My wife and I have two boys, ages nearly 9 and 6, and I’ve generally felt like a good dad and husband. We knew we wanted a larger family, and my wife has always wanted to adopt a child, so we started that process. Meanwhile, she got pregnant, and at the same time we were presented with some adoption options for children who are under a year old. My wife is very excited. This is what she wanted.
In the last two months or so, I’ve been freaking out and anxious. I’ve had anxiety in my life before, but this is new; like nothing is right and everything seems surreal. When I’m not feeling crazy, the situation sounds ideal, because our third child will have a peer-aged sibling and we wouldn’t be wondering about another kid a few years from now when we’re a little older. We have the financial resources to deal with this and are lucky to have loving, supportive family nearby.
So why am I feeling such dread and anxiety? I should want our kid, and don’t understand why adoption (which seemed really appealing last year) now freaks me out. My wife realized the other night that I wasn’t excited about this, and she got really upset. Her dream is to adopt and she thought I would be happy about our biological child, so she’s doubly disappointed and hurt. What is wrong with me?
Brad Pitt, is that you? Tell Angelina to just take a deep breath and sit down. All the dyes from her bright red lipstick must be seeping into her brain and making her crazy.
I think there’s nothing wrong with you. I even think it’s a little sad that you think there’s something wrong with you. Why are you feeling anxiety and dread? Because you have two kids and your wife wants to add two more at exactly the same time. That’s why. It’s a lot of work and a lot of stress and a lot of change for you, your wife, and the kids you already have.
It’s great that Angelina’s so excited to open her heart to another child, but if you’re not 100% into it, don’t do it. It’s not at all fair to the child you’re adopting, and if you’re resentful and angry and your marriage goes to shit because of it, Jennifer Aniston will be excited, but no one else will. (Kidding, Jen. I know you’re over him.)
Put your adoption plans on hold, have the baby, wait until it’s old enough to sit up on its own, and then talk to Angie about a good time to have another child, whether it’s a biological or an adopted one. If you have several opportunities now, I’m sure in a year or two there will be others. Ang might be disappointed and hurt at first, but it’s not all about her and her fertile womb and open arms; it’s about everyone in your family, current and future members included.