Reluctant Spouses: Worth the Wait

January 21, 2017 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

Choosing to grow your family is a monumental, life-altering decision. And choosing to grow your family through special-needs adoption? Even more so. Which makes this decision an understandably difficult one to make – one that is typically easier (or harder) for one spouse than the other.

This month we’re focusing on Reluctant Spouses. Or, when one of you is ready to adopt, and the other isn’t.

I asked my husband for his input throughout this story since he was the reluctant one.

I do not know exactly when I knew adoption would be part of my life. My mom said I spoke about it in high school. Somehow, my poor husband, we never discussed this while dating or even in marriage counseling. My husband and I did not discuss adoption until we decided to start our family and had to deal with infertility. We were blessed to have excellent doctors and to be able to conceive our first son with medical assistance. Our second son was a natural surprise.

During the time we were trying to get pregnant we discussed adoption and knew it would be an option to start or grow our family but it was only a passing thought. We did not discuss international adoption or special needs adoption at any point in our relationship, so my husband was not prepared when it came up. I asked him if I caught him off guard and he said he had a feeling it was something I would like to do, but didn’t think we actually ever would.

Time passed and as our boys grew so did my desire to add to our family through adoption. I stumbled upon an adoption blog and began to learn about special needs adoption. This led me to Reece’s Rainbow.

I continued to learn more about special needs adoption and how we could actually adopt. I initially wanted to adopt a child with a “correctable” or “hidden” need. As I learned more and my desire to add to our family through adoption grew, I began to approach the topic with my husband. I asked him about international adoption of a child with HIV. He was not open to it and our discussions did not go well.

I would mention it frequently and he thought it was the only thing I was willing to talk about. He would feel angry and I would get upset. It was an unpleasant time in our marriage. This lasted for about 6 months. I think we were both praying for the other person to change their mind.

I asked my husband while writing this what his concerns were during that time. He stated I was so excited about special needs adoption when I approached it, he saw only two outcomes. He would agree to the adoption and then resent me or he would not agree to the adoption and I would resent him.

During this difficult time I sought out other wives who had been through this situation. I found support in adoption Facebook groups. I asked for advice. They also began to pray for my husband. I was able to talk with them and take a break from the subject with my husband. I also confided in two close friends who I know prayed for us regularly.

I tried my hardest not to bring it up for at least 2-3 months. During those months I began to support other adoptive families and became an administrator for an adoption grant Facebook group. Being involved in those different ways really helped me wait for “my time.” I was able to learn more about the process and get to know adoptive families. I was able to celebrate with them when their child came home.

My birthday came and I told my husband all I wanted for my birthday was for him to sit and listen, without interrupting or getting emotional, as I told him about adoption and why I wanted to adopt. Earlier I had typed up a “presentation” stating adoption facts and how I thought we could manage the process, therapies when home, and I had a kiddo in mind who I thought would fit into our family.

I tried to be very calm and factual. I told my husband I only wanted him to hear me and for him to think about what I was sharing. I did not want him to give me an answer until he was ready. I shared the picture of a child I had in mind for our family.

I had actually shown this little face to my husband 6 months earlier. He had commented “cute” and then went right back to the TV. I told him this little guy had been waiting at least 6 months and to my knowledge no one had expressed interest in him. We discussed his special need, Down syndrome. I asked him if we could just post his picture up on our refrigerator and pray for him. My husband agreed.

I put the picture up a few days later. Unbeknownst to me my husband took a picture of his picture and started to look at his face regularly. I didn’t say anything during this time. About a week and a half later while at church my husband gave me a yes sign. I made him say it again clearly later, and several more times throughout the following week just to make sure I was hearing him right and that he fully understood what he was saying yes to.

We are now in the midst of our second adoption. This time around our communication was much clearer and we both said yes easily. I asked my husband what he thought a good approach would be for wives of reluctant husbands and he said he appreciated the factual “presentation” I did with information about adoption. He also appreciated being told not to give any answer and me allowing him time to consider everything.

