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Episode 84

The Impact of Adoption on Marriage & Family Relationships

Maria Gocke, Adoptive Mom & AGCI Associate Director of Quality Assurance and Compliance

Welcome to Together by AGCI. I’m Marisa Butterworth. I am so excited to introduce you all to Maria Gocke, an incredible AGCI colleague of mine with over 15 years of experience as an adoption professional. She is AGCI’s associate director of quality assurance and compliance, a marriage coach, an adoptive mom, and she has both an adoptive and biological child. She’s basically, like, a full-blown expert. A lot of people say they’re experts. She actually is one and she is living this herself. So, I am so excited to be able to share her with you. I love, thank you. That was a very nice introduction. Yes, thank you. I’m excited to be a part of this discussion and discuss this topic. Well, I am so thankful that you agreed to do this. I feel like I’m so glad we’re talking about this subject because it’s such a big one. I know it’s a huge part of our family’s like personal story and today we’re really tackling the impact of adoption on our marriages, our extended family. And really, I wanted to include kind of close friends in that because that was a part of our journey. It may not be everyone’s, but I also wanted to mention that we have chatted about specifically the impact of adoption on kids in previous episodes. So, you can definitely like go back and listen to those. But today we’re gonna focus in on those things.

So, if you’re wondering like, what about my kids that are already at home? It’s already in there and that’s why we’re not talking about it today. But I have a feeling this is gonna be a really like super popular episode because when you adopt, it’s really inevitable that there will be new pressures and changes really in relationships. So, Maria, to get us started, what are first of all your best tips for prepping and safeguarding your marriage? These are things I’m asking what I wanted to know at that stage and I, it was hard to find resources back when we adopted like 10 plus years ago. I feel like there’s so much more, but this is like a one stop shop. So, what would you say are the best ways to do it? Yeah, that’s a great point that there are so many good resources nowadays for families and I agree with you. When we adopted 10 years ago, there were not nearly as many resources and references that there are nowadays to help families. But as far as a couple of best tips I would share for preparing and safeguarding your marriage when you’re on that road to adoption and on that journey is just to ensure that your marriage has a really solid and stable foundation. So, if you view your home and your marriage and your family like a house, it’s important that that house has a really strong foundation.

So, what is the foundation to your marriage? And there isn’t necessarily a wrong answer to that, but you need to ensure what that, whatever that foundation is, it’s really solid. So, for example, a lot of people say faith or spirituality is the foundation of their marriage and their home. So, if that’s your foundation, kind of assess the spiritual how the spiritual health of your marriage and your home and your family, is it in a good place? Are there things that you need to work on spiritually or give attention or focus to? Totally. I love that you’re breaking it down into like different areas. So, like yeah, I love that it’s something for like spouses to like sit down and analyze what, what are these things first of all? And then how do we make these things stronger? So, keep going. Sorry to interrupt, but I love that this is the route you’re taking. Yeah, so I was just thinking about this in relation to me personally and my marriage and my family and I think my husband and I would probably both agree that honest and open communication is a bedrock of our marriage and a bedrock of our family.

And so, when there’s a breakdown in that communication or say we’ve been too busy and we’re just lacking the connection that we usually have, that’s where you kind of start to see cracks in the foundation of our marriage and okay, we need to make some intentional time to connect because our communication is off and you really see it in that aspect. Totally. I agree. And I think that’s when it happens and, and adoption and like having biological children, like adding to your family, growing your family puts that stressor on. So even if you like go into it having like, oh, we’re in pretty good shape, it just is like, okay, we’re gonna like put you on the fire and see how this, how this does, how this goes. So yeah, I love like So what other, like, what other issues do you often see pop up with this? Yeah, there are you, I’ve definitely seen a variety of issues pop up within marriages specifically for families that are adopting. But there’s definitely some common ones that I’ve seen and a, a big common issue that I’ve seen and struggle that I’ve seen with marriages when it comes to the adoption pro process is the teamwork of the adoptive parents as a couple is so important for you guys to be on the same page in everything that you do and to approach it as a team.

