More Great Adoption Questions

Russ arriving home from Ethiopia with Dimples – I love this man!

Enough from me, it’s time for another great adoption question (or three)! Even if you have never commented before, please share from your own experiences. You can email me your response ( or post it in the comments section and I will share your answers in a post next week. I love hearing what you all have to say and learning from you.

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?

I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say. Have a wonderful weekend.


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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.


  1. Homesteading
    January 11, 2009

    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!

  2. Sandee
    January 11, 2009

    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.

  3. Jen
    January 11, 2009

    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.

  4. Nicole Anderson
    January 11, 2009

    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!

  5. the ewings
    January 12, 2009

    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, it’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.

  6. Laurel
    January 12, 2009

    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.

  7. Brooke W
    January 12, 2009

    I came across your video on youtube of when you adopted your three ethiopian children…and I’m sobbing like a baby! haha…God Bless you guys…we, too, have adopted from Ethiopia and hope to do it again soon!

  8. Angela
    January 12, 2009

    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 commited 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 commited to changing those things and moving forward.

  9. Geri
    January 12, 2009

    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.

  10. Cat and Mark
    January 13, 2009

    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.

  11. ~me~ mama, wife, sister, friend, daughter...
    January 13, 2009

    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 lvoe 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 eveyones playing, lol) But we make sure to show our love and affection to eachother all the time, so our kids can see what love is and how impotrtant 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!!

  12. Andrea
    January 13, 2009

    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.

  13. Brianna Heldt
    January 13, 2009

    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. 🙂


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