Answers to More Great Adoption Questions


There were so many great answers to these questions. Thank you!

The questions were:

How do you keep the romance going in your relationship?

How do you fit it (romance, time together but time apart from the kids) in?

What can new adoptive parents do to ensure that their relationship doesn’t suffer with the addition of each new child?

Here are your great answers:

Blogger Homesteading said…

I stumbled upon your blog by chance. Being an adoptive mom I thought I’d give one of your questions a go.

What can new adoptive parents do to ensure that their relationship doesn’t suffer with the addition of each new child?

Expect it may take time for everyone to find where they fit. It may take time for it to feel real. It may take time to fall in love with the new child. It may take time to have time. Be patient with yourself, your spouse and your children.

Thanks for asking. Got me thinking.
Take Care!

1/11/2009 3:14 PM

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Blogger Sandee said…

I’m single, so my only romance is with God. I set aside time every morning to spend with him…..while my kiddos are still sleeping. It is really hard sometimes, though, because I often stay up late to get things done…after they are in bed too.

1/11/2009 7:14 PM

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Blogger Jen said…

I am super wondering what the answer is! Two kids plus a job and life are hard enough.. and we’re adding two more soon! I know prayer and keeping a date night are important, but I am eager to hear more.

1/11/2009 8:12 PM

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Blogger Nicole Anderson said…

These are great questions. We have adopted three times. When we first came home and were new parents there was no way that I would leave our new child. I always thought that I was doing him a favor. Since coming home with our third (ages 6, 4 and 2) I realize that alone time with my husband is just as important as quality time with the kids, that leaving them for those couple of hours a month does not make me less their mother. I now know that I am a better mom, when my husband and I have had time together!
We also try to make in-home dates. Get the kids to bed a little early (not a lot) order take out and watch a movie together, or just cuddle on the couch!
This is such an important topic, thanks for posting about this!

1/11/2009 9:18 PM

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Blogger the ewings said…

I think these are important questions. Keeping the romance is hard, especially when times are stressful and exhausting. Encouraging your husband is key for me to keep him as a priority. Maybe a note in his lunch or compliments here and there. I’m all up for trying to get some time together out of the home. But, when that seems not to be an option, home dates work great and turning off the TV to stare into each others eyes and communicate does wonders too – oh, i
t’s been a while maybe do that one TONIGHT!! And always, locking your bedroom door doesn’t hurt either :)!! Still working on this and can’t wait to hear other responses.
-Chris

1/12/2009 5:39 AM

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Blogger Laurel said…

It’s all about Priorities. No matter how many children you have, does your husband know that he is a higher priority than the children. Most likely, your children will have more of your time … but that does not mean they have to be your #1 priority. Make them #1 all day, maybe, but then move your husband to the top position when he comes home from work.

We have 13 children, and we have no involved extended family in our lives (except my 90 year old Daddy who we have short visits with every few months). We have no grandpas, grandmas, aunts or uncles to help with the children.

During our 24 years of parenting, we have always done whatever had to be done to say, “Our marriage is important.”

At least once per year, we have gone away for the weekend without children. Often, this meant asking 4 or 5 friends if they would take 1 or 2 kids for the weekend. Yes, it was a lot to plan … but it was more than worth it. My husband knew that he was important enough for me to plan it … and our children knew that daddy & mommy time was important.

In addition to our annual weekend away, we have always had at least one night per month that is date night. Some years, we’ve been able to have weekly date nights, but in the early years all we could afford was to hire a monthly babysitter. (We actually had to hire 2 at a time for several years.)

Other things we have done …

Feed the kids macaroni and cheese for dinner. Then, after they are in bed, pull out the steak dinners and candles.

Phone each other every day at lunch time just to check in and say, “Hi. How’s your day. I love you.”

I have put romantic greeting cards into Jim’s computer bag many times, for him to find after he gets to work.

Jim has often left little sticky notes on my bathroom mirror, so the first thing I see when I wake up is a little love note.

And, now, with older children that can take care of all of the little ones … we actually get away for 3 – 5 days several times per year. Last summer, our children even sent us on a 10 day trip to Florida and the Bahamas (their gift to us for our 25th anniversary).