I don’t know what your experience was in your adoption, but I know a lot of families after they adopt the child typically attaches more to one parent than the other parent. And this can be really hard, and it can put a huge strain on a marriage in general for that child to be attaching to one parent and the other parent to feel kind of pushed aside. But it’s normal. It’s actually a healthy thing for that child to be able to focus on making a strong attachment to one parent. But it can be really hard and so it’s so important for you as a couple to be on the same page and just approaching it as a team. Okay. Who did your son attach to? I, I would say me, yes, but, but it’s primarily because back when we adopted 10 years ago, it was two trips. And so, my husband and I both went on the first one together, but then for the pickup trip I went by myself. And so, Oh, interesting. Yes, it was kind of a forced thing. I’m the only one that he had to attach. It was setup to, yes, during those first couple of weeks, but then eventually I went back to work and when I went back to work my husband took his leave. Okay. And so, then my son was forced to only have daddy for a few weeks. Yes.

And so, it was good for our family in attaching. Yeah, that’s great. It’s so interesting. Harper, my daughter, she attached to my husband in Ethiopia, like right away she just like, she loved her daddy and with me she kinda, I mean she was five months old, so she was pretty, or four months when we first met her, she was, we had two trips as well. So, you know, it was the same kind of thing where it was like da, she is such a daddy’s girl. But then, you know, when it came down to it, I was the one home with her. So, it was like, okay. But I loved, I was actually so appreciative that because both of my, you know, biological children, you know, nursing and doing all that, they just naturally need their mamas and for her to want her daddy in that way, it took some of the pressure off of me where I felt like, okay, like she’s totally happy with him giving bottles, she’s totally happy with him, calming her down and it like freed me up to kind of, you know, do other things. But it is, it’s so important. Like I can’t imagine how it would be if Jesse wasn’t also a hundred percent in on like that co-parent that we both are in doing this.

But I can see how that would be painful for like, I could see how that, that was hard for Jesse with my boys, you know, like that they didn’t want him as much for a little while, but it shifts and changes she want now I’m like her gal. I mean she, she still, she has things with both of us that she, she needs and wants, and she now knows who to go to for different things. I don’t know. Is your son like that? Yeah, I actually, so I have two boys. One we adopted from Taiwan, and we actually adopted first and then later had a child biologically. Okay. So, both boys and they’re both daddy’s boys through and through. I love it. And I’ve been, there have definitely been times where I kind of get jealous of that. Yep. But as they get older, I’m learning so much to appreciate and be grateful that they have that connection with their dad. Yes, yes. No, I totally agree. That to that makes sense though. I love that. Have you seen any other issues pop popup, like something that you would like more consistently like have addressed with people?

I would say in the spousal relationship, since that’s primarily what we’re talking about right now, and I know you’ve probably seen this as well in your, in your work and just being in this field, a common issue that arises is when one parent is not on the same page as the other parent when it comes to adopting. Okay. And navigating that road. Oh, interesting. So, when that happens, you know, with them, and I’ve, I’ve seen this like I, I think I’ve talked about it before on the show, but when I, my husband and I, I was fortunate like in this, that we always knew we wanted to adopt. We didn’t know what it would look like. We had no plans around it. And part of it was like if we could, if and when we could afford to start that process. But like I, I’ve talked to a lot of people who their spouse isn’t as passionate about adopting and that was me too. Like I had a moment where I was like ready and my husband wasn’t like, he was just kind of like, oh, okay, like let me wrap my mind around this. So, what would you suggest someone does in that scenario? So, I think it really is common. It is extremely common and a lot of times it’s the wife usually that is more eager and more willing to jump in. Interesting.

Before the husband, I don’t, you could probably do a study on that and learn more about it. Totally. But the first thing I would say is just to make sure that you’re having really open communication going to back to that communication key. Talk through it. Understand what are the barriers that are holding your spouse back, what are their concerns? And talk through those. Make sure that you’re understanding why they might be holding back what fears or concerns they have about this process and talk through those. But then once you’ve done that, honestly, I would encourage you to give your spouse space and time. Okay. If God has called you to do this, he’s gonna call you both to do it. And there’s no need to rush into it if your spouse isn’t on the same page as you. And I know that’s really hard when God places something on your heart you wanna go and you wanna do it right then. Yes. Especially when you grasp ahold of the need that there is for these kids overseas. Yes. But give your spouse the time to get on board. It will be so much healthier for your family in your marriage if you are on the same page. Yeah. I think that’s so true. And I mean, what would you say if someone never is on board? You know, what if a husband or a wife says, no, I’m, I don’t, I don’t wanna do this.

