You’ve made the decision to adopt, done your research, filled out all the paperwork, attended
the classes, completed your home study, ordered your profile books (bonus points if they’re
from Arrow + Root!), and are now a waiting family. Congratulations on accomplishing so much my friend! Those tasks are the starting points for every adoption journey in some way, shape, or form & and they are by no means easy!
But...what now? What next? You’ve entered that next stage of your adoption journey - the
dreaded adoption wait. For many, this portion of the adoption process is the most challenging simply because so much of it is out of your control. You’ve done all that you can do, and now you’re in this state of limbo; waiting to be chosen by expectant parents and not knowing when that’ll happen. It could be days, weeks, months, or even years.
Take heart my friend. While this can be a difficult time, it doesn’t have to be all encompassing or filled with anxiety. You can have a joyful, productive wait for however long this part of your journey takes. Below you’ll find the advice that has helped us the most during our eleven months (and counting) of waiting to be chosen!
Read: The adoption wait is a great time to catch up on your reading list. New releases, old
favorites, parenting books, devotionals...all can be great additions to your list and welcome
distractions if the days drag on. Two of my favorites are Girl Wash Your Face: Stop Believing
The Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You’re Meant To Be by Rachel Hollis and Tandem: A Devotional for Adopting with God in the Lead by Alison England.
Build Your Village: It’s crucial to surround yourself with a loving, supportive village during the adoption wait. The entire adoption process can be such an emotional roller coaster so having people who are cheering you on, and are there for you, can be a real lifesaver. Don’t limit yourself to just those in your immediate circle either! In person & online support groups, friends you “meet” on social media, and fellow adoptive and hopeful adoptive parents are all great additions to your village.
Attend A Conference or Two: Conferences can be a great way to help you build your village, connect with adoption professionals, and gain additional insight into the adoption process. There are a myriad of conference options out there many of which are faith based. A couple to look in to include the Hope2018 Conference happening this November (https://
www.beautyamidsttheashes.com/hope18) , the Moms in the Making Conference (http://
momsinthemakinggroup.com/conference/), and the
Choose Joy Event (http://www.choosejoyevent.com/).
Prepare Your Home: While not everyone is comfortable with this practice, preparing your
home now for the coming addition can be a fun distraction from the wait. Whether it’s setting
up the entire nursery, or just baby proofing a few areas, anything you do now will be one less
item to check off what could be an overwhelming to do list once you’ve been chosen. This is
especially true if you’re chosen after the baby has been born, and are rushing to make travel
Strengthen Your Marriage: Enjoy those date nights while you can sans having to hire a sitter! It can be easy to let the stress and jitters of the adoption process become a wedge between you and your spouse. The best way we have found to remedy that is to make time to have fun, try something new, and communicate outside of your typical daily routine on a consistent basis. Pinterest is full of fantastic ideas that can be done on a tight budget, some even within the confines of your own home, and you can also check your local community calendar for festivals and other events! The more creative the date the better, especially if it’s a new activity for both of you!
Cross Off Those Bucket List Items: Don’t let the “what if’s” of the adoption wait hold you
back. The time to do whatever you’ve been thinking of doing or wanting to do is NOW. Go on
the trip, enroll in the class, try out the new hobby, dye your hair that bold color. Whatever your bucket list looks like - get started now. It can be intimidating to take that first step, but once you get started crossing things off you’ll gain confidence and it’ll help time to go by a wee bit faster. Don’t forget that if you do get chosen once you’ve gotten a project underway you can always reschedule or rebook, and it’ll be way easier to do that than grapple with the feelings of wishing you’d gotten started sooner or done more before your precious bundle arrives!
Practice Self Care: There are few times in one’s life when self care is a vital as it is during the adoption wait. As the weeks stretch on it can be far too easy to get bogged down under all of the ups and downs this journey entails for most of us, which is where self care comes in. Make sure that you are remembering to take time for yourself too; get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, eat healthy, and exercise. Indulge in whatever small pleasures bring you joy and rest, be it dark chocolate, a bubble bath, fuzzy socks, a coffee date with a friend; you get the gist! Also, check in with yourself regularly about how you’re doing. If you find that this journey seems more than you can bear alone don’t be afraid to reach out, and receive assistance from a licensed mental health professional.
The adoption wait can jangle even those with nerves of steel, but hopefully the pointers above have given you a starting point of how you can tackle it and turn it into a positive experience! While there isn’t much about this point in the journey that you can control, you CAN choose to have a joyful, hopeful disposition and make the best of this time however long, or short, it may be.
-Cait Vaughan, blogger