Once you’ve decided on a path to adoption, you’ll be thrown into a flurry of activity. Preparing for your home study, keeping appointments with your social worker and filling out papers; there’s lots to do in the beginning. You might even start to think that the adoption process is going to keep you busy forever. At least it’s entirely within your control, right? For most people who want to adopt, it’s neither of those things.
For many families, waiting is an inevitable, and hard, part of adopting. How long you’ll wait is the universe’s decision; some couples are matched with an expectant parent and meet their new baby within 3 months, while others wait much longer, even years. According to Adoptive Families magazine, “most families successfully adopt within two years of beginning the process.”
5 Tips To Cope With The Wait & Prepare For What’s Next
Whatever happens in your own journey, the wait will teach you a few humbling lessons. But you don’t have to go into this without any view of the road ahead.
Waiting demands patience, trust and a good dose of faith, but it’s also the right time to begin preparing for when what will happen actually does. That way, you won’t be forced to play catch-up after your child has arrived.
1. Plan some alone time.
But before you get busy, stop. Your life is going to be busy enough taking care of your new child. Take time for yourself, doing the things you love. If you’ve got a passion, devote yourself to it. Plan a few more romantic dinners with your partner (time as a couple will become precious).
2. Get your shopping done.
You don’t want to be stuck in a baby store debating the merits of pacifiers and rattles when you could actually be playing with your baby. Try to get the material prep-work done early, and the first days with your child won’t be (quite) so hectic.
If you’re adopting an older child, it might be a good idea to hold off on buying clothes. Kids have taste, too, and you wouldn’t want to find yourself holding three non-refundable pink shirts that your daughter refuses to wear.
3. Get to know other adoptive parents.
Reach out! Lean on people who have been through it themselves for emotional support and practical guidance. A good conversation about what’s coming in your future can help the present go by a little quicker.
Having friends all over the place is great, but try to do some digging in your own community. The people around you know best what your home has to offer.
Adoptions From The Heart has a few support group options here.
4. Check out daycare.
If you’re looking into daycare, start researching local options right now. Depending on where you live, the waiting lists at some daycare centers can be hundreds of children long. Ask if they have experience with adopted children and whether they’ve run into any challenges because of it.
If you feel comfortable taking the risk, complete applications at the places you like. Just make sure you can negotiate a full or partial reimbursement of the application fee beforehand.
5. Take care of yourself.
Waiting can be really hard, and the adoption process can be a rollercoaster of emotions. Questions and doubts abound; it’s easy to spiral into a hole of anxieties. Find what brings you peace – a walk, a good book – and stick with it.
Try to eat healthy (while never being too hard on yourself) and set up a moderate exercise plan. Not only will you feel better, it’ll add some needed structure to days that may seem all too long.
Whatever you do, don’t give up! Remember that even unborn children are waiting, too. They’re waiting for the same thing you are: a loving home.