Do you, have you seen people push ahead with it and have success? I’ve seen people push ahead with it, but I don’t know that it was a, a healthier, successful thing to do. I would say if there’s that much disconnect where one spouse, it’s like, yes, we need to do this, and the other spouse is like, absolutely not. That’s what I would say when you need to get a professional third-party counselor or therapist or pastor involved. Okay. To kind of talk you guys through it because that is a major disconnect there if you’re both wanting different things in that. Yeah. And I mean, I can’t imagine it would be something I think, you know, knowing and being in this for a long time, I think you could, as a spouse convince yourself that your way, like, God called me into this, I’m gonna keep pushing through, my husband will catch up, my wife will catch up whoever it is, you know. But yeah, I, I think I would join that bandwagon of like, ooh, make sure that you’re like respecting your spouse on this and if it is something there end dear to your heart. Like do keep praying, do keep, because I agree with you. Like if this is something your family’s supposed to do, God will work on your spouse’s heart for you. You know, you don’t, it’s not all on you, thankfully. Well, that’s really good.

And I mean I think that that’s a big thing, a big issue for a lot of people because, and, and I think it’s so important to like listen to what their fears are. Listen, you know, bring them along in things. Call we have an in incredible inquiry team at AGCI where you can call them, ask them questions, get them both on a call. And they are, they’re in this, I would say they’re not salespeople. They’re not trying to like land a deal. They’re, they’re wanting our priority is always the best family for a child. And if that’s not, like, they’re not going to push something through with you if you’re not on board either, but you can ask questions. It’s a safe place to ask questions and find out what this actually looks like and maybe your spouse will find out, hey, what I was afraid of isn’t an actual thing. Or maybe there’s something that you find out that you can address as a family and you know, figure out how, how to move forward in a healthy way. So, it’s not the end, it’s not an end deal. There are so many resources. But I love that, and I think it is so wise to like see a counselor if at that point it’s really something that’s driving a wedge between you that you can’t connect on, like reach out and get help and you know, yes.

Have somebody there to guide you both in figuring out absolutely all the, all the fun things. Cuz it isn’t, yeah, it’s, it’s complicated. It’s hard. And if you’re not both on board, oh my gosh, can you imagine how awful that would be? Yeah. Okay. So, jumping to extended family, and this can be complicated like good, I mean definitely, you know, they’re not necessarily, you know, they come along for this, and everybody has, I’ve heard so many different reactions from extended family, close friends, people that are like family. So, what are your best tips for like really preparing, extend your extended family and close friends for this adoption process and for bringing your child or children home? Yeah, so I think it depends on what that relationship looks like with that extended family or friends. But if it’s appropriate in the context of your relationship and you guys are comfortable with it, I would say bring them along for your journey as much as you can. Okay. So, keep them updated on your adoption journey. Answer any questions they may have, share with them those joys along the way. And also, the difficulties of the process with them. I know a lot of it is educating your family on why you chose adoption and what adoption looks like because so many people that have never gone through that process are, are kind of ignorant about what adoption is and what that looks like. Yeah.

And so, if you can bring them along as you walk this road to adoption, it helps them be more supportive and more aligned if they understand all those factors. Yes. And then they’re getting the tools too that you’re getting, you know, of like what this looks like, how, what the best practices are for things. Why you do things a certain way. I know I’m gonna ask you another question here of like what responses you’ve seen from families, but from my family there was a lot of like excitement, but when it came down to like, you know, hey, due to attachment, like we’re trying to attach, we’re not gonna hold her a ton. We’re not gonna, you know, like, we’ll I’ll let you hold her while she’s sleeping, but we’re for the time being like, she’s gonna be with us, we’re probably not gonna come to your house. You know, like, we’re not having a party over here. Like, that was hard. My family didn’t take it well. They don’t do well with boundaries in general. But like that stuff was really, that felt to them like so counterintuitive of like we’re their grandparents, we’re their aunts and uncles, you know, like we wanna be there for everything, which is amazing and like such a gift. But like what kind of responses have you seen? That was the response from my family. What have you seen are like common responses? Yeah, it varies so greatly.

