of my husband's mouth right before we walked into the court room to petition to be Blake's parents. Those are the words that were said by a man who just 9 months before told me I was crazy for even thinking of there being a possibility of us adopting a child with special needs from a country halfway across the world. Those are the words from a man who said there was no way we would be able to come up with enough money to adopt a child that far away. Those are the words from a man who wouldn't even look at a Reece's Rainbow face or have given it a thought when I first became excited about it's mission. Those are the words from a man who would roll his eyes when Leah and I would spend time reading through all the blogs of adopting families.
Keep in mind I am not making my husband out to be some monster that hates children. He is quite the opposite, honestly. What I'm trying to help you be aware of is that hearts can and do change for adoption. As you have now seen in his case. He is a living testament to this statement. He was the biggest critic to my 'crazy, wild-hair idea.' Keep in mind I have had a few share of those 'ideas' in my lifetime and he is always the realist who pulls my head out of the clouds. But this time, I knew I was right, my heart was being tugged, and this was what we were supposed to do.
But what I want to share with you is...how I handled this Spirit-lead tug on my heart while Jerad's heart was being changed too. I often hear from women who feel they are lead to adopt as well, but who's husbands are no where near ready to adopt, or even want too. So my contribution to November being National Adoption Awareness Month is: How to get your Hubby on Board.
My first suggestion to help your husband's heart to change for adoption is: Do nothing.
Ha! I bet you weren't expecting that. I honestly did not say or do much to push the adoption idea on to Jerad, because knowing him and men in general, I knew that would backfire. I showed him the Reece's Rainbow website and read to him a short snippet about a family who was in the journey to adopt. That was it. After that, I let it go as far as talking to him about it.
My second suggestion: Reach out to other adopting families. Ask about their decision process to adopt. In the meantime, I reached out to one particular adopting family, the Farley's. Danielle, was VERY kind and immediately returned my email answering my questions and discussing her own husband's fear of International adoption as well. She and I fasted and vowed to pray for one another and Jerad as much as we could over the next few weeks, in hopes God would slowly change his heart. I told her that if Jerad did not agree to adoption, then I would know it wasn't possible right now, that the timing wasn't right. That was going to be my answer. Because nothing else was holding me up, but him. Which was the most important part. :)
My third suggestion: Pray and Fast. I honestly believe this whole journey has been nothing but an answer to the prayers of many. I have never personally experienced the power of pray so clearly and powerfully in my own life. So starting this journey out with prayer and fasting is crucial. It is a great tool for drawing closer to Christ to understand His wisdom and to gain discernment, but it is great foundation for the strength you will need to draw on during the actual adoption process. Also, encourage a few close friends, or other adoptive families to pray with you for your husband. The more people pounding on the doors of Heaven with prayer requests the better!
My fourth suggestion: Become a Prayer Warrior. Leah and I applied to be Prayer Warrior's for Reece's Rainbow. This opened the door for she and I to have conversations about orphans, to pray for the children, and for us to grow a heart for adoption together. This also provoked questions on her part, that she would often bring up when Jerad was around, that got us talking about adoption in a less-threatening environment. Speaking of which, our little girl Nadine is still looking for a family.---->
My fifth suggestion: Do your Research. If you do not feel your husband could handle a special need that may require extra attention, high medical costs, different housing arrangements, etc. then become educated on all the special needs that these children have and the requirements that go along with the child's need. Since you know your husband the best and what he can 'bite off'...do not push children in his face that may just not be something he can handle. Men already have enough apprehensions and fears about adopting children, let alone a child with special needs, so don't make the process even more complicated by trying to motivate him to love a child that he just might not be able to 'love.' I had my eye on a child a long time before I found Blake and I would show his little face to Jerad a lot, but he would never really respond. No emotional or verbal reaction. Nothing. So when I saw his interest in Blake, I was a bit disheartened at first, but I understood that Blake's special need was something he felt more comfortable with possibly living with. So be prepared and educated as you research children, and as you know your husband, as to what child he may best be able to meet the needs of as a man of the house.
My sixth suggestion: Be patient. God's timing is perfect. And you want to be restful in God's timing, otherwise you won't have peace about your journey to adopt. So be patient, as you wait for your husband to come around. It may take him time. But be okay with that. This gives you more time to pray, to prepare, and to plan for providing a home for a child. This is a lesson you will have to learn and relearn through adoption. And it doesn't get any easier, so begin to practice it now. Your patience may just be what your husband needs to come around to his decision to adopt, because trust me, you will need each other in this journey. So let him come to the decision on his own terms, not on yours.
If you are in this situation and you feel your husband may be the hold-up in your desire to adopt someday, please contact me or any other adopting mom--we all want would love to answer questions or help out in anyway we can. I hope I can provide just a bit of the support shown to me by Danielle, in these beginning stages of trying to discern what is best for your family and spouse.