Waiting for a child to be placed with you is one of the hardest aspects of the adoption process. In some ways, it is harder than filling out numerous forms, preparing adoption applications, sitting for interviews, managing the cost of adoption, or preparing your home for the home study. However, this waiting period is also an important part of your adoption process. During this time, you have the opportunity to prepare mentally, emotionally, and practically for the arrival of your child. Following are just a few of the many things you can do to cope during the adoption wait.
One thing you should do during the adoption wait is to live your life. The temptation is to put your activities on hold, because you never know when you might receive the call that there is a birth family interested in talking with you or that there is an older child ready for placement. However, doing so will neither speed up the adoption process nor provide you with the peace of mind you need during the wait. Instead, it may create anxiety and stress that will make the waiting period more difficult. Choose instead to follow through on your plans. The child placement agency will be able to find you when there is news. In the meantime, you will have taken that continuing education course you were interested in, embarked on the vacation you’ve been dreaming of, or maintained your current friendships.
When you become a parent, you will need to take care of yourself so that you will be able to properly care for your child. Consider this waiting period a practice run for when your child comes home, and invest in your own emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical health while you wait. There are many ways you can do so. For instance, integrate exercise into your routine to keep your body strong. Take the opportunity to get plenty of rest. Seek out professional support if you find yourself struggling mentally or emotionally. Continue to pursue your hobbies and interests. Doing so will keep you healthy in every way so that when the child adoption agency does call and your child does come home, you will be as ready as possible to handle the joys and challenges of parenthood.
Even though you do not yet have a child, you do have an immediate and an extended family who need your attention. Parenthood will bring its own stresses to your other relationships, so making sure those relationships stay strong in the interim will make it easier to weather any challenges that arise after your adoption is finalized. Take time to go on dates and vacations with your spouse. Hang out regularly with friends, and make sure to attend birthday parties, weddings, and special events. Doing so will create strong relationships and precious memories that will add to the richness of your life both during the adoption wait and after your child comes home.
Once your child comes home, you will spend an adjustment period getting used to your child, bonding with them, learning how to be a family together, etc. As a result, you may not have time to pursue certain activities, such as traveling, learning a new skill, taking up a hobby, pursuing an educational degree, etc. As a result, one of the things you can do during the adoption wait is to pursue those activities that you may not be able to do after your child comes home. For instance, you may want to take that sky diving trip you’ve been dreaming of now, instead of trying to work it in once you have a newborn in the house. Doing so will also give you a chance to spend time with your family and live your life while you wait, so as to make the waiting time a happy period instead of a discouraging and stressful one.
Regardless of how many fun things you do with your family, and no matter how many activities you take advantage of, the adoption wait will sometimes still feel very difficult to get through. At these times, you will need a support network to encourage you. In addition, once your child comes home, you may find yourself needing extra support. As a result, now is the time to begin building a support network and familiarizing yourself with the post-adoption services offered by your adoption agency. While family and friends can be an important part of this network, you may also want to seek out an adoption support group to attend. These groups will give you access to other adoptive families who can encourage you through your wait and offer empathetic and experienced advice regarding any adoption-related challenges you face now or after your child comes home. Your adoption organization may be able to direct you to some of these groups in your area.
Finally, waiting for your adopted child is the perfect time to prepare for their arrival: You don’t have as much paperwork to fill out or interviews to attend, so you have the time to devote to getting everything in order for your child’s arrival. There are many, many things you can do to get ready. They include the following:
The adoption wait can feel overwhelming and stressful. However, by living your life, taking care of yourself, spending time with your family, pursuing activities you won’t be able to after the child arrives, building a support network, and preparing for your child’s arrival, you can get through the wait more ready than ever to welcome your child home.