Since our first adoption we have also spent time in person with many families who have adopted special needs kids. Watching them interact with their families has, in my husband’s words, “made it easier to get rid of the excuses and fear.” My husband also had an easier time saying yes to a specific country, a plan of how we could adopt and a specific child versus the big idea of adoption. He said that it helped him know that it wasn’t just some novelty to me but about the little boy we would bring home.

I think international special needs adoption is such an emotional and scary thing it can be hard to clearly communicate with our spouses our desires. When you feel so strongly about something and your spouse does not, that causes a lot of difficulties and miscommunication. But it is not something that can be done with someone who is not on board.

If you have a reluctant husband, find friends, adoptive moms, or family members who can support you. It is to hard to walk alone. I also think we need to learn to be patient. I have a cousin who waited 7 years for her husband to agree to become foster parents. They went on to adopt two sons so I know it was worth the wait.

As we both know how hard this disconnect can be on a marriage, my husband and I are both happy to speak with spouses on either side of this issue. We can be reached on FB or through our blog.

– guest post by Ginny: facebook || blog

Waiting to be Chosen: Trent

January 20, 2017 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Two year old Trent could not be any cuter?

Trent knows the nanny who takes care of him and he is very close to her. He is active and has a ready smile. Trent likes to listen to music and enjoys toys that make sound. He can hold his bottle and he likes playing with toys in his crib, as well as sitting in the walker.

Trent can sit and he can stand by holding onto the railing on his bed rail. He cannot speak yet, but can understand some things that are said to him, including giving something to someone when asked. Trent can make ‘ah’ sounds to greet people and likes hugs! Trent has Down syndrome and he is listed with Madison Adoption Associates via an orphanage partnership.

MAA staff have met Trent on more than one occasion. Be sure to read this post that was written after Sarah Hansen at MAA met Trent.

Could this precious boy be your son?

Videos of Trent can be found here, here, and here – password for all is Adoptmaa.

There is a $5,000 agency grant with Madison Adoption Associates for Trent’s adoption. Other grants may be available based on the adoptive family’s circumstances. Agency grants are awarded as agency fee reductions. MAA also partners with the Brittany’s Hope Foundation for matching grants, which are given out twice a year (January and July) and to families that are matched with a child.

If you are interested in reviewing Trent’s file or in adopting Trent, please fill out a free PAP Waiting Child Review Form, which can be found here.

– guest advocacy post by Brooke.

Finding Me

January 19, 2017 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

I started out this new year of 2017 by sitting down with my kids and filling out a form for goals and ideas for goals. A small part was, “What Makes You Happy.” I watched my kids fly through and write down at least twenty things. I struggled to write down more than five. Like really struggled. I used their examples to get that far.

And I realized a lot about me in that time frame. It has been years since I did anything just because it made me feel alive or happy. Happiness was not even on the radar.

It’s not that I have been sitting here hating on life or in deep depression. I just was surviving each and every day, putting one foot in front of the other, heading to doctor’s appointments and IEPs. I was holding screaming, traumatized children and in the process enduring my own new trauma. I didn’t think of happiness. I just wanted to control the situations and keep on keeping on.

I had doctors watch me holding writhing children and ask if I was okay and the question always stopped me. Of course I’m okay. This is normal. At least, this is my normal. One doctor even patted my arm and told me I needed to invest in earplugs to protect my hearing. He was dead serious. I showed him my stash in my purse. See? So normal to me.

This may or may not resonate with a lot of you. I’m really not sure. But as I evaluated whether or not to keep blogging I had to consider what I could even write about now. I’m not adopting. We’ve been home long enough for this to become our normal. It’s still hard but it’s normal to us. No new revelations to share.

But then I thought, just maybe a few readers are in my position. Done but trying to figure this out now.

Normalized life but trying to find me again.

