While every situation is undoubtedly unique, it seems typical for potential adoptive fathers to take a little longer to warm up to the idea than their better halves. I have some theories as to why this might be. As usual, I don’t have a lot of (read: any) data or psychological studies to support my philosophical meanderings, but that won’t stop me from sharing them.
- We worry about the practical side of adoption. It seems like our better halves tend to look past all of the paperwork, money, time, etc. it takes to complete an adoption and keep their gaze squarely focused on becoming a mother. As a male, I definitely feel like I spend too much time worrying about the “how/what/when/where” instead of trusting everything will work out. I find it easy to do this with most things, but I think the concept that all of these seemingly minor details add up to an astonishingly life-changing event really changes my perspective. To top it all off, this is all before the childrearing actually begins—and we already expected that part to be hard! I feel like I understand the term “paper pregs” more every day.
- We don’t like other people’s children. They are loud. They run everywhere for some reason. They have snotty noses. They don’t pay no mind. No mind. And sometimes they have stupid haircuts. OK, that last one is really on the parents, but it’s hard not to hold it against the kids sometimes. Think about it—how many kids have you asked to keep after you finished babysitting them? If the answer’s not zero, you’re lying. Liar. Stop reading. I guess my thought process was this: “At least if I share genetic code with someone, I’m more likely to understand his or her actions and be better equipped to respond appropriately.” Cue the laughs from every parent ever… (NOTE: Since some of you know me and some of you don’t, I feel the need to clarify that this is merely a sarcastic exaggeration intended to provoke laughter in addition to introspection. I probably like your kids.)
- In addition to paternal instincts, we have patriarchal ones. There was a time—not that long ago—when lineage, heritage, and birthrights were currency. Though, to some extent, that may always be a fact of life, I think it would be fair to say the average American male is far less concerned with preserving his bloodline in the modern age. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t occasionally revert to more primitive lines of thought (e.g., worry about having a son to carry on our family name, wonder what it would be like to see our facial features in great-grandchildren fifty years from now, make fire and beat our chests, etc.). Our better halves seem to get more excited about the process of raising children—nurturing and loving little humans. Men seem to get more excited about the outcome of raising children—a legacy.
Alright, so there’s just a few of things that make us dudes tend to be crappy people. We’re worried about the wrong things when we should just be focusing on praying that little bundle o’ joy into existence. But, before you go thinking all is lost, I also have some “coping mechanisms” to share. You see, just because we tend to be crappy, doesn’t mean we have to be. We just might have to put in a little more work than our better halves.
The only problem is, Kristen told me this post is too long and I have to stop now. No, seriously—she does that. In all fairness, I do ramble. See. I’m doing it again. So…part deux coming soon!