Back a few years ago, I ran across a video of a family that adopted a litter of kids from all over the world. You can see the video of the Dennehy family here:
The one thing that stood out to me most in this video is a very profound statement that the husband makes at 0:35: “Sharon is the gas pedal, and I am the brake.” Think about that statement for a while. As a pastor and a licensed professional counselor, I encounter many couples in marriage or premarital counseling where this principle fits. Most couples tend to think that one spouse as an accelerator and the other as a brake in their relationship is a source of conflict, but I maintain that this is a good thing. What if both husband and wife were accelerators? They would crash and burn. And what if both husband and wife were brakes? They would never go anywhere and fulfill the destiny that God has called for them.
I imagine you can think about how this relates to adoption. Wives tend to be the accelerators. Their nurturing hearts are drawn to children who are broken, without hope, or without a future. This is a very good thing. God’s heart is for these children, and it is important that someone pays attention. Most husbands, however, tend to be the brakes in considering adoption. They tend to feel pressures that wives tend to not seriously consider, including financial pressure, safety issues, the question of raising a child “not his”, etc. The important part of considering adoption is that both husbands and wives must be willing to hear each other, to seek to understand. So for example, the husband needs to hear his wife’s heart about adoption, to pray and ask God what His desire is for them as a couple. He needs to understand that God has given him his wife to help him become more like Christ, and he would do well to listen to her and pray. But wives also need to be willing to listen and pray, to not push and manipulate their husbands into adoption, only to have it backfire a few years later. I maintain that if God has called a family to adopt a child, then He will reveal that to both the husband and wife. Far too many times, we have seen a wife drive the adoption process, resent her husband’s counsel, and then end up in a situation that was very difficult later on. Adoption is costly financially, emotionally, spiritually and relationally, and it is critical that both husband and wife are in agreement and form a united front in parenting a child who may have more needs than a biological child.
I am so glad that Cindy is the accelerator in our family, pushing me out of my comfort zone to adopt, challenging me to consider widows and orphans (James 1:27), and helping me grow to be more like Christ. Yet at the same time I think that I also play a role in our family as the brakes. If we had followed through with every impulse that Cindy had to adopt, we would have crashed and burned as a family, our marriage would have reached a breaking point, and chaos would be the norm in our family. I think over the years we have learned to listen to each other in this impulse to adopt. Will we adopt again? Maybe. We are open to it, but it is in God’s hands, not in mine or in Cindy’s.
Are you and your spouse in a place where you are considering adoption? My guess is that one of you is the accelerator and the other is the brake. We would love to chat with you in a free introductory consultation session to help you as a couple discern God’s plan for your family. We can do that through SKYPE, by phone, or in person if you live in Central Pennsylvania. Feel free to contact us through this website. We’d love to hear from you!