It’s been 8 years since we adopted and 18 years since we got married. To say that we have always been a volatile couple is an understatement. I thought after those 10 years together there couldn’t be anything else that could put a strain on our marriage and then our children arrived!
Don’t get me wrong our children are lovely and actually comparatively speaking they are ‘well-behaved’. They do have the challenges you would expect from children who’ve had early trauma and insecure attachments but what has amazed me, and continues to, is how it has tested our relationship to the max.
This is something I hear time and time again from friends and others in the adoption world. Some unfortunately ending in separation and divorce, many limping along desperately trying to hold it all together.
So – why don’t we talk about it?? Why are there very few, if any, books about this, blogs, articles, courses? Why is no-one talking about how hard it is to keep relationships going in the midst of raising adopted children?
Of course marriage is hard in general, as is parenting, but for those of you reading who fall into this married or long term relationship and adopted children you will know the added plus it brings. If it’s not the children splitting you it’s your own disunity over parenting approaches, lack of time together and just the enormity of the exhaustion you may feel at times.
Whilst I’ve been thinking about this for a while I have no real answers I’m afraid. We constantly fight over approaches of parenting and the pressures of life (running a business, friends, trying to keep healthy etc) all just add to that stress. I have to say as well that us women generally seem to acknowledge the need to talk to each other more. After running support groups for a number of years I was always curious as to why couples come together before they have their children placed (as we did), then once placed you very rarely see the man again. Maybe that’s because we want to sit around and chat a bit more (some of us), or because men feel uncomfortable in a room full of women, or just the reality that as women we tend to be the ones looking after the children most and so want to find some help and support.
I don’t know. I do know that whilst we now will talk about Attachment issues, education, life story and even self-care and secondary trauma sometimes – we still do not seem to want to talk about our closest relationships and how they are faring, or not, under the strain of adoption.
So I’m hoping my short ramblings may open some discussion around this subject. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I do have some questions:-
- How do you keep your relationship stronger for longer through adoption?
- Can you be on the same page with your parenting approaches? If so, how do you do that?
- How can we encourage more of our partners to get support from others?
- When family relationships are such an important part of our children’s healing, why do we not focus more on making sure our primary relationship is as solid as it can be?
So answers on a post card please….you can email me Nicola@braveheartsolutions.co.uk or message me on facebook BraveHeart Education or Twitter @BraveheartEdu. If you do know of resources out there on this subject please let me know.