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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've not posted much here to tell my story...

Short story:
We have 3 bio kiddos... We are all happy as clams... We've always wanted to adopt... Talked about it while dating... and now work at a camp for "underpriviledged" kids (many are foster). It always been our heart to adopt.

Longer story:
A little longer than a year ago (when our youngest was about 6 mon) my dh came home and said he wanted me to look into adoption... if we could do it, where, all the stuff... I did. We decided to wait until our baby was bigger and I wasn't so busy and had more to "give" to another child, bio or not.
This has happened a few times... we both want to adopt, it just isn't the right timing... etc.

Fast forward, now I am not so busy, I am in a great place, physically, spiritually... I've been doing a lot of work figuring out what agencies and such would be best for us... in his full knowledge. So I bring up adoption to my dh... could he help me choose between some agencies that I had narrowed down (he's a very involved dad and mate, I wanted to "bring him" in to the process... think he'd want to at this point) He flat out shuts me down!
He said he wants another bio child and that "maybe in the future" we could think about it, "when we are older." We are in our 30s, how much older do we need to be? I feel deflated, like a popped balloon!

Honestly (this may sound horrid) but I don't want to be pregnant again... I loved birth, nursing and it all, but emotionally it wasn't easy being tugged around hormonally, I don't relish starting over getting back into shape, I don't even look forward to the "baby" stuff again (we want to adopt an toddler or older).

I was so shocked and upset I said nothing! Not a word, partially because I wanted to burst into tears. So, at some point I need to let him know this is a major upset for me... But I fear my inability to handle this graciously. I love the man so dearly, I just don't get him. I wish he had told me his change of heart awhile ago, so I wouldn't get so excited and invested in this.

I feel like a jerk for not being ok with this... I am so lucky, so happy and so un-in-need of this... I shouldn't be disappointed at all!

Has any one been there?
 

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Hi Marcimama,

I am so grateful that you posted even when you are sitting in so much pain, confusion, disappointment and hurt. Did I get your feelings right? I would like you to know that I hear you, I read your post, and I feel for you. What you explained sounds like something that would (and did) bring me pain too.

In fact, dh and I had MAJOR issues surrounding adoption for the years leading up to our eventual success. We were soooo polarized around it that we very nearly lost our marriage. I will keep all those details aside, as they are not pertinent to your situation, but suffice it to say, that I have traversed the emotions of being "led on" and then "let down". It is a sadness and confusion like I have never experienced.

What I did learn is that dh was telling me (or trying to tell me) things that were important to him and what fears he had. Only thing was, that I was so hurt I couldn't hear what he was telling me and only reacted in rage. Which didn't meet his need to be heard or understood. I wish I could have shut my own needs down just temporarily long enough to really hear what he was trying to tell me (at times he didn't even know, but I could have helped him to better understand and explore what he was saying.)

So with this situation, and as little as I know about it, I would wonder what is really going on with dh? It sounds like once you get some empathy for how you are feeling that perhaps you will be in a place to take the gift he may give you in explaining more at length his feelings and needs. I wonder, for instance.. maybe he is really confused about having a bio kid vs. adopting? Is he worried how he might feel differently toward an adopted child? Is he worried about connecting? For all I know, perhaps he is worried about the energy/money/risks involved with an adoption. I have no clue, but I am sure there is something or things going on that would be very worthwhile to connect around and bring understanding to.

That being said, it seems equally important that after the conversation where you really hear him, that you are able to express your strong feelings about carrying another child within your body. Or maybe not after, but at some point that is right for you.

I was curious what you meant when you said, "He flat out shuts me down! He said he wants another bio child and that "maybe in the future" we could think about it, "when we are older."" I'd be curious what actually happened where you ended up thinking you were "shut down". So if I were in the room observing, what would I have seen and heard? If I were working with you as a couple, I would be interested in that information, so that I could understand what happened that led to you not feeling heard or seen. Sometimes that helps with getting your desire to stay open and connected and mutual.

