Wednesday, March 7, 2012

RSS-- Reluctant Spouse Syndrome

Okay, a few months before our second trip, we were told to take down various posts.  Pretty much any post referring to donations or money.  I did that but to be on the safe side, I took down any post that could be "taken the wrong way."  So, I saved a few of those posts and will be putting them back up over the next few days.  This was one that I had written last  year.  Just thought it was time some posts go back up.

RSS-- Reluctant Spouse Syndrome Oh my oh my.  Not sure I should write about this one.  LOL.  My husband may have a few things to say about it when I'm done.  Okay, so RSS is not considered a real syndrome but it definitely affects many when it comes to adoption.  Believe it or not, Warren has suffered w/ this horrible affliction since we started these journeys over 12 years ago!  Yes, yes he did.  His was so bad that the director of our one adoption agencies almost didn't let us adopt.  She told me this years later.  She said Warren just did not seem like he was on board.  No, no he wasn't on board and I'm going to be honest here so that others can understand. RSS can apply to men or women but over all these years, I've seen it seems to hit the men more.  I will use Warren as an example.  Poor guy.  He'll be okay, I'm sure of it.  When we first discovered infertility issues, we had two paths to choose.  We took the adoption path after much discussion.  We went to a seminar years ago(1998) put on by Frank Adoption Center.  We came out of there even less than hopeful as we both thought "How can we ever afford to do something like this?"  Once we got past sticker shock, we decided to move forward.  Yet, there was still something holding Warren back.  Even after we saw the pictures of Max and Irina, I knew he wasn't quite into this.  Me, I can look at a picture and just tell this is my kid.  I know that sounds odd but it's true. I used to volunteer and did advocacy work over the years.  I've seen many, many files, medicals, pictures, etc. of kids.  Yet, I always knew if I saw a picture of MY kids.  This was true of Alyona and I"ve told this in her adoption story. For Warren though, the picture is just not enough.  It's not.  It's not real for him.  Don't get me wrong, he goes along w/ the process but I truly don't feel it is a real experience for him till her physically touches the kids.  That first hug or hand holding.  He has to know these kids exist and not just in photos.  I think a reason Warren is so reluctant is the beginning is he is more the realist.  I'm more the believer that things will work out.  His concerns are always monetary in the beginning.  Really, hon, we can't afford another child in this house.  Yes ,I've heard this many times before.  In fact, I've heard it for every single set of adoptions we've done.  This time though, I really am wondering.  LOL.  Warren likes to know how everything is going to work.  And with adoption, there are so many unknowns.  I just don't think men in particular like that.  In sports, they have all these various plays for when situations arise. Umm, you can't do that in adoption boys.  You really can't. Now, some may give up hope and say there is no way in he** that my husband is going to change his mind.  It is made up.  Totally made up.  Yes, so was Warren's mind.  I mean, you couldn't even approach him about the subject.  I regret NOT doing what I was going to originally do about a year and a half before we signed onto this set of adoptions.  I was going to make a documentary.  In it would have included our very first conversation when I brought this crazy idea up again.  I swear I thought flames would have shot out of his head. Ahh, the big question.  How do you get a guy w/ RSS to come around?  Hard one.  It took Warren a year and a half this last time to come around to the idea of adopting again.  And then...adopting 3 of them!  Yikes!  That would scare anyone off.  With Warren, we would randomly bring the idea up here and there.  With some of our adoptions, the kids would get involved.  Or I would leave up their pictures on the computer.  Yes, despite that saying that all photo websites are bad and you shouldn't find your kids that way, almost all mine were found that way.  So, any time Warren would look, those faces would be there.  Or, some times I'd get daring and send him a photo at work. I think I did that with Alyona.  Maybe it was a different one.  Sent him a picture and said this is your daughter. With Irina and Max, though he was hesitant, he was pretty much on board from the beginning.  But to tell you just how unsure we were, we visited a group home in NC.  That's when we knew, we should be going to Russia.  BTW, that visit was just a week or two before we were to leave to Russia for Max and Irina.  Talk about reluctant.  Now, they are 18 and 16yo.  Funny how things work out. With Yana and Alex it was a bit easier.  Warren & I weren't sure we wanted to take the plunge again.  So, decided to host.  Warren said we're ONLY hosting.  I said okay.  Insert the devilish laugh here.  