Dear Pre-Adoptive Father,
Let me begin by congratulating you. It takes a lot of guts to even consider doing what you are about to do. To be willing to even talk about the possibility of bringing a child into your home through adoption is, well, amazing! So, kudos to you.
Secondly, let me say that, I know. I know what has been racing through your mind every single moment since your wife suggested that you adopt. “How in the world could I love a child that’s not my own?” That thought has plagued you like the flu hasn’t it?
You find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with this thought. And if that wasn’t enough, your mind is betraying you by flushing other thoughts in like, “What will people think about us?” “This is not the way I saw our lives going!” or “How the heck are we gonna pay for this adoption?”
I say I know because I’ve been there. Once upon a time I was an apprehensive pre-adoptive father just like you. I remember the night my wife suggested that we adopt. I was probably more resistant that you are right now. I pretty much put my foot down and proclaimed that “In our family we got married to good looking people and made pretty little children that looked just like us!” That was final. Boy oh boy was I self-centered and arrogant!
It wasn’t that I was against adoption. I just didn’t understand it. I grew up in a family that had all of their children biologically. Bringing a child into my home that I did not “create” was…well… a really foreign idea to me. Besides, I really did fear that I would end up detached emotionally and affectionately from a child that was not biologically mine. I feared one day looking at this child, and then looking at my biological children, and feeling resentment. Or worse, no emotion at all for them. I bet you’re nodding your head right now, aren’t you?
Let me pause and encourage you with this truth- those are all real fears. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for feeling or thinking them. Nearly everyone who begins the adoption process has these fears at one point or another. I had them BIG TIME! Remember, as I said earlier, I resisted. I want you to be encouraged in knowing that you are not alone. Because you kinda sorta start to feel isolated when you have these thoughts, especially if your wife or other family members are jazzed about the idea. There’s healing in discovering others struggle the same way.
But let me also encourage you with this: If you are a person who has the ability to love, you will love any child, whether they are biologically yours or not. And, think about this- even children that are biologically related to you, or children you may someday have biologically, are not “yours” so-to-speak. As a man you really do not have anything to do with “creating” a child. Your wife does all the work. Except, of course, the Ooo La La part 9 months earlier.. 🙂
If you have children biologically you essentially would be loving a child that wasn’t “your own” or that you did not “create.” Think about that. Interesting, isn’t it? My wife made that point last week and it intrigued me.
Lastly, let me speak from my heart and say this- in-spite of all of your fears, or hang-ups, or apprehensions, or resistance, or what-ifs, or questions, nothing….and I mean NOTHING, is better than holding that precious bundle of joy in your arms for the first time. Nothing is better than feeding her or rocking her to sleep. When you look into her glowing eyes for the first time, all of those fears or hang-ups melt away like a late winter snow on a warm day!
As I look at my life, nearly 12 years after we first adopted, I couldn’t write our family’s script any better. It’s perfect. I look at my 8 children, all of whom came to us through adoption, and I could not imagine life without them. Even on the bad days. I promise you will feel the same some day.
So, stay the course. You can do this. I know you can because I did and I used to be the biggest self-centered jerk in the world! I’m not kidding. Ask my wife if you don’t believe me. 🙂
As a man and a father who has gone before you, my prayers will be with you and, as always, my email address (or the comment section of this post) are open for you if you need some additional perspectives!
Adoptive fathers: what else would you add?