Years ago, I heard of a woman who’s husband was planning a trip to Hawaii for their 20th anniversary and this woman said, “I don’t really want to go. I don’t know what we will talk about.” For 20 years, she had focused only on her children. Now, she didn’t know how to recapture the romance in her marriage. I determined back then (12 years ago) to make sure and not let that happen to our marriage.

1/12/2009 10:04 AM

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Blogger Angela said…

I LOVE reading these comments!! Thanks for posting this question! This has been really hard for my dh and I… a couple of things we have done lately:

1) Start marriage counseling! It has been so good for us to say ‘YES’ to our marriage in this way, and to make it a priority to work at making our marriage better, even in the midst of all that is going on. I think it would do every.single.marriage. good to have counseling…and not to wait until things are REALLY bad before you go there! Godly counsel is a GOOD THING!

2) We just committed to waking up at 6 am each monday morning to just be together and chat and pray for our upcoming week, before the kids wake up. Such a great way to start our week on the same page!

3) We put the kids to bed early most nights, and then snuggle up in bed and watch a movie together, or read, or chat before we go to sleep.

It has been HARD for us to keep each other in that #1 spot with so many little ones demanding our attention. There are so many things we could’ve done better over the last few months…but we are committed to changing those things and moving forward.

1/12/2009 7:51 PM

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Anonymous Geri said…

I think relationships and romance take work. You have to be willing to spend the time to get the most out of them. If you don’t, then it’s likely you’ll grow apart.

1/12/2009 8:56 PM

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Blogger Cat and Mark said…

I have to agree with the other commenters – priorities priorities priorities. Make your marriage (and your sanity) a top priority, even with the turmoil of a changing/growing/evolving family.

We have a pretty firm bed time for the kids, even on weekends. We need OUR time. Sometimes that is spent alone, but usually we are together, talking, reading, watching a movie, whatever. There is always something “else” that needs to be done – but sometimes you have to “force” it and take the time with each other. Usually that “forced” feeling doesn’t last long! 🙂

We have also recently discovered date night after the kids are in bed – genius! We pay a bit less for the sitter (they don’t actually DO anything) and we don’t mess with the kids routine. We just catch a 9 p.m. movie or grab a drink, whatever. It is nice to feel like you can leave the house without too much stress.

We also email periodically throughout the day and chat once or twice, just to say hello, you’re on my mind. Always makes me smile and anxious to get home.

Remember – your kids will grow up and leave. Your spouse is your rock through it all. Romance is one of the best investments you can make in your happiness.

1/13/2009 7:09 AM

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Blogger ~me~ mama, wife, sister, friend, daughter… said…

I’m loving reading all these comments! We have 4 bio-babies and are planning to adopt 2 from Ethiopia in the next while. I can imagine that dates won’t happen for a while after we adopt….we haven’t been on a date in years as it is…BUT….we love it this way. We put our kids to bed and have a bit of time together in the evenings. We co-sleep with our wee ones so locking the bedroom door isn’t really an option (except maybe mid day when everyones playing, lol) But we make sure to show our love and affection to each other all the time, so our kids can see what love is and how important it is to say “I love you” and mean it. It will be interesting to see how the dynamic shifts when our new babies come home (I tear up at the thought!) By then our oldest will be 13 and able to babysit…..maybe then we will actually have a date!!

1/13/2009 9:05 AM

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Blogger Andrea said…

I have loved reading these comments as well. After both adoptions we didn’t do such a great job of holding out time for just us. But we are doing better this time. Knowing that having time together was the only thing that would keep us sane.
This time (we have been home with E since August) we have had to work around hospital and Dr visits, but it’s do-able. We have 2 couples that we make a point to have dinner with once a month. It’s great to get out with friends and just chat and laugh. We also try to get to a movie once a month. We go to a later one, after the boys are in bed, as someone else said.
And we take time at the end of each night to hold hands and pray together.

1/13/2009 11:58 AM

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Blogger Brianna Heldt said…

Lisa I love all your questions, and reading everyone’s answers!