I know we had some family members I would say we were surprised as to who was really supportive and encouraging and then who maybe was a little more quiet and not as supportive. It threw us for a loop. I know one family member in particular who I love dearly, I told her we were adopting, and her response was, well I will keep praying. You can have a child biologically. And then she changed the subject, and it was so disheartening for me Yes. In that moment and really kind of crushed my spirit. But then fast forward to when we got our referral and we put Silas’s picture in a little frame and it was Christmas time, so we kind of gave that to people at Christmas and that’s how we announced Oh I love that. That we had been matched and she opens it, and she just starts bawling and she is like so happy for us. Aww. And so excited. And then fast forward to today and every break my kid has from school, he wants to go to her house and spend time with her and they’re just two peas in a pod. So sometimes your family just needs some time to understand what you’re going through and what this process is.

And so just give them kind of the space and time, like we were saying with your spouse might need that your extended family might need some space and time to, to get on board and understand what’s going on. Yes. Also, the whole, the whole thought that it’s very intangible when you start the adoption process. Yes. And so that’s sometimes it’s hard to grasp that. Like, okay, you’re adopting, what does that mean? What does that look like? It’s just an intangible concept. But then like with my family member, the moment she got that picture of him, it all became real to her. Hmm. So yeah. That’s so interesting. It’s true. It is the intangibility of it that I think is hard for, it’s hard when you’re adopting like through the process, but it also Yeah. For family and friends. Like, wait, what? Yeah, I, yeah. I think that’s such good advice. What would you say Maria, to like, if, if, and if the family is listening right now, what are, what’s a good response if they have that feeling where they’re like, I haven’t caught up yet. I am, I’m sorting through this too in my own brain of how this works. What would you say is a good way that they could frame those feelings for an, for the family that just announced they’re adopting? That’s a great question.

It, it kind of goes back to communication and I don’t just wanna keep saying communication, but no, I think that’s good. And it depends on your relationship with that person because everyone’s relationship looks different, and some people might not be comfortable having those hard conversations. But if you can have those hard conversations, it’ll be worth it in the end and it’ll bring you closer and it’ll help you be more understanding and aligned with what your family members are going through. Sometimes the hard conversations are the greatest conversations that bring the most bonding. Yes. Yeah. And I think in a family, like it’s worth it. It’s worth it to have those conversations, even though they sometimes are really difficult. And just to be gentle with each other. So, if your first reaction as, you know, a mother-in-law or a father-in-law is like, what happened? Why are you adopting, you know, like what’s going on? Like, to, to you, you can have that reaction in yourself. But this is a time of joy usually for, you know, a family that started the process. So, you know, to ask gentle questions and like, not what happened, what’s wrong or all, you know, like I can see what was hurtful about your, you know, sister-in-law’s, you know, comment of like, I’ll be praying for you to be able to have a biological child.

You know, that’s, I can see where that came from and like out of a place of love. But just to like allow someone that moment to celebrate and then say, Hey, I would love to be invited on this journey with you and learn about like what you’re learning and like be inquisitive maybe. And you know, like that’s where the in the communication comes in, where it’s like, let I like, please bring me along so I understand how this works too. And ask why they did this. Ask what, what’s, what their heart is feeling in that moment. And I would just say like, for families, like, this will impact you, the extended family, and close friends, but it’s not about you. Is that like rough to say to someone? It’s, I it’s easier over podcasts cuz they, I’m not looking in in the eye, but it’s not about them. And so, like the, I think the biggest thing is just, yeah, if you wanna be a part of this and it, you should, cuz it’s the most beautiful thing ever. It’s just adoption is just such a miraculous time and you really, I think get to see a side of God’s heart that not everyone does. Like, and you’re gonna adore your niece, nephew, you know, grandchild, cousin, whoever it is in your family.

Like ask to come along on this journey, ask questions, read all the books, start listening to the podcasts and join them in the excitement. Do you, would you say that I’m like off base? You totally can. No, no, I think you, you’re allowed to on me. I would, I think you’re completely on base. I would just add to that, that if you’re the prospective adoptive parent and you, I’m getting maybe the reaction that you would’ve hoped for from family, maybe you need to kind of reset your expectations with specific family members. You know? Yes. If you, if you say, okay, I’m going in and I’m telling them this and they’re gonna be ecstatic and they’re gonna be excited and they’re going to like donate to our cause and they don’t, then that’s, I wanna say that’s okay. They might not have the passion for adoption that you have. They might not understand it like you understand it and you might need to kind of reset your expectations of what that’s going to look like. I love that. And I know that’s hard, but it’ll help protect you in your heart. Yes. And I think you just can’t, I I’m so good at putting expectations on other people like, and I have to all, with everything I do, I have to like take that away because it does, it leads to heartbreak and it’s not mine to set for them anyway.