I worry that I have not given you the support you were looking for- and if you would just like to be heard more, I welcome the opportunity to just listen to you. I can imagine how upset you must feel.

Blessings,
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for responding! It does hurt. I think mainly because I am passionate about my children and those that might be added to our family and though he "gets it" he just isn't "in to" adding to our family through adoption... and I am. I don't want to be "naggy" or persistent (which I'm not), but it is on my heart and feels disingenuous to act any different. Plus, like you said, I feel a bit "lead on".

I have thought a lot about what might be giving him hesitation. I know he is overwhelmed between work and grad school... I need to give him the grace to get through that with out putting something bigger on him. Like I said, he is very involved and has always wanted to be helping and making choices with me when our other children came... I want the same with our adoptions.

But it still hurts to put things I am excited about on hold. Perhaps the harder thing is that I don't want to be pregnant again.

Really, more children, wouldn't phase me one ounce... I just cringe at the thought of nine months of discomfort, followed by severe pain, and then another year of emotional up heavel and a year of feeling less like myself physically.

Perhaps we all just need time?
 

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If your youngest is not yet two, and you hope to adopt an older child, I'd gently ask you what's the rush? Could he have been looking into information on how to prepare for toddler/older child adoption, and see the very strong recommendation that birth order not be disrupted? Is he worried about overlap in ages? Does HE really like the baby stage and maybe he's not quite ready for the idea that he will never again hold a little baby in his arms as a Daddy?

It sounds like you guys have a lot going on. I think sometimes it's easy for one person to get really excited about planning, and it's just dreaming/planning/info gathering in their mind while in the other person's mind it's a committment that they need to really look at the "cons" about. I think that's especially prevalent in men, IME.

So I would acknowledge your feelings of hurt and surprise, but I would be careful about projecting "he shut me down" onto his expression of concern. Perhaps he is overwhelmed with the toddler stage right now, that the thought of adding another quickly to the mix is not something that fills him with great anticipation and joy, KWIM?
 

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I would talk through this with him. What are his hesitations? What are his fears? Does he know you don't want another pregnancy? What would his ideal timeline be? Do you both have any overlap with your wants and desires regarding adoption, future family planning, etc.?

I found that I was the planner in the relationship, and that I was ready before dh was (that goes for all of our kids, actually, after the first). I gently nudged for a commitment to adoption for about a year (maybe more?) before he got far enough in his thought/emotional process to commit as well. Even then, as with pregnancy, it wasn't really on his radar until the official process started. Like I said...I'm the planner.

The biggest conflict dh and I have had about our family was weather to have another bio child, and it was a very intense, very emotional, and very hurtful time. Even when we were gentle with each other, which we were, it is so incredibly painful for your partner's desires to be the opposite of your own on something so important. We ended up going back to counseling (something we've done off and on for years) in order to talk with a trusted neutral party. It was the thing to do. I feel like we never would have come to a conclusion without it. Now we both feel at peace in our decision, and no one feels like they had to give up what they wanted.
 

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We've been going through some similar stuff.

My husband and I have three bio kids, boys ages 1 1/2, 3 and 5. Over the last year, we've been talking a lot about adoption. My husband has given me the green light to research and to share what I learn with him.

Somewhere along the way, I think it was about August or September last year, I was ready. Maybe not to start the process right away, but I knew it was what I wanted to do. And it became very important to me.

But my husband was not quite there and it has been very difficult.

We starting looking into adoption for a few reasons. My dad was adopted and I've always been interested in it. I guess I've been thinking about it for years. My husband, not so much. Our plan was to have four biological kids, but it turned out my pregnancies are too high risk for me to get pregnant again. So this year, we've had to grieve the loss of getting pregnant again too.

I think this has been hard for my husband. He has not been very open about his feelings, though, and this has ended up making feel far away from him emotionally. Somewhere last fall, my heart was so focused on adopting - I felt so in love with this baby who is who knows where - that I started to put a wall up around my heart so my husband couldn't hurt me more by not caring. Does that make sense? He does care, but when he was distant because he was grieving or busy or whatever, I felt like he didn't care. I was hurt because adoption had become so important to me and it wasn't yet there for him.