I knew I would lose myself in this journey. But I don’t think I foresaw the day when I couldn’t even tell you what I enjoy doing. But when you pour yourself out day in and day out and your entire focus is on another human being for years and years you find yourself different than before and unsure of yourself. And I felt selfish for stopping to consider myself. Right? Doesn’t that sound selfish?

But I stopped and prayed and you know what realization I came to? God sees me. I am one of those children that He desperately cares for and He has been carrying me for years. He wants me to be okay too. He wants me to move beyond the trauma and remember who I am.

He is proud of the creation that I am, the quirks He gave me, the passions He breathed into my soul. And He isn’t done with me yet. He still has plans for me. He needs me to exit survival mode right now.

Who knows what tomorrow is going to bring? Trials don’t give us warnings. In the back of my mind I wonder if this is the calm before the next storm. I’m so used to storms that I think I am just waiting for the next one to begin but I have decided to stop waiting. I’m going to rest, really, truly and deeply rest my soul. I’m going to let my soul be happy and find joy.

So, I’m not adopting. I’ve spent my entire life waiting to adopt and at 35 I have accomplished my life goal. Now what? I don’t know. But I’m going to have fun figuring it out.

This year I have a goal of finding me. Find out who I am after the fire, after the trauma has become normal.

Who am I? I love:
People’s stories
Colorful hair
Warm but not hot days and being outside to soak it in
Worms (truly!)
Dirt in my fingernails
Asia, Asia, Asia – my heart still beats for Asia

What do you love? Who are you when you aren’t head down in survival mode? Can you list five things?

Waiting to be Chosen: Robert

January 18, 2017 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

In September of 2015, I met the most special baby boy in an orphanage in China. He was to be advocated for as ‘Robert.’ Robert was 14 months old at the time and he didn’t have a file even started. This precious baby boy was found abandoned in a toilet. Unfathomable to me, but I …Read More

No Hands But Ours: Looking Back at 2016…

January 17, 2017 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

2016 was an amazing year for No Hands But Ours. Hundreds of posts shared. Twelve special topics featured. Guest series. Family stories. Book reviews. Recipes. And advocacy posts written that turned faces across the sea into treasured sons and daughters. Here is just a glimpse of all we shared… …………………… A Look Back by the …Read More

Child Who Waits: Whittingham

January 16, 2017 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

“Yi, er, san, qiezi!” (One, two, three, eggplant!) I can still hear these words in my head and remember exactly how he says them. Every time I took my camera out, he would yell this phrase loudly and throw his two fingers up in the air in “V” and put them right in front of …Read More

Reluctant Spouses: Of One Mind….

January 15, 2017 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Choosing to grow your family is a monumental, life-altering decision. And choosing to grow your family through special-needs adoption? Even more so. Which makes this decision an understandably difficult one to make – one that is typically easier (or harder) for one spouse than the other. This month we’re focusing on Reluctant Spouses. Or, when …Read More

Homemade Jiǎozi: Making Chinese New Year a Family Affair

January 14, 2017 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

I learned to make dumplings a few years ago when we hosted an exchange student from China. Everyone in the family enjoys eating them, and the process is so fun! Making dumplings, or jiǎozi, is definitely a social affair – it’s meant to be shared as a group. We enjoy making and eating them to …Read More

Waiting to be Chosen: Gia and Gage

January 13, 2017 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Meet Gia. Gia is 5 years old. She is a special focus child, on Lifeline’s individual list, and has a left finger deformity, G-6-PD deficiency, and Down syndrome. Gia gets along well with children in her class and uses gestures to express her own needs. It is reported that she is fairly attached to her …Read More

In the Meantime

January 13, 2017 by nohandsbutours 6 Comments

Right now I am in a place I like to call the sweet spot. The paper chase is finished. There are no more adoption documents to sign or forms to fill out or fingerprints appointments to attend. All of our paperwork is submitted and everything on our end is done and out of our hands. …Read More

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