And you don’t know what areas, you know, there could be something I had that for sure when you mentioned it of like, oh, they didn’t, they didn’t like support us at all in our adoption. And then they’ve come around in other ways, you know, that they felt like they could do. So it’s, it’s not even to say that that’s it. Like they’re not gonna do so just yeah, take away the only thing you control can control is your own reactions and you can’t control theirs. So just take ’em away. Just have no expectation and then you’ll be pleasantly surprised with whatever. I’ll say I was, that’s so hard. While, while I was maybe had some disappointments in how people reacted that I didn’t think that I thought would be supportive and maybe weren’t as supportive. Yes. The flip was true too, where some family members and friends came out of the woodwork that were so support, so excited for us and people were like, oh, my mom was adopted. Oh, this person was adopted. I have this connection. Yes. And so, I was very pleasantly surprised too at the scene who came alongside us and supported us. I love that we experience that too. I think that’s just how it goes. You’re just always, yeah, just being open to the adventure of it I think is so important.

And then if you’re, you know, the extended family or close friend, like just know like how much your curiosity even means to people of like, how do I do this? Well, I don’t know how I wanna support you and I don’t know what the best way is and ask, like, be curious and kind and, and excited because it’s the best thing ever in the whole world. So, like jumping a little bit forward, like let’s say a family already has their child home and we’re not in the like preparing mode anymore. We’re really like, we’re in it. So, if someone is already adopted their child’s home, and I, when I say in it, I mean like sometimes that first year home is, I would say the first year with any child is challenging and maybe they’re relationally really struggling with family and or their spouse, however that looks. I know I personally, it got better by the end of that first year, but like three, six months in somewhere in that I was so overwhelmed, and I wasn’t getting sleep and I had two young boys at home, I was struggling. I had post part or post-adoption depression, and I don’t, I didn’t even feel like I could clearly like process. I was just in this like cyclone of hurt and exhaustion. I didn’t know, I couldn’t think clearly enough to know what I even like should do in that moment.

So, what are maybe three or more simple steps that someone could take right now? That’s a really long way of asking this question, but if they’re in it and they’re struggling, I could have said that. What are things that they could do right now for themselves that are easy? Yeah. Three things. Okay. The first would be ask for help. So many people want to help new parents, whether they just had a biological child or they brought home adopted child and they just don’t know how to help. So don’t be afraid to sit down with your significant other. Talk through what things can people help us with, who can we ask for help? And then don’t be afraid to ask people for help. And I will say use automated technological things as well. Yes. I know with our younger son, grocery curbside pickup was the greatest thing on earth during that time. Oh. So, I wish we had it back then. Yes. Ask. Or maybe we did, and I didn’t know about it. That would be the first thing. The second thing I would say is to prioritize and nurture your most important relationships. Okay. So, if you are trying, especially in that first year, like you were saying, it can be rough. That first year I remember with both my kids, my adopted child and my biological child, that first year was rough. So, you can’t spread yourself so thin relationally.

So really prioritize and nurture your most important relationships, you know, with your spouse, making intentional time together with your other kids. If you have multiple kids, make sure you’re giving them some one-on-one time. Yes. I I know one of the most important relationships I discovered after becoming an adoptive mom was my relationships with other adoptive moms. Nobody knew what I was going through and what I was experiencing like other adoptive moms. So how Oh, I agree. Was really important. Yes. And even like, even if you’re like, gosh, I don’t have any adopted mom friends right now. Like the great thing is I would say go into it with like, you know, I I wanna say Maria is an actual expert and not everyone that’s talking about adoption are experts. So, you know, I wanna say, I wanna have a disclaimer there because there’s so much out there that like not everyone’s story that you read maybe is going to be the right way to handle things or the right way to do things. I wanna say that first. But with that said, we do have so much information, so if, if it’s a podcast or even listening, we talk about a lot of this stuff on this podcast. So go back through. It’s encouraging to your heart to hear someone else say like, I struggled too. I had a hard time too. I was there with in that as well.