We're still working through things. We're planning to go through some counseling together this spring. We're getting closer to starting the process and will probably begin paperwork sometime over the next six months. I'm hoping for March...I think my husband is thinking more like August. I'm guessing it will be May?

We both want a fourth child, but the process of deciding adoption is right for his family has been hard for my husband, especially when considering everything already in our lives.
 

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I don't have much to add to what others have said, but thought I would share my own experience. I wanted to foster for a number of years. DH kept saying no, that it wasn't right for him. He had little desire to explore the possibility, he felt that he was not "right" for fostering, and that he would do something wrong in parenting a child who had already been through trauma (I specifically wanted to foster older children/teens). This is also the field that I work in, so over the years he has heard stories of some pretty crazy things from myself and my co-workers.

I would bring it up gently through the months and years that this is still something that I really wanted to do. I did realize that I might have to give up on this at some point if he did not change his mind, no matter how important it as to me. He became a bit less opposed over time, then curious about how it actually worked. We found our dream house last summer, were walking through wondering what we would do with so much extra space, and he said "these two rooms could belong to foster children". I think it was the first time HE initiated the topic rather than me. After that, he rapidly came on board, and we are completing out licensing procedure. I'm not saying he's fearless about it now, but he's never hesitated again about doing this, not even when we found out that I was expecting again.

So my experience is just that it took a lot longer for him to get to the same place that I was in. Good luck to you in finding a way for both you and your husband to some to the same space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry, we were traveling... I've not been near a computer...
In fact, we had some really good talks on our trip. We both decided that we'd "give it a year" both bio and adoption and see if we felt the same. That was actually the time line I hoped for. I am more open to either and I think he is too.
I was thrilled to find my dh watching "adoption story" about a Haitian adoption yesterday. Then he told me about this ridiculous talk he had with the lady that cut his hair... she asked how many children we had and he said 3... she said, "Oh --- that's a lot. Are you going to have more?" He said, yes, and we might adopt... it went down hill from there
But, it gives me hope... and I am working on my heart as well. Patience and peace... that is my motto. Thanks for the understanding words.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So, in the past few months we've both changed... such a good thing, to change and grow.

For one we had a HUGE fight and got a lot of our feelings out there. It was in central park in Boston. My dh said, "Honestly, I am just not sure I could love some one else's kid." For as ugly and "unlike" him as it was, it really brought light to us both that he feared any future children we added to our family would "feel like some one else's". Then and there he admitted the ugliness of those thoughts... how he didn't want to feel that way, but deep down he did. I was crushed but it was good to know that was where he was at. I cried a lot, but also told him this wasn't more important than him and we've had better, more open communication as the months have gone by. I've given him the grace to process this in his time and know I want the truth, even if it isn't what I want to hear.

At some point it came up again and so did love... how we view love is that it isn't an optional thing, it is a requirement in life... to love everyone as if their are our own family. He was really challenged if he believes and "owns" this as his own. He chose to.

Then he was struggling with if he could picture our family being a white/black... multi-cultural family. That his grown sons would be black men, that our family will be "different" from the norm and that we'll have to deal with things we probably never would if we didn't adopt.

A week or so ago he told me that one day he was just sitting and a picture came to his mind of him holding and loving on his black son and how much love and normalcy he felt in that place. He said he wants to learn more about families "like ours might be".

I have changed a lot too. I know this time is meant for me to savor what I have, not worry about what I don't have. I don't feel anxious about it... I know we don't have a looming deadline or time table. I feel peace and assurance that if this is meant to be it will. I realized that this has been a good test of our relationship and of me. I see how I need to grow...

We are now saving money and who knows where we will be in a year.

I just wanted to share, because I haven't found much on this topic...
All you ladies were spot on... talk, trust and be patient. Be willing to change yourself.

Hugs!
 

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Thanks for updating.

Honestly, it's so healthy that your partner was able to vocalize his biggest fear about adoption...and it's such a normal one!

