It’s been said that in couples, it’s often the woman who drives the adoption process. Perhaps the women have more need to raise children, perhaps they feel worse about being infertile, perhaps they want to have the childrearing experience so many of their friends have. Or it may just be that they know more about adoption, perhaps because women seem to talk amongst themselves about their personal lives and children more than male coworkers and acquaintances do.
Some women have found that their husbands were initially reluctant about adopting. I’m sure sometimes it happens the other way around too, with the wife being the reluctant one, but either way I’ve never known an adoptive parent who wasn’t totally enamored of his or her kids, as much or more so than if they were biological children.
There are some pluses to being an adoptive parent, also. We were not too stressed out from a difficult pregnancy and childbirth to ignore our children. In our case, our children were not newborns but rather highly interactive personalities from the first time we saw them.
Adoptive fathers may not suffer from the “left-out” feeling that some biological fathers experience when breastfeeding initially takes over the mother’s and newborn’s lives. Although adoptive mothers can often breastfeed, their babies are still likely to need supplemental bottles, giving Dad a chance to share in this highly nurturing time, when a baby learns to trust that these new adults will nurture, nourish, protect, comfort and care for him.
Sometimes the child will even exhibit a preference for the father at first. Each child responds individually. Some children adopted from orphanages are not used to being around men, and bond first to the mother. On the other hand, some children who experienced poor treatment from women orphanage workers prefer their fathers first.
In our case, each daughter seemed to prefer a different parent at first. Our first adopted daughter seemed to bond with me first, but because I stayed home with the older children while my husband went to pick up our daughter for her trip home, Daddy was the first parent our younger daughter met. He was introduced to her by her foster family in her familiar environment, he shepherded her through the two plane flights home (during which the poor thing cut her first teeth!) , the stop at the airport Immigration office, and the meeting with myself and her siblings.
She did reach for her daddy for comfort for quite a while after that. In fact, she still does want daddy when she wakes up at night. (By the third child, I’m quite happy to relinquish that area—although it does make it harder when he travels.) Despite a bit of wistfulness, I’m quite happy for their bond. I encourage fathers and mothers to explore this wonderful way of starting a family which we call adoption.