The Wait. It is the “not yet” time between paperwork being completed and getting “The Call”.
During the homestudy process, time can seem to go quite quickly as you scurry to get the required documentation, clean, clean, and clean your home again, make doctor and veterinarian appointments, making all things child proof and basically educating yourself on all things adoption.
And then… you wait. You are considered “paper pregnant” but no one can tell you exactly when that “pregnancy” is coming to term.
It can be hard for non- adoptive parents to fully relate to your alternately excited and sometimes discouraged moods during this wait, however your fellow adoptive families will knowingly nod and assure you that it WILL happen… you just have to… wait.
So…. What can one do to help this wait become more bearable, to actually redeem the waiting time by doing something positive and also be fully living your best life while you wait, and not feeling like you can’t be fully happy, because, well, you are waiting?
Here are some tips and tricks from an experienced adoptive mama who well knows that wait, and fully admits that it wasn’t always easy, but there were things that could have made it better had they been implemented sooner.
- Do ALL the things that will be harder for you to do once you have a new little one placed in the home. Sleep in when you can! Are there fine dining restaurants you want to try? Weekends in a B and B? Visiting extended family/ friends? Please make the time to do the things YOU enjoy…. It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do these things after becoming a parent , but these are certainly things that easier to do spontaneously without an infant. See that show or comedian you’ve wanted to see… the ideas are endless, and everyone has their own personal preferences.
- READ READ READ about adoption, participate in trainings, join online or live support groups and basically dedicate yourself to learning about the adoption life cycle. And yes, there is such a thing. Your child is adopted once, however it will affect their lives in different ways depending on their development.
- If you have elected to consider transracial adoption, this is the time to learn about the issues your child and you will likely experience. While “love doesn’t have a color” thinking is true, it is ALSO true that children and families who have adopted transracially have had to learn to navigate a multitude of issues and challenges. It is important for families who adopt transracially to increase cultural competency and make community connections with diverse populations in their communities in order to increase their and their childs village of support after placement.
- Likewise, if you have elected to consider a variety of potential medical needs, you can use this time to do some broad research on them and what community supports are available in your area.
- This is also the time to learn about openness in adoption, birth family issues and loss. Although much of your and your family’s focus is rightfully on the joy of adding a new family member, the truth is, that this adoption occurs because of someone else’s significant loss. It is important to be sensitive to this dynamic.
- If it is helpful to you depending on your finances, and the costs seem a bit scary, consider fund raising for your adoption. There are so many grants especially for any sort of special need, or ways that you can more easily finance your adoption. It is now the norm for adoptive families or their supporters to host pancake breakfasts, hold garage sales, design tee shirts or jewelry, sponsor sports fund raising tournaments and the like. The sky is the limit. A quick google search will help spark some ideas!
- Finally, fully engage in the “fun stuff”! This is the time to do a baby or gift registry, many are now online. Start decorating your new child’s room, allow yourself to buy a few things , even early on in your wait. Allow people to host showers for you, or host one yourself! This is what expectant parents do. And that is what you are.
When your “call” comes, it will be one of the most amazing days of your life. But to be honest, sometimes the “call” exciting as it is…leads to another part of the wait…, maybe a delivery date, maybe a discharge from the hospital date, or an ICPC (if doing interstate adoption) approval day. Those parts of “the wait” somehow can seem a little easier than the initial unknowns of “the big wait”. Either way, surrounding yourself with other experienced adoptive parents , reaching out to your adoption professionals to support and help you through your time, no matter where you are in the process, will be key to getting through “The Wait”.