And so if you don’t have a friend you can reach out to that’s been there, there are other voices out there that you can listen to and, you know, have that time of, of hearing someone else has been there. And it does, it makes you feel so much better. Right? It does. Our church has a, a large adoptive population in a large group of adoptive families. And us moms, we’ll jokingly tongue and cheek call ourselves trauma mamas because all of our kids have experienced trauma. And that is kind of what brings us together. And knowing that we have this bond where we can talk to each other about the hard things. I love that. And we, we never give advice unless we’re asked for it. But it’s really just a space to share. So-and-so’s going through this right now. Have any of you guys ever experienced this? Oh yeah, my son went through that two years ago and here’s what we did. And it’s just such a, a good space to be able to talk about the hard times and, and be open about your feelings when you’re like, I just can’t today. Yes. This is too much. I’m, I’m overwhelmed. And knowing that yes, they get it cause they’ve been there. Yes. I love that. The trauma mamas, that’s a good name for what, what you guys are, you know, living every day and it’s a real thing.

It’s, it’s, it’s so hard. I love that. And I love what you’re saying about like, asking for help. I think like asking and accepting help is one of the most vulnerable things you can ever do. And acknowledging you can’t do it on your own. So, like, if you haven’t adopted yet or if you haven’t started your family yet, whatever that looks like, just plan on it. Like get over yourself. I had to do that. I speak from my own, getting over of myself that I can’t do it all. But people are there, whether it’s your family, close friends, people from your church, they wanna help you like you said, and maybe they can’t come hold your child or comfort them when they’re, you know, screaming or have, have are, you know, irregulated, they’re hurting and they need their mama, but someone can for sure drop off some snacks for your kids while you’re living that and or a game or we had that people just like drop stuff off and it’s so humbling. But people wanna take care of you like that. I love that. I think that’s so wild. Thank you. And it’s, it’s also important to have grace for yourself. You were just saying Yes. You know, about the expectations we put on ourselves to be the supermom and super dad. Yeah. And my husband reminds me of that all the time.

When I’m really stressed out, he’ll ask me, is this outside stressors or is this stress you’re kind of putting upon yourself and your own expectations of yourself. And it almost always is expectations I’m feeling. That’s where I’m like, oh dang it. Yeah. I he’s so really good at that. He’s keeping me in check. Yeah, he’s so, it’s such a kind way of doing it too. Like, because he could, you know, in an unhealthy place could be like, why are you even stressed about this? You know? But that’s a kind way of saying it, like, take notes right now from Maria’s husband. I love it. That’s, oh my gosh, that’s, but it’s important and something kind to offer someone of like, Hey, where’s this coming from? And it helps you sometimes like jump a step before you’ve, you know, you’ll figure it out eventually, but sometimes it helps you jump that step and you’re like, ah, dang it, this is me. Yeah. I know I came from a home where I have an amazing mom who did it all who was a pastor’s wife and worked a full-time job and raised three kids and she was great. Wow. And so, I put these expectations on myself, and she’s even helped me a lot encouraging me, like just to be intentional about like what I’m spending time doing and relationships I’m Yeah. Putting emphasis on.

And I, I, I try to intentionally give the most of myself to my family and I’ve had to learn that through the years that my, my family deserves my best. Not my rest, not what’s left over when I’ve done the cleaning and the cooking and worked all day, but they deserved kind of those, those first fruits of, of me and my best. Well, on another episode we’re gonna talk about how you do that. Well, is it so hard? It’s so hard, especially when you’re working mom too. You know, like all balancing it all is hard, but I completely agree with you. I’m always fighting for that too. Like, just, yeah, just hard sometimes. Well, the quick answer is you do it by messing up and then the next day waking up and saying, no, I’m gonna do it better today. I’m not gonna make that same mistake I made yesterday. Yes, yes. It’s why I apologize to my kids a lot. I’m like, dang it. Yeah, I messed that one up. But I think I love that too, that your mom is supportive of you and sometimes we see our moms as super moms and I, I don’t know her story, but I’ve talked to other people that I see as like, gosh, you’ve got it all together, you’re doing this. And they feel the exact same way I do where they’re like, ah, I don’t, am I failing? Am I, how am I doing?

And you know, obviously you felt like the opposite, but I don’t know if that’s her story, but I’m just saying not, you know, I think all of us moms, dads, everybody, we’re, we’re all trying to find the best way to do things for our family. So yeah. I love that. You mentioned grace for yourself too. So, what if someone in your family, like, you know, we talked about this earlier, but if your child’s home and they, you know, haven’t been, they still are not supportive of your adoption and it’s impacting you and your family. And I know this can look like a bazillion different, you know, things, but what would your general advice be for kind of walking through that? I think it’s so painful, but it does happen, and it can happen at any point. But specifically, around adoption, what would you say? I, I think there’s one of really two options. Anything that you do is probably gonna, gonna fall into one. Well, you can do, I guess you can do nothing and just let it be, but that’s not healthy. So, if you, there’s one of two actions, one, but don’t do it, don’t do it. Let it be, I love it.