I think dh and I both had that fear going in, and though we thought we'd be able to overcome it, I think we both assumed there would be the insta-love we felt with our bio kids. There wasn't. But over time, as you're raising a child...I dunno...he/she just becomes YOURS. For us it took several months, maybe even a year, but that deep inner feeling of dd being ours is definitely there. I even look at her face sometimes, so clearly and beautifully different than ours, but it has every bit of familiarity to me (and us) that our bio kids have. I don't know if that makes sense, but it was one of the things I noticed happening over time...that the way she looked became "ours," but that's what's happened. Now that we're expecting a bio daughter, dh and I both have commented that it's going to be odd to have a daughter without Asian features. For us, "our daughter" = dd.

On an emotional level, too, the "otherness" was very present for a long time. I think for me it mostly manifested itself in coming to terms with her having two moms and two dads. We know a lot about dd's mom, and even have a photo, and so for the first year or so she was home I thought a lot about dd's other mother. Definitely every day. I felt very aware that I was raising a child I shared with someone else...but not in a bad way. It was more like I was processing the difference in my head (and honestly...I was and always am concerned about her Korean mom, her Korean family). Being one of four parents takes a little getting used to. Dd's been home two years now, and I think about her Korean mom much less frequently than I used to...I think I've processed what I needed to, and now her story is her story, her family is her family, and there is no discomfort there. Making her lifebook seemed to really help.

Keep talking with your partner.
Let him know what he's feeling is normal. Have you attended any adoption classes? There might be classes or PAP groups that would be good places to talk about these things. Or even talking to parents who adopted might help...I'm betting many adoptive parents have struggled with that exact experience (or fear of it) themselves.

Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So true... I really think it took that big fight for him to blurt out what he was feeling... he felt so horrible for feeling it he wasn't wanting to admit it in daily conversations. It was just a lingering fear. Once it was vocalized he was able to weigh it for what it was... a fear, not reality and then work through it on his own.

Thanks Redoak for sharing how things have become "normal" in your family and life. It is still some what foreign to both of us how a child so different from us can "become us" but we have seen it happen and know it will. I think there are things you have to just live out to understand fully.

I think I have never automatically felt bonded with each of my bio children. Unlike many women I look at my newborns and have thought, "Who is this strange child?" So, perhaps this will be nothing new for me... I know they became my sweet babies and children with the daily actions of love and caring.

It is good that this is a process not a one time event. I am realizing that this will be a long term growth and changing for everyone involved.

And yes, we have several friends that have adopted and they have a adoptive family "support group" of sorts. We were invited a month ago, but summers are crazy busy for us so we are planning on going in the fall. I think more than anything that will be good for us to see and learn from.
 

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Hi, I haven't read all the other replies yet, but I had to chime in here. I understand how important this is to you, but you really have to be sure it is what he wants too. And if it's not, you have to learn to be okay with it. And he needs to know that it is okay to tell you honestly if he is not okay with adoption. What would happen if you were to adopt and he only agreed because you wanted it so badly, but then something happened to you?

My Aunt was fostering 3 kids and she decided she wanted to adopt them. Her husband said no and she pushed him, saying she loved them too much, she needed them and he gave in. 3 weeks ago the adoption was finalized. She was the proud new mother of a 1 year old, a 2 year old and a 4 year old (plus she had 4 of her own). My Aunt passed away yesterday in a car accident. And guess what... he doesn't want the kids. My aunt's biological 19 year old daughter (with developmental delays) is being asked to give up her life and take these kids.

So seriously, this is not something to be mad about or emotional about... just breath a minute, clear your head and remember that this is a child who needs BOTH of his/her parents to be completely there for them... forever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by cdmommie View Post
Hi, I haven't read all the other replies yet, but I had to chime in here. I understand how important this is to you, but you really have to be sure it is what he wants too. And if it's not, you have to learn to be okay with it. And he needs to know that it is okay to tell you honestly if he is not okay with adoption. What would happen if you were to adopt and he only agreed because you wanted it so badly, but then something happened to you?

