Clark and I have been married for almost 14 years and in that time you kind of get to know each other. Honestly, over the past number of years, we haven’t had a lot of arguments. We’re in a rhythm where we kind of know what to expect from each other. That comes with its own set of weakness, of course, but it’s also allowed us to have a lot of fun and build a strong sense of security. However, up until now we’ve really only known each other in the context of being a childless couple, working secure jobs, and taking care of a few pets. Yes, we found our rhythm and that rhythm has worked well... for the two of us.
What we didn’t expect was that once the application was dropped in the mail, all that would change. That one simple action catapulted us into a completely different set of expectations. We suddenly approached topics and discussions, not as a childless couple with a familiar routine and ideas, but as a couple actively trying to bring kids into our homes, with no idea of what to expect. We’ve had different thoughts and ideas about a whole host of new topics that we never needed to discuss before. We also don’t know what we don’t know... what we should be discussing but haven’t yet. Most importantly, we started looking at our relationship in a whole new way.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what changed, but it almost seems like we both instinctively felt the need to pull ourselves together more. There were certain things that, when it’s just the two of us, seemed okay to be a little more complacent about, but now that we are looking at introducing all those new external pressures that come with parenthood, we really want our relationship to be even stronger than it’s been.
It’s easier to keep a relationship together and strong when you have a quiet stable home to come to every night, and free weekends to go out and do something fun... or at least, from where we stand now, it seems that should be easier that way. It should be easier when it’s just two adults who from time to time are content to skip dinner and eat a random assortment of appies instead, or who can entirely fend for themselves if no one wants to make dinner. It should be easier when you have the freedom to decide to blow off household chores in favor of a weekend filled with just playing video games, if you want.
But what happens when other pressures are brought into that home, like a child dealing with unresolved emotional trauma, or a child failing school, or simply the extra energy that is required to take care of these new little ones, with less time leftover to simply rest? What happens when a little someone has needs that have to be met and the adults need to meet those needs no matter how tired, sick, or frustrated they feel?
So we’re working on things like communication... talking about those things we don’t like to talk about and that can simply feel awkward at times. Working harder on understanding the other’s point of view and what we can do to support each other through transitions. Working on getting new habits in place to break our complacency-habit and help rejuvenate us. And we are working on creating new routines to help get physically healthier and stronger, too.
All in all, from where we sit right now, we don’t mind that this could be a lengthy process. There really is so much to do.
I’ve been married to Clark since 1998. He’s my real-life Superman. Since I can’t have kids naturally, we decided to look into other options. We both felt God leading us to adopt a sibling group through the Ministry of Children and Family Development. This is our story.
Waiting to Belong started as a movement to help the more than 30,000 kids in Canada who are waiting to be adopted. Our goal is to see as many waiting kids as possible be placed into loving, forever families. We work to shape realistic perceptions of adoption and to encourage the body of Christ to come alongside adoptive families in practical, loving ways.