Growing your family can be a stressful time for you and your spouse or partner. Shifting schedules, a lack of sleep, and increased responsibilities can be taxing even on the healthiest of relationships. And adoption is no different.
“No doubt adoption is stressful for the child, but it is also stressful for the parents,” says Dawn Davenport, Creating a Family. However, “the greatest gift you can give your child is a healthy and happy relationship with your spouse [or partner].”
How to Maintain a Strong Relationship after Adoption
“We’re so accustomed to making our children the center of our world, but experts say that your marriage needs just as much nurturing,” says Holly Robinson, Parents. Here are a few tips to help keep your relationship strong after adoption.
- Listen to Each Other: We mean really listen. Don’t start thinking of a reply while the other person is talking. “By learning to listen….really listen… you will gain more insight and understanding of each other,” says Elizabeth Westermann, LCSW. “The deeper the understanding the deeper the connection you can have with your partner. With mutual understanding, your struggles to become parents can bring you closer together.”
- Find Time to Be a Couple: “It’s easy for couples to retreat and isolate themselves from each other when they feel stressed,” writes Westermann. “Create time each week to enjoy each other’s company and just be a couple”
- Try Something New: “It’s important to find new ways to connect and keep your relationship fresh,” says Linda Waite, PhD, a sociologist at the University of Chicago.
- Don’t Feel Guilty: Don’t feel guilty that you need to take time to work on your marriage and just be with your spouse or partner. You aren’t neglecting your child. Quite the opposite really. David Anderegg, a child psychologist advises that children NEED some degree of freedom – to make their own choices, to explore, and to even make mistakes. It’s a vital part of the developmental process.
- The Three A’s: No matter what you choose to do to remain close, it is important to express the three A’s during your daily routine – affection, appreciation, and admiration – says researcher John Gottman, PhD, author of And Baby Makes Three.
- Counseling: “It is also pretty common to be completely overwhelmed by the demands of new motherhood/fatherhood,” says Davenport. Counseling is a great way to explore your feelings and work through issues in a positive setting. This is beneficial for both individuals and couples. “No matter how great your marriage was before you had kids, you can’t just leave it on autopilot now,” says Robinson. Counseling isn’t just for couples struggling in their marriage. It can be a great way to help strengthen an already strong marriage, especially when going through a major change – like adopting a child.
Need Someone to Talk To?
Adoption Makes Family is here to help! We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. Our adoption counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience. If you would like our advice or just need to talk, please give us a call at any time.
24-Hour Hotline 410-683-2100
If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online contact form.
- Davenport, Dawn. “Finding Balance with ‘Cocooning’ Newly Adopted Kids.” Creating a Family, 12 May 2017, creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/finding-balance-cocooning-newly-adopted-kids/.
- Davenport, Dawn. “Keeping Your Marriage Solid When Adopting or Fostering.” Creating a Family, 12 Apr. 2018, creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/keeping-marriage-solid-adopting-fostering/.
- Marano, Hara Estroff. “A Nation of Wimps.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200411/nation-wimps.
- Robinson, Holly, and Kate Powers. “Happy Parents, Happy Kids.” Parents, Parents, 3 Jan. 2017, www.parents.com/parenting/relationships/staying-close/happy-parents/.
- Westbrooks, Emily. “9 Ways Adoption Changes Your Marriage.” Romper, Romper, 25 Apr. 2018, www.romper.com/p/9-ways-adoption-changes-your-marriage-that-are-hard-but-worth-it-53118.