Discussing foster/adoption w/ FI... — The Bump
Adoption

Discussing foster/adoption w/ FI...

I was just wondering if anyone else has been in this situation and how they handled it or if anyone had advice...I will try to keep it short.

FI and I have been together 4'ish years, lived together almost 2 years, engaged since August.  From the time we started realizing we would end up married I have slowly let him know my feelings towards fostering and adoption.  It is something that (for whatever reason) I feel very strongly about and feel it is something I HAVE to do.  From the time I was in elementary school (I don't even know how I knew what adoption was) I felt it was something I was going to be apart of.  I've always thought of my future family being multicultural and consisting of adopted and bio kids.

The thought had never entered FI's mind until I spoke about it.  It's completely foreign to him.  He's very much into the idea of bio children, but that's it.  He has slowly warmed up to the idea of adoption but is still hesitant.  He says he is mostly concerned about "not knowing what you'd get."  I questioned him further b/c I didn't really know what he meant.  He said you never know about family history (alcoholism, violence, pre-disposed conditions, etc.)  I tried to explain that it's not as if someone drops a kid on our doorstep and runs away.  The last conversation (when he said you don't know what you'd get) got kind of heated.  From his logic, would we be less inclined to have bio kids since alcoholism runs in both of our families and depression/serious health issues run in mine??? 

Anyway, point being...I am scared that this issue will be put off and put off and put off and we will be 50 and have not adopted or fostered. He knows I'm not wanting to do any of this anytime soon, but eventually.  I guess I just feel the need to come to definite agreement NOW, before we are married (so I find myself bringing it up a little more and delving deeper into issues.) Is this unreasonable?

Part of me understands where he is coming from...it has never been something for him to think about so everything is new information.  I have read a library copy of Adoption for Dummies and plan to buy it so that he can read it (at least skim it) on his own time as well.  When we left off that last conversation I told him that the way he views having bio children is how I view adoption-as something that is not optional.  And now I've blabbed on so much I don't even know what my question is.  I guess just how do I continue POSITIVE conversation?  And does this need to be completely resolved before we get married? Has anyone had a SO that was not as psyched about it as you? 

I realize this is just a big communication issue as well.  We've never had a fight, hardly a disagreement, and this is the first issue that got both of us a little heated. 

TIA! and sorry this is in no way short!

Re: Discussing foster/adoption w/ FI...

  • Well personally, it sounds to me like having biological children and adopting aren't mutually exclusive. Perhaps you can look at compromising so that you do both as a way to build your family.

    It would also be worth it to have your FI attend some sort of information seminars so he gets an idea of what really happens in an adoption. And for you to go with him, since I think there are still some unanswered questions for you. You seem to be really into the concept of fostering/adoption, but not necessarily the nuts and bolts. I think a lot of his fears will be addressed, as well as you learning some things you didn't know.

    I also would not make this a must-resolve issue before you're married. There are a lot of things going on in your life right now--keeping a home together, planning a wedding, etc. Knowing where you stand before you get married is a good idea, but making the decision NOW is not a priority IMO.

    My DH was vaguely interested in adoption as an abstract concept, but as we got more and more into fertility treatments, adoption became a more concrete option to build our family. He's still a little hesitant, but has come miles since we first started the conversations. Some of them have been heated, but others have been great. It's important to listen to what each person is saying, where they're coming from, and try to work toward common ground. It isn't going to work if you both aren't ready.

  • "Well personally, it sounds to me like having biological children and adopting aren't mutually exclusive. Perhaps you can look at compromising so that you do both as a way to build your family."

     I have always planned on having bio children as well...I didn't mean for it to sound as though I only wanted to adopt. 

    Thanks for the advice!

  • I understand that. It just seems to me that you are each focusing on what you both want NOW and not necessarily being open to each other's ideas for building your family in the future.

    Good luck. Feel free to post whenever. It's a great group of women here.

  • Fredalina, I have to say I agree with you (respectfully). I guess I wasn't clear enough--I don't think they have to have a concrete plan in place of when X, Y, and Z happens before they get married, but definitely come to some sort of agreement on how open they are to different options of building their family. In other words, saying "we will never adopt/have bio children" is a deal-breaker, but "I'm afraid of/don't know the process and need to learn more before I make a decision" is a good first step.
  • image triswimbikerun:

     He has slowly warmed up to the idea of adoption but is still hesitant.  He says he is mostly concerned about "not knowing what you'd get."  I questioned him further b/c I didn't really know what he meant.  He said you never know about family history (alcoholism, violence, pre-disposed conditions, etc.)  I tried to explain that it's not as if someone drops a kid on our doorstep and runs away.  The last conversation (when he said you don't know what you'd get) got kind of heated.  From his logic, would we be less inclined to have bio kids since alcoholism runs in both of our families and depression/serious health issues run in mine??? 

     Adoption - you're right, you'll know family history for the most part.

     Fostering - he's absolutely correct. AND chances are - its really IS exactly that they are dropping the kid(s) off and running away. Chances are they may not know too much information right off the bat about these children, but you'd learn over the course of having them as to exactly why they are in care. 

  • Ditto the PPs who suggested you need to have some

    consensus on this before you go through with the wedding,

    and adding my own kudos to you that you're recognizing

    this is really important, and wanting to continue the 

    discussion so it doesn't bite you later.

     

    Have you thought about couple's counseling, or addressing

    this specifically in pre-maritial counseling?  It sounds like

    you're both very passionate, and sometimes just having

    a third party in the room to help keep things translated

    between you and your partner can help clear the air and

    make decisions and decision-making much less stressful

    on everyone.  It certainly won't solve all your problems, but

    it can help you see more clearly what your problems are

    and how you can address them and keep "good arguing"

    skills that are useful for marriage :)

    image
    Mother's Day, 2011
  • Thank you for all of the advice.  We are starting pre-marital counseling at the start of the new year and this is definitely something I intend for us to discuss.

    I know he would be totally fine with adoption in the event that we cannot have children (as he has said this,) but for some reason elective adoption is weird to him. 

    Fostering is something we haven't delved deep into as far as conversation.  I don't want to send him into overload...and I know how much the idea freaks him out.  Also, that is something that is not a deal breaker for me, where as the adoption issue more so is.  

    But thank you for all of the advice and opinions!   

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