Monday, May 9, 2011

Reluctant Husband Syndrome - Question 1

I am very excited to address something known in the blogosphere as RHS--
Reluctant Husband Syndrome.

You can count me in as one of “those husbands” who has not been on the same wavelength as his wife when it comes to adopting a child.

Guys, we should start a support group.  “Hello.  My name is Anthony, and I’m a reluctant husband.”

Well, thanks be to God, I’m a lot better now.  And I won't step off the wagon!

So I want to speak to you husbands, you RH cowboys, who need a little help sorting through this stuff.  In this post, I address the first in a series of typical questions you may have as an RH.  Please feel free to write to me if you have any questions, you need prayer, or you want to scream.  I am here for you. 


I might consider adopting, but later.  So what’s wrong with putting it off for a year or so?

I would ask one simple question.  Why? 

Is God telling you to put off adoption for a year or so, or are you afraid of facing the issue now?  I was afraid.  Adéye will tell you.  When there’s something that she or one of the kids asks me to address now and I don’t want to face it for a while, I’ll say “Some day.”  You should try it, dads.  It works! 

“Dad, when can I get an MP3 player like the boys?”

“Some day.”

“Honey, I would LOVE some extra money to buy my friend…”

“Some day.”

You should try it guys.  Try it with me right now.  Say, “SUUUUUUM…DAAAAAAY.”


The fact of the matter is, orphans do not have “some day.”  They have “any day.”

Any day now, that caregiver’s going to slap me around again.

Any day now, I’m going to hear that I’m unadoptable, and I’ll never have a chance to live in a family I can call my own.

And even…Any day now, I’m going to die in here.

I know the last point sounds like I’m being dramatic.  I WISH it were only a matter of drama.  But it’s a very real, urgent problem.  Orphans do die while waiting for families, and the number of them dying daily is ridiculously high—every 5.2 seconds, according to UNICEF.

For me, it was a “some day” issue, for the simple reason that I couldn’t get my head around an entire list of other questions like, how am I going to afford it?  How am I going to sustain another child in the family after they’re here?  How can I love an adopted child on the same level as one of my own?  I’m so busy now, how in the world am I going to fit in another child to pay attention to, without having the other children feeling left out?  How will my other children accept them, or will they?  Will the adopted child accept us?  What will my extended family say and will they accept them?  What if the child we adopt has special needs that will take away from our current quality of life?  What if we adopt someone that harms or abuses our other children?  And finally, I want my kids out of the house when I grow old, because I want ME time.  What if the adopted ones never leave home?  (Now you can guess what the other questions in the series will be!)

So when Adéye approached me about adopting, not just the first time but the second, third and fourth time, one or more or all of these questions bubbled over in my gray matter, and all I could manage to mutter was, “Some day.”

Another thing I was doing was this: buying time.  I wanted God to speak to ME about this adoption thing.  After all, I AM the head of the household!

I had to look at the stark reality that most of the time God speaks to wives first about adoption.  He courts the mother heart in women—the beautiful nurturing heart He created in them—to hear His voice and feel HIS heart breaking for the plight of the orphan.  And God’s doing this to scores of women worldwide right now.  Why?  Because there are 147 million orphans in the world today.  Do you realize that many orphans make up the eighth largest country in the world?!

I’ve learned over the years to listen to my wife.  You may be reading this now, realizing that you listen to your wife on other spiritual issues with great ease and even appreciation.  You know, when she warns you about a business venture you’re about to step into.  Or when she tells you she has a “check in her spirit” about what your teenager is up to.  Admit it.  She’s right most, if not all, of the time.  So did she just board the Crazy Train when she mentions bringing an orphan into your home?

We are bought with a price and are volunteer slaves of Jesus Christ, men.  If a wife is described in Scripture as a “good thing” and a “helpmate,” then yes, a husband and wife are a team.  The man, as head of the household (Eph. 5:23), steers the team:

“In his heart a man plans his course, but…but…BUT…BUUUUUUUT…the LORD determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9) (“but” emphasis mine, in case you didn't notice).

Guys, I hope you’re not like me.  I plan and plan and plan, but I make the fatal mistake of determining my own steps.  “Steps” are when God says, “Do this.  Go there.  Act now on this.  Act now on that later.”  “Determining his steps” implies God gives direction and timing with those plans.  And when we’re too afraid or too stubborn to hear Him on these things, our Father speaks to you-know-who.

Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask you first to bring your perfect peace to your son who’s reading this right now.  Speak to his heart, either way, about adoption, about your direction and your timing.  Holy Spirit, reveal all things that get between You and this husband, so that Your perfect will is done in his life and in the life and purpose of his family.  We trust you with our very lives, especially now.  Amen.


  1. Morning Anthony - great prayer! But what makes you think we guys ARE the head of the household? ;)

    Jokes aside - a man who doesn't heed is wife is quite possibly ignoring Words from the Father!


  2. Its beautiful. As a woman, I find a lot of encouragement in your blog - for me and my husband.

  3. Loved this! Both my husband and I are passionate about adoption, but it started w/ RHS for him too! Thanks for posting

  4. I am so glad you decided to start this blog. My husband has gotten to the point where he gets angry when I talk to him about adoption. I went to Bulgaria to help with connecting the rainbow and I was able to visit an orphanage. I had heard stories and seen pictures but, now it became my story. And, I thought sharing with him what I saw and felt would make a difference to him but, I don't think he even read my email. He has said nothing and I don't dare say anything more to him. I am hurt and I have to admit that I am angry. Angry that he doesn't understand or support me in what I feel is my purpose in this life. I have a heart for children with special needs and those who did not have a family. It was my life goal to be a mom to those who everyone had given up on, and now I feel like the one thing standing in my way is the person who is supposed to love and support me. anyway, I wish he would read your blog but, I don't think he will. thank you again.

  5. Anthony,
    I am forwarding this to my husband. Your post is soo applicable to us. Thank you.

  6. I find myself with all those same questions...and I'm the WIFE!! So I'm thankful I can lurk here. :o)

  7. Hi well put. I had to wait and pray and wait and pray for my husband to come around and initiate the adoption thankful God changed his heart, as we now have two new boys in our family! I've wanted to post about this very thing on our blog, but you put it so well (and I love it that it's from your perspective)...would you mind if I reposted this on my blog in full? (linking back to you, of course)
    Feel free to contact me at

  8. We are reading! We love it, it's perfect timing.


  9. As you work on this effort, I'd love it if you had a list on the sidebar where a person could easily find and link to the different subjects you're covering.... in order. I am planning to put a link to your blog homepage on my blog, but it would be nice if there was a way to find older posts or read your responses in order.

  10. Thank you, Brian and Rachel. That's a great suggestion! I need to ask my wife (who's now the expert on this stuff, not me)! Hopefully, we'll get it going soon. I so appreciate your encouragement and support!

  11. Thank you thank you thank you! God has been beating on my heart to adopt. We have a son with DS, he is 2, that is when we came upon Reece's Rainbow.
    My husband isn't against it but loves the "someday" mentality. I stay at home, he has a government, therapy, what happens when they grow up...can we afford it for life, etc.

  12. Thank you, thank you!! What an amazing post!

  13. Must share this!

    The one line that just made me melt... "he courts the mother heart in women" Love!


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