Why Making Decisions for Your Adoptee Spouse Can Kill Your Marriage

By Larry Shrodes

When we first got married, I went out and bought a bed.

Pretty harmless right?

Wrong. I did it without my wife.

Guys, if there’s one thing you want in marriage, it’s for your wife to like your bed and want to be in it. :)

Whether one is married to an adoptee or not, it would be a smart idea to consult with your spouse about things like this, but for an adoptee marriage, you may be committing marital suicide not to do so.

I got this bed on a great deal, we needed a bed, and I thought, “Hey, I’ll just pick this up and Deanna will love it.”  Ha! Epic fail.

Unfortunately with the great deal I got, returning it was not an option. We were stuck with it for quite a while as when we first got married we were too poor to pay attention. Didn’t have two nickels to rub together.  What other metaphors can I use? You get the picture… 

Going through that situation early on and then many more after it through trial and error showed me something about the adoptee I’m married to. She’s very sensitive about decisions being made for her. She tells me many other adoptees feel the same way.

Adoptees & Marriage:
When Your Spouse Doesn't Understand

Many requests have come to my inbox asking for help with adoptee marriage issues.
I’ve also noticed on a few adoptee sites the past few weeks that adoptees seem to be interested in and asking for help concerning their marriage.  

Photo Credit: Lee J. Haywood, Flickr
My mailbox has informed me that some of you aren't currently in a relationship or married although you want to be -- you fear it because of your unresolved adoption issues. Others have expressed that you are in a marriage that is desperately hurting because your spouse doesn't understand your issues. And some of you have been divorced once or several times because of unresolved adoption pain, among other things. 

At the outset here, let me say, there is no judgment here. 
Only love, help and hope!

I have heard your hearts cry.  We're launching a new column here specifically speaking to adoptee marriage issues.  [Insert wild cheering here.]

New Feature at AR: Adoptee Marriage!

I say "we" because...I’m not going to write this regular column alone – my husband of 26 years is going to join me. It’s only fitting. Not only has he walked through life with me for almost three decades, but he’s also got the most popular post here at Adoptee Restoration. No, I’m not jealous. Even though I've written thousands of blog posts, and he's only written one and BOOM. But whatever.

What can you expect out of this ongoing series? I’ll be writing some posts alone, and so will Larry. And some, we will co-write. 

We’re going to address everything, and I do mean everything. We’ll try to keep it R-rated just in case you leave your computer open and your kid starts reading. No worries. 

Adopted and Stronger. Here's Why.

Challenge has never been a stranger to me. 

Throughout the journey of life, I've encountered so many obstacles, all of which I won't list here if for no other reason than it would go against every rule of successful blogging.  

I will share just a few. 

My husband and I were the pastors of an abusive church at one time. (This is more common for pastors to experience than you may think.) 

Photo Credit: JeffPearce, Flickr

Years ago, Larry and I lost our jobs, home, income, social network and more -  all at once. We experienced the loss of everything except each other and our kids, and a few other material possessions. We didn't have money to rent storage. The few things we still owned were stored in an empty Sunday School room of a church that had compassion on us.  

The experience of pastoring the abusive church and the loss that resulted was a wake up call that showed us who our real friends were. Some stood by us and some didn't. I was able to quickly cut our Christmas card list by two-thirds. (That was back when I was still sending Christmas cards. Now I just do a Facebook update that tells everybody Merry Christmas in about two seconds minus the need to spend fifty bucks on stamps.) 

I’ve faced absolutely off-the-wall happenings nobody would believe unless I had witnesses to testify to it.

Stuff like the first week of our pastorate in Tampa starting off with a murder.

Adoptees: Why It's Helpful to Cry Alone

The title of this post may seem unhealthy or even dangerous. 

Cry alone?

Yes. I'm about to share something with you that I've found extremely helpful.

Now, for a disclaimer: Prolonged isolation is not healthy. Disconnection with others can be dangerous– not to mention, it’s completely different from the way God has wired us. 

Photo Credit: zanten.net., Flickr

When I speak of the need to cry alone, I’m referring to something temporary.

It’s important to have people in our lives who accept the real us, who can handle our joys and our tears. I’m so grateful to have that in my life.

At the same time, I’ve found there’s a certain type of cry that is helpful to have alone.

It's a cry so deep, by it's nature tends to overwhelm family or friends who experience it.

Adoptees: YOU Didn't Fail Your Kids!!!

My sister and Tom recently sorted through some of Judy’s (my natural mother’s) belongings. They set a few things aside that they thought I would appreciate and sent them on to me.
A box arrived on my front doorstep last week and I opened it and began to look through it. Some pieces of her clothing my sister thought I would like were enclosed, as well as some  keepsakes. I am grateful for my sister and Tom’s thoughtfulness in this and treasure the items.