The first option would be to, to try and address it head on and to have those hard discussions with that person and explore why, why this is going on and why this looks this way and why they’re acting this way and okay, that would be, that would take a lot of work and you might already know I could do that, but it won’t change a thing. Yes. And so, then you have your second option, which is creating some really hard boundaries in those relationships and saying nothing is worth my peace and the peace of my family. And so, I’m gonna set some boundaries up with those people that are not contributing to the health and the peace of my family. Yeah, that’s hard. But I think it’s exactly the right thing that you have to do. We saw that, I don’t know if you had that in your family. I had, I would say like super extended family that wasn’t supportive and that, I mean, I don’t think any of my family listens to this, especially not these people, but like even we’re dealing with some racism before my daughter even came home that I identified right away with them. Like, oh, the boundary’s gonna be that they’re not around my daughter at all. You know, and that was, that was easier because they were kind of like outside the scope of immediate, you know, like immediate extended family. Is that a thing?

Like grandparents, that kind of thing. Right. But aunt uncles, yes. But yeah, like I think that’s important. Like that was a boundary I knew I had to set up ahead of time, but then yeah, when you’re in it, yeah. If, if they’re not willing to budge on things, boundaries I think are, you know, the healthiest, safest thing and it’s your job to protect your immediate family at first at that point. So, and your child that’s come home so that that’s not something that they have to live through as well with you. So fun. Yeah. And it’s also a good learning experience for your child if they’re old enough. Of course, some kids are not old enough to understand this, but it can be a such a good example for your children of how to set boundaries and you know, something happens to go to your child and say, that’s not okay, I’m sorry that happened. Here’s what we’re gonna do next time to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Yes. I think that’s so important, and I feel like you can set, start, set it like verbalizing that even when they’re younger, like that basic, that wasn’t okay, like here’s what we’re gonna do next time because it gives them permission in their own life, you know, to do that as they get older and they’re seeing it. I love that. That’s such great advice.

So, if someone, you know, we could talk about this I think forever, no one wants to listen to hours and hours as I was talking through every probably topic that, that you’ve encountered. But if someone needed more advice, like specifically on this kind of topic, do you have any specific resources that you would recommend? Yeah, there are, obviously there’s a lot of like marriage and relational books that you could explore. I think one of the greatest books for this topic, speaking of boundaries, but is Dr. Henry Cloud’s book called Boundaries. Okay. It helps. And he even has some other books that are like Boundaries for Kids and Boundaries at Work. It just helps you learn how best to protect you and your own mental health, how to protect your marriage, how to protect your family and get those priorities straight. And he, he gives these great examples kind of utilizing Christ as an example and how in Christ’s ministry on earth, he, he really did set boundaries in his relationships and then how can we set those healthy boundaries? And then another great book is a book called Relational Intelligence by Dr. Darius Daniels. And that explores how relationships can either move us closer to God or inhibit us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. Well, interesting. I haven’t heard of that one. Okay, good. I love that.

And yeah, I would say, again, you are probably all are gonna roll your eyes if you’re listening, but if you are in the process right now of adopting, read it now. Like this is the perfect time. Like go through it, address it before it happens. Maybe it won’t even happen, but you are gonna be so ready. You’ve read your boundaries book, you’ve, you know, read all the relational books and these are actual, you know, experts on the matter. So, I think that those are great. Thank you so much for doing that. And thank you. I’m gonna wrap it up here. Thank you for joining me talking about this being vulnerable, like you’re sharing some of your own story. It means so much. And I know anytime I’m just, I, I say this I think probably every time, but I always learn so much and you’re such a good gentle teacher, Maria. Thank you, Marisa. It’s, we’re all just learning, we’re all just students in this world learning how to be better people, better parents, better followers of Christ, better spouses. So yes, a hundred percent. Yeah. And I think it just like your perspective, just put so much grace on it. So, thank you. Thank you, Marisa.

That was adoption professional Maria Gocke. I know that I just learned so much and I hope that you did too. If you like what you heard, please share it with all your people. Use it as a resource for your close family and friends and send it out so that they are on the same page as you.

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