On like day two, Warren turns to me as we're going to sleep & said "We're going back to Russia, aren't we?"  I said "yes, yes we are."  But, they were physically in our home & I think that made a huge difference. With Bojan, oooh serious, serious RSS.  I mean, we had just gotten back from Russia.  What Warren didn't know, is I had seen Bojan's photo right before we left.  instead of telling him though, I wanted to wait till we got home and got settled.  After finding out he was available, it was time to broach the subject of adoption after ONLY being home a few weeks w/ two, count them two RADishes.  Yes, this one would not be easy for a man w/ RSS.  I didn't have much time to work on him and this one I approached purely as a monetary standpoint.  I wrote out exactly how we could afford this adoption so soon after the other one.  Phew, that took some doing.  Long story short, he agreed. Reluctantly of course. For RSS, it is a long process to get through.  Like I said, this set of adoptions it took Warren a year and a half to get over. But he eventually did.  Now, you ask him that now and he'll say no.  Why?  Because he met the kids and is in love w/ them.  He really can't wait to get back to them.  At first I was crushed when Warren didn't want to adopt this go around.  But then, I thought about it and said, he'll come around.  Just will take a lot of time.  Kids sometimes will ask him.  Sometimes I'll make charts out so he can see how we can do it expense wise.  Sometimes I'll throw hints out.  Sometimes I'll leave pictures up or around.  Don't get pesty if you have a husband w/ RSS.  Get creative.  Keep the positive attitude.  This by far is the hardest to do considering you want it so badly to add a child & they seem to not want it at all.  Eventually, they will come around.  I guarantee you though, it will not be at the same speed you want them to.   And, I don't think it's b/c they don't want it, I think it's because they truly don't like unknowns.  Adoption is filled w/ unknowns.  Many.  I think it scares the men off.  Now, the way I know Warren is starting to come around to the idea of more kids is he'll throw verbal hints out.  Some are more subtle than others. I never make a big deal of it though.  Secretly though, I'm screaming YES inside.  One of our adoptions he said we need to go looking at bigger vans.  One of them he said we probably should put two down on the INS form versus one just in case. One time he simply said how many kids are you putting down that I'm agreeing to this go around?  I said 3.  Yep, that was this time.  Just yesterday, he was in the van and kept having Freudian slips of saying we had 12 kids.  He said I have no idea why I keep doing that.  It's 10, no more!  Yet, we're talking about looking at shuttle buses & moving (another post).  Is ten it?  I think so, I do.  But I really thought we were done at 5 kids.  And surely 7 kids.  You never know. All I do know is Warren will always have RSS.  It doesn't seem to go away.  However, it is manageable.  Especially, once they put their arms around those kids for the first time.  That makes all the months or years of RSS seem to fade in a heartbeat. There is no magic way to get a husband w/ RSS to come around.  All I know is no matter how long it takes or how impossible it seems, it is worth it.  Warren truly loves those kids in Bulgaria.  It was just as hard for him to leave them this time as it was me.  I could see him w/ Reni.  That's the one that's going to have him "wrapped" btw.  LOL.  This was not the picture of a man w/ RSS, was it?  Not in a long shot.  Yet, in the same token, it was.   I really can't wait to show you the pictures of him w/ the kids in it on our first trip.  There is no way you'd look at those and say Warren had RSS at any time during this adoption.  I'm here to tell you he did indeed.  However, it slowly faded just as it always does when he meets his kids.  This is a hard thing for anyone in the adoption community to admit.  Especially, especially for the men.  Once their kids are home or they met them, they don't want to ever say to anyone that they once didn't want kids or to adopt them.  Again, I think it is b/c of all the unknowns.  Keep strong in your beliefs that you think this is right for your family...adoption.  Also though, keep in mind your spouse may not be on board right away.  It does NOT mean they never will be on board.  Just means it may take some time.  Be patient.  And, this is completely my take on RSS.   Now, hopefully my husband will read this and not be too upset w/ me.  Sorry hon.  Had to use you as an example.  I don't think they would have believed me if I put John Doe in there.  LOL.  And for the record, I believe we are all set at 10.  Yet, I can't say if an opportunity presented itself, I would say no.  But, we'd do as we always do down this adoption road..we'd make the decision together.  In the end folks you both have to be on the same page to do an adoption.  Maybe not during the whole journey, but in the end, you BOTH must want this.  And for Warren and I, we do.

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