Waiting is defined in the Webster’s dictionary as “To remain inactive until something anticipated occurs” or “To put off until later” and lastly, “To be prepared, or ready.” We’re sure that many of our adoptive families could add their own definitions and descriptions about the limbo of waiting.
Once the paperwork is completed (that in itself, a major accomplishment) and the profiles polished, our hearts and homes become ready with the expectation of a long awaited son or daughter…and then, the waiting begins.
Having personally experienced a long wait (two years), I often describe it as the adoptive parents’ time of labor. You are expectant parents with no idea of when to expect your child. It can be an emotional, painful, exciting, frightening, joyful time. One thing it’s not… is predictable.
Rarely does adoption occur in a neat, organized, time-oriented, totally predictable manner. It is a time when we have little or no control over much of what occurs and it is enough to make some of us want to yell, “An epidural, please!”
Many of our waiting families find themselves asking if there is anything they can do to potentially shorten the wait, or make the wait less difficult. The answer is “Yes!” Listed below are some ideas you may wish to use:
- Educate yourself on adoption while you are waiting. Read books and encourage your friends and family to educate themselves as well. Doing so will give you valuable insight into the adoption process, and it will help you be better prepared for when you get the call.
- Keep busy with adoption-related issues. You can volunteer to do some work for organizations like Lifetime Foundation, a non-profit foundation that assists birthmothers by providing scholarships and other assistance.
- Get the word out that you are adopting — you never know where a lead may come from. Let others know you're hoping to adopt by posting about it on social media. Lots of families have generated interest that way.
- Take a copy of your profile to your local OB/GYN, clinics, and churches. Make a personal contact or include a cover letter explaining that you are a local family seeking to adopt.
- Advertise yourselves online (such as on Facebook and Craigslist). Use your adoption professional’s 800 number so that they can still screen the calls for you.
- If you are inclined to keep journals, start one for your child. Explain how excited you are. Above all, nurture your relationships. Your spouse, family, and friends are vital resources for you