My Aunt was fostering 3 kids and she decided she wanted to adopt them. Her husband said no and she pushed him, saying she loved them too much, she needed them and he gave in. 3 weeks ago the adoption was finalized. She was the proud new mother of a 1 year old, a 2 year old and a 4 year old (plus she had 4 of her own). My Aunt passed away yesterday in a car accident. And guess what... he doesn't want the kids. My aunt's biological 19 year old daughter (with developmental delays) is being asked to give up her life and take these kids.

So seriously, this is not something to be mad about or emotional about... just breath a minute, clear your head and remember that this is a child who needs BOTH of his/her parents to be completely there for them... forever.
Please read all my posts... thanks. I know you know someone that had a bad experience and things are raw right now for you and I am saddened how things turned out. That is a heart breaking circumstance for everyone involved.

But, humbly, their experience is not mine. Please don't put that on me.
The whole point of this thread is about loving, waiting and change that happens in marriages prior to adopting... many, many spouses have differing feelings about adoption, prior to adoption.

Just because you uncle is struggling right now doesn't mean every husband would make those same choices...

I am truly sorry for your loss.
 

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I have always wanted to adopt. I've also wanted bio children. I've wanted about 2-3 children. My husband only wanted one child. And he never considered adoption until I brought it up.

We talked about it a lot and finally we decided to start the process knowing full well that we might decide not to adopt after we learned more. But I didn't want to spend years and years thinking about it without actually learning about it.

Our state foster/adopt program encourages that - they give you ten free classes that explain and prepare you for working with the state child welfare dept. As a foster parent, adoptive parent, or foster-to-adopt parent. After you finish the classes, they ask you if you want to continue and to become a parent to these children.

For us, it was perfect. The classes were extremely helpful. And what was also nice was that we only invested time and emotions, no money, no exclusive contracts or anything. So if we decided it wasn't for us, then we wouldn't have lost much.

It sounds like you and your spouse are on the right track, taking time to think and learn. Maybe your state has a program like ours where you can learn more without comitting to anything?
 

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Reading all of this brings up something related but maybe tangental for me. I went thru this with DH. Well, to be exact, what I went thru was that after our son died, dh was not sure he wanted to pursue another child (bio was not an option). He was so unsure he pulled the plug on surrogacy we had lined up, and later on after one botched attempt with Rwanda adoption, we were so polarized around having another child that he packed his bags to leave and had decided on divorce as we just couldn't agree.

Dh's view was that he just didn't want another child strongly like I did. And what he wanted most was for me to want him, and to be a certain kind of wife to him (we had a lot of stress and pain in our marriage following the death of Trace). He actually was afraid of "spreading the love too thin." Boy did this sentiment trigger me, lol!

For me, I could just not get happy inside without the safety of knowing that we could move forward with another child in our future. Not being happy and always scared that I would never be a mother again was literally tearing me up inside and you can image how wonderful of a wife I was then. We talked and talked, he told me his side, I told him mine, we just could not budge and it was the scariest time of my marriage. If you talked to Scott then, you would be in the camp that this guy was clear that he just did not want another child.

So I had a big process thru all of that, and what I wanted to share here was this part: I realized that (and I am generalizing here) men may just not always have that fierce instinct to either create a child biologically or to adopt. I thought about how with all of our other children (one who is now 8, one who I m/c, and Trace) we never got pregnant with him "on board" so to speak. It was me trying to impress upon him how this would be a great time, how much I wanted this, etc. And you know, after we had our 8 year old, he was the fiercest dad ever. He was so involved, went over and above with her... but I don't think he had an instinct inside that called him to decide to conceive. And with Trace, well it took him until the day he held his son to say "When I held him I finally realized how desperately I wanted to be his father and to have another child and a son..." He needed his children in his arms for him to connect with the idea of fathering them. How often is it like this? I wonder... women have that "OMG! I must create a child NOW" feeling and I'm just not sure that my husband ever would have. Period.

