September 19th, 2011
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Sleeping dadIf you’re like me, you are thinking about adoption all the time. You’re doing the dishes and thinking about filing the I-600A. Folding laundry is a time of reflection for your next blog post. Playing with your kids leads to daydreams about how great it will be when your next child is finally home. And thank heaven for DVR, because you have paperwork to do and Modern Family will have to wait.

And then you look at your handsome, loving husband. He’s watching the scores scroll across ESPN to find out the score of the Chiefs game that wasn’t televised. And he’s thinking about…football. That’s it. Just football.

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So why is it that husbands–those who are fully on board with adopting–seem to be less involved than their wives when it comes to the adoption process? I realize I’m making a huge generalization here, but in my very scientific study (a skim of maybe 100 blogs), I didn’t find any posts written by adoptive dads who were venting about the challenges of paper chases or making their houses impossibly clean for a home study.

I asked my husband about this phenomenon. He carefully thought about it before offering an analogy. Pregnancy is usually felt by a mother. (Of course.) Why would a paper pregnancy of adoption be any different? He said guys can be excited about becoming dads, but they don’t “feel” the baby every day. When they look at a sonogram picture, they see a peanut instead of “the most beautiful baby ever.” It’s not that men are emotionally detached from the adoption process, but typically men don’t get as emotional as women. They need to see the baby before the tears come on.

My skeptical eyes came out. He offered another analogy. Weddings. Men know their places when it comes to wedding planning. They give passive input on the big decisions, they agree with their fiances on the details, they stay out of the way when they’re not asked to participate, and they show up on time with a good hair cut. “Whether it’s filling out adoption forms or decorating the baby’s room, I know you don’t want my help. You just want me to approve.” (Ok, this may be true.)

“Furthermore, if I took over the work, what would you do to stay occupied?” he asked.  ”And if I messed up something and it delayed the process, you would be much more upset than if the roles were reversed.” (Definitely true.)

After humble deliberation, I concluded that I actually didn’t want to give up any part of my role in this adoption. (Hi, my name is Lindsay, and I have control issues.) What I really want is for him to acknowledge how much time I’m putting into it all and say “Thanks” once in a while. And an offer to help would be welcome, even if he knows that I’ll say no.

Maybe I’ll let him print bank statements.

P.S. The Chiefs lost…again.

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One Response to “The Not-Exactly-Reluctant Husband”

  1. Lanita M says:

    This is too funny! As my husband often tells me, “Men are very simplistically emotional beings, Darlin’.” *Grunt* Good. *Grunt* Bad. Where we women are much more complex emotionally. It’s not that they don’t feel emotions, we are just more sophisticated.

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