They say men are from Mars and women are from Venus. This is especially true when it comes to the adoption process. Decisions leading up to and throughout the adoption process are approached differently for men and women. Knowing these differences when discussing adoption with your spouse will help you understand where the other person is coming from.
It’s all biological
As an adoption consultant, I tend to see biological instincts prevail in men and women initially. Usually women are more open to the idea of adoption than men. They have a maternal drive to be a parent through any means. Men, on the other hand, feel a biological drive to pass on their genetics. This is backed up in a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The study interviewed men and women going through infertility. The results stated that 36 percent of men and 43.5 percent of women said they would be happy with adoption as an alternative way to grow their families. Additionally, 38 percent of men and 47.5 percent of women had considered adoption in their mind. These numbers showcase how women are more accepting of adoption than men are at the start.
At first, adoption myths prevail
Women usually think more positively about adoption success. Men tend to rest on what they have heard about adoption, which are ultimately negative myths. Men focus on this negativity because adoption is unknown to them. In their mind, if the risk is too great, they will try to dissuade their wives from pursuing adoption. I get a lot of questions from men with concerns about what they have heard and I am quick to debunk these myths and get them started on the right foot to understanding the adoption process.
What about the birth parents?
Both men and women worry about the birth parents but for different reasons. Men worry about not being the true father figure, a worry that is resolved over time being a parent. Women are more nervous about meeting the birth mother. They feel a great deal of pressure to let the birth mother understand how much they are going to love and care for that child. The weight of translating that to the birth mother is stressful for women.
If you can’t see it, is it real?
There are milestones in the adoption waiting process. Each step causes women to make progress in assuming the role as mother. Men, however, have a harder time adjusting into their role as father. They do not see the growing belly of their wife and don’t really get used to the idea until the baby is already born and they have seen and held him or her.
Money, money, money
Women do a better job of reconciling the experience of adoption. Their drive to be a mother allows them to accept that the money for adoption is similar to doctor appointments and hospital bills. Men have to spend more time reconciling with the financial aspect. They generally see themselves as provider and protector and spend more time worrying about it and making payment plans.
One thing both Mars and Venus have in common when facing adoption: The process of adoption, while arduous, is miniscule compared to the joy of parenting they both get to experience for the rest of their lives.
Nicole Witt is the owner of The Adoption Consultancy, an unbiased resource serving pre-adoptive families by providing them with the education, information and guidance they need to safely adopt a newborn, usually within three to 12 months. She is also the creator of Beyond Infertility, a community support site and online magazine geared towards families who have gone through infertility. You can visit that website at Beyond Infertility.