While I was going through the box, my eldest son Dustin walked in the room and said, “What’s that, Mom?” I explained the contents of the box. After listening for a moment he shook his head in frustration and said, “I wish there was a name in the box.”

Human Beings Want Their Natural Mother

Two of my friends have both lost their mothers.

One friend was very close to her mother, and is grieving horribly. Everyone understands this.

Photo Credit: dimnikolov, Flickr
The other friend was not close to her mother. She is also grieving terribly and perhaps some do not understand why she is reacting the way she is. Why is she taking her mother’s passing so hard when the two were not close and in fact were at odds most times?

In going through the recent passing of my natural mother as well as observing other friends who go through the same, I have noticed the impact is great no matter the relationship. If one was close to their mother, they mourn the loss of spending time together – the comfort of their mom’s presence. If someone was not close to their mother, they mourn the loss of what they hoped for, but did not receive.  Either way, when your natural mother dies, it's a huge blow.

Top 10 Things for Adoptees to Say When Told They Should Just Be Glad They Weren’t Aborted

This post, my third in the Abortion series, is by request from adoptees who have asked me to write a post of  comebacks to use when told to just be glad we weren’t aborted. If you missed Part One and Part Two, be sure to check 'em out. 

Photo Credit: CappellMeister, Flickr
My husband says, “Deanna, be careful with sharing this brand of humor with non-adopted people. Your adoptee friends may be the only ones who get it and others wonder what in the world you all find so funny..."

True. Point taken.

Is there a place for insider humor? I think so.  If we don't laugh, we'll cry! In fact, laughing when people say things like this IS my literal response many times. I find laughing helps to stay relatively sane when faced with such insanity.

So I'm sharing this piece, with a warning to nons…you may wanna click “x” in the corner on this post.

Let the adoptee good times roll!  

Why It's Not Helpful To Tell Adoptees To Be Grateful They Weren't Aborted (Part Two)

This post is the second in the , Why It’s Never Helpful to Tell Adoptees to Be Grateful They Weren’t Aborted series. In Part One, we looked at this issue in light of the fact that there are adoptees who wish they had been aborted, for various reasons. 

Photo Credit: One Tiny Spark, Flickr
After exploring this subject and bringing some enlightenment to those who had no clue of this fact, I’d now like to move on to bring some of my adoptee and first mother friends to talk about another related issue in response to this question. That is, the fact that adoption and abortion are not the same issue. After they share, I’ll wrap things up.

Deanna: Adoptee friends, why is it not helpful to tell  adoptees to just be grateful they weren't aborted?

“It is no more appropriate to tell an adoptee to be grateful they were not aborted than it would be to tell a non-adoptee that. ALL of our mothers made the same choice to give birth, whether they were married, single, rich, poor, young, old, whatever. Any of them could have aborted but did not. We need not be any more grateful for being alive than anyone else who is breathing. Adoption is not the opposite of abortion, giving birth is. The opposite of adoption is being raised within your own family.” 
 Julie J., Adoptee 

Why It's NOT Helpful to Tell Adoptees to Be Grateful They Weren't Aborted (Part One)

I asked some of my adoptee friends why it’s not helpful when people tell them to be grateful they weren't aborted. Yes, believe it or not, that's really common for adoptees to hear.    Today I’ve taken a sampling of their answers and am addressing just one reason why. Keep in mind, it’s not the only reason – just one that I will be addressing in this series.  

Once I share a few of their comments, I'm going to weigh in...

Photo Credit: MSVG, Flickr
Deanna: Adoptee friends, why isn’t it helpful when people tell adoptees to be grateful they weren't aborted?

 “To be completely frank and politically incorrect, in the decades it has taken me to gain access to my siblings and birth family as well as deal with the circumstances into which I was relinquished, there have been many times I wished I were aborted. Those days have passed, but it is not lost on me that the quandry into which falsified birth certificates and denial of grief deliver a child, can result in a terrible waste of "life time." As for me, I'm pro "real life."  Clayton Shaw, Adoptee

An Open Letter to the Pro-life Community
from a Pro-Life Adoptee

“We need to take a stand for life.”

I agree. I'm pro-life.  
I'm one of you.
And I'm an adoptee. 

Photo Credit: Frank de Klein, Flickr

So, I say... let’s take a stand for LIFE.
Let's do this thing.

A roadblock to life is that much of the church and the pro-life community is pro BIRTH, not pro LIFE!

We tend to care immensely about making sure children are born, but not so much about them once they’ve arrived.

Fear Trumps Love Every Time
(But It Doesn't Have To!)

Take-aways are really important to me. Whenever I go to a conference I take a plethora of notes. Gleaning whatever I can is of utmost importance and formal teaching times are not my only opportunity for takeaways. I try to make a habit of learning something from every conversation. 

Photo Credit: Renett Stowe, Flickr
Talking with the Lord, sessions with my therapist, and conversations with friends have provided me with a plethora of takeaways in regard to adoption and my journey with my first mother.