So fast forward to me wanting to adopt and him not wanting to. I didn't give up because I knew that it was entirely possible that Scott just wasn't going to feel this child calling him... that he wasn't going to have an overwhelming sense of need to adopt. I also knew within myself my own truth, which was that Pacifique was real and I was to mother another. I knew that very likely there are times when I know deep down that something might be good for my family that they are unsure of. That, to me, is the work of a wife, a mother, at times. I knew that Scott would embrace this child fiercely when he held him in his arms.

And so, he did. And so it was. I was talking about his love for Pacifique last night in fact. He loves that child, he is filled up so full from this wee one's deep eyes, magnetic smile, silly antics. In fact, he is grateful to me for me staying the course, for knowing innately what would be. In no way did I force him to adopt, he did it openly, agreed to it in the end after a lot of pain and tears and love was shared. But I don't think he would ever get to the place where he really felt drawn to it or even creating a bio child for that matter. He did it for me, but now realizes we did it for eachother.

I hope some of what I wrote makes sense. The process is so important and I am in awe of your ability to stay open in love for eachother for a year to see what is alive then. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Jaya, thanks for sharing! It is so interesting the paths we all take.

I think you are right that many husbands just want to be love with the same ferocity as we (naturally) show our children. I think that was a huge realization for ME... not that I don't love my dh, but that he wanted to feel that I viewed him with as much passion as I do adding to our family through adoption.

We've been putting a much higher emphasis on our relationship the past several months and I am working on a few things personally to be a better wife and mate for him... not to "get what I want", but because I love him and want to show him in ways that speak love to him.

And I agree, most men seem not to have a drive to bring children into their lives to nurture and love. My dh is actually quite opposite on this, he would LOVE to have another bio child... he loves children that aren't his (as we work with kids), but he feared that adopting would feel like just our work with kids. I think it all shows me that we can't presume to know what is motivating hesitation in our spouse toward adoption... it could be lots of things.

Good stuff, thanks for sharing!
It is about the most beautiful thing to see a dad loving on their child!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Another update...

Note- I am sharing about some of my beliefs... if you don't like that, either ignore it or don't read.
Just wanted to warn you. Hugs!

All summer I have been silent and have just prayed, both for peace in my heart and also for unity in our marriage.

At one point my husband told me his heart and the concerns he had were unchanged. I was bummed. But then the next night my husband had a dream about holding a dark skinned baby and kissing it and feeling love.

He told me about it and said, "I think I might be wrong. It may just take seeing my child to love them... like it did with our others. Lets talk about it at the end of the summer."

I let it pass and didn't get too excited.

As summer ended and time went by I saw a boy on a waiting list that I thought looked perfect for our family (or perhaps we look like a perfect family for him). Yet I knew it was pointless to even entertain those thoughts and was a bit forelorn. At one point I just said to God "You have laid this on my heart, I've asked you to take it from me because you haven't changed my husbands heart. Please either change him or change me!"

The next morning we went about our day. At dinner Tim said, "You know, I had the weirdest dream last night." I was all ears...

"We were sitting in the pew at church and I was looking at our family from behind. In the row was our family and 2 little black heads were between you and me. I know that dream wasn't from me. Let's get signed up with an agency."

What! I was so shocked I didn't even respond. I didn't know how to respond, I just nodded, smiled and cried.

A few days later I showed him the waiting child and he said he wanted to pursue the sweet boy and felt exactly how I felt about him.

So that is what we are doing... We aren't approved as his family yet, they take it to a panel, but we are going forward!

Just wanted to let you know how things have worked out. It has been a struggle in my heart and mind, but I know a good good thing, that has grown me and even strengthened our marriage. I think we both feel like we are able to talk about more difficult things and respond in patience and love, even if we are disappointed. I'm actually glad this wasn't easy, because I know the next part wont be either and I feel like we can handle it as a more united couple.
 

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The progression of your story really touched me. I am in the middle of something similar and I really appreciate you sharing your beliefs and your prayer. I need to pray a very similar prayer.

Thanks so much for sharing and I hope the next part of your journey continues to strengthen your family and your love.
 
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