For us, our kids go to bed at 7:30–and then it’s OUR time. We spend time together, sometimes watching a movie, reading, chatting, or playing card/board games. (Yes, we’re nerds!) Communication and time together is important for us.

We don’t do regular date nights at this stage of the game, but in a sense once the kids go to bed it kinda feels like a date! (We’ve also in the past fed the kids dinner and ordered Chinese food after they go to bed etc.)

We’ve batted around the idea of us getting up earlier together in the mornings–but so far, I’ve been to lazy to implement it. 🙂

Kelli emailed her answers to me:

How do you keep the romance going in your relationship?
I don’t know if this exactly fits with this question, but for us — we are just SUPER-HONEST. I mean if I want Valentine’s Day to be a night where we go out to a restaurant, and a box of chocolates from our local chocolatier, then that’s what I say. Especially with the crazy life of parenthood, you just can’t make a big deal about remembering on their own, or getting you presents vs. a card or a dinner. You have to focus on what’s going to make your time special and not setting up pitfalls or traps. I’m quite certain that parenthood frazzles your brain a bit — so anything you can do to clarify what is romantic to YOU will be a big help. 🙂

How do you fit it (romance, time together but time ap
art from the kids) in?
We are so fortunate to live near my parents who love the boys like crazy. They’re good about watching them once a month or so for a couple of hours. We also have a babysitter we’re really fond of that can come, but that costs money and we don’t do that as frequently. The best thing we do is call the time after dinner “Mommy and Daddy Time.” The rule is that once each child is finished, asks permission to get down from the table, then he has to leave the room and go play. Once both kiddos are out, we spend 20 minutes or so in just talking/sharing/venting/loving each other. Getting that every night makes a huge difference in just keeping us connecting. Getting everyone to bed by 8:00 also allows for some time together, especially on the weekends, to enjoy time alone. 🙂

What can new adoptive parents do to ensure that their relationship doesn’t suffer with the addition of each new child?
For us the biggest thing is helping each other get our own sanity time. For Ray, it’s making sure he gets time at the gym — even if it’s not as often as he wants. I try to let him get extra sleep on the weekends and that helps him feel normal — for lack of a better word. On my part, if I’m getting tired or stressed, Ray is good about watching the kids while I take a bath, read a book, or watch a movie or something — to emotionally get away. Helping US remain together + having weekend nights and a few hours with mom and dad playing babysitter really helps us stay connected together.

Thanks, Lisa!

— Kelli
********

Having been married for nearly 25 years, Russ and I have had lots of practice with making our marriage work. Time together is a priority for us, but it has looked different over the seasons of our lives.

When all of our children were little, we put them to bed early and then had time together. During the long years of grad school, we didn’t have money to go out, but we put the kids to bed and spent time together. One of our favorite things to do was to read a book aloud to each other. We haven’t accomplished it many times, but we have loved it when it has worked out. I bought a new book for us to read last summer and I think we have only made it through four chapters so far.

When our Sweet Pea and Mimi were finally old enough to be responsible for sleeping children, we began running together early in the morning like we did during our college days. That worked for a long time, but as the demands of Russ’ work have increased in the last six years, that hasn’t been an option for us.

Before our new children came home we had a regular Friday date night which was a wonderful treat. Sometimes we would go out for a little while, just long enough for the little ones to be fed and tucked in, then we would come home to watch a movie together in our room. We have also had many “at home” dates with a treat to eat and a movie to watch.

Since the arrival of our first three children from Ethiopia we have had very little down time. The intensity of our parenting responsibilities has shot through the roof and it is very difficult to leave Dimples who gets very concerned when we are away. Tonight she told me that she is afraid I am going to die and she asked me who would take care of her if I died. Leaving her is very stressful and we don’t do it often.

We hope to get back into date nights again one day, but in the meantime this is what we do:

1. We pray together, even if it is brief just before we fall asleep.

2. We call each other at least once a day. Okay, I’ll be honest here, I call Russ at least once a day. I just need to hear his voice and take a deep breath.

3. We try to talk for a few minutes over coffee before Russ heads out the door – it generally happens while we are standing in the kitchen feeding children, but I don’t feel ready for the day if I haven’t connected with Russ first.

4. We try to extend kindness to each other. Russ makes it possible for me to run in the morning. I try to be supportive of his long work hours and when he can’t come home for dinner, I try to take food to him at his office. He often comes home to tuck the kids in bed (even if he has to go back to work) just to lift the pressure off of me. I try to encourage him to go snowboarding with the boys , which has hasn’t done yet this year, but he hopes to. As small as this is, I try to cook foods he really likes – it means a lot to him. I also put his laundry away for him and make sure our bathroom is clean – all small things, but still kindnesses. I also try never to run out of half and half, if he has good coffee in the morning, he is a happier man.

5. A lock on the bedroom door is essential.

6. Our younger kids go to bed between 7:30 and 8:00. Russ often needs to work in the evenings, but when he doesn’t, we enjoy the time together, although we are often hanging out with our big kids.

As I write, Honeybee has been home for five months, Dimples has been home for twenty months, and the little boys have been home 22 months. Like I have said before, I don’t think we have ever worked this hard in our lives. Adding older children to our family who have experienced loss and trauma has not been easy, their needs are significant, which leaves less time for nurturing our marriage. However, having given birth to seven babies, we know that this is a season of life. It will not always be this hard (at least we hope not!), and there will be more time for us again.

On a very exciting note, we already have plans for a special trip for our 25th wedding anniversary in June! Dear friends are lending us their fabulous vacation home near Yellowstone. We love long drives together and the scenery will be beautiful. We should start praying now for the children, both those who will be worried about being left, and those who will be taking care of the worried ones.

Marrying Russ is by far the very best decision I have ever made and I consider him absolutely the greatest blessing in my life. I want to be a wife who is worthy of this gift, one who honors her husband and regards him as more important than myself. I want to be a woman who joyfully gives to him and encourages him to be all that God wants him to be.

Thanks for the great questions and answers. I have a few more questions in store, but I’m always ready for more. Email me (thankfulmom@gmail.com) if you have a question you would like me to pose to these amazing women.

~Lisa

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Bethany
    January 14, 2009

    Thank you for this post! As my husband and I prepare to travel to Ethiopia to bring our 2 kiddos home this post has brought much insight and godly counsel to me! These children will be our first and I’m so grateful that I’ve run across these insightful truths!

    Reply
  2. blessedfamily
    January 14, 2009

    I am soo very humbled by all of the comments. Thank you all. This was great and gives me something to strive for in my marriage!

    Can I say I LOVE you ladies without sounding crazy! These Q&A's have been a god send!

    Reply
  3. Audrey
    January 14, 2009

    Such wisdom! Thank you so much ladies. My sweet hubby and I have had a few years of ‘us’ time – our youngest is almost 18. I remember those days with small children as stressful and hard – I want so much to be more serene this time around.

    You guys give me hope that I can parent small children again and still be madly in love with my husband!

    Reply
  4. Jen
    January 14, 2009

    Can I just say that I made it through everyones comments, but when you were talking about Russ.. I started BAWLING! That is so great that he is the best decision ever.

    I’ve been thinking more and more about this, and I’ve added trying to encourage as much as possible. It’s amazing how my husband reacts to words like.. “thanks for working so hard for us” or “I think you are a great dad, and we’re so blessed to have you”.

    I’ve been saying more, and he’s been leaving notes for me in the morning! He also is great at forcing me to get with my girl friends, or shoving a $10 bill in my hand and telling me to get coffee or a movie on my own!

    It really is about being intentional. We can both get in bad phases and tensions can run high. That let’s off to the kids, and then it’s all a big nightmare!

    Here’s to grace and spending time with the Lord. That’s where it all happens!!!!

    Reply
  5. Ericka
    January 18, 2009

    This post and Q&A has been a God-send they are truly a blessing!!!!!

    Reply
  6. jen
    January 25, 2009

    Finally, I’ve been waiting to read this whole thing until I could sit down and really take it in. Thanks for doing all of these questions and answers – so much fun to read what everyone has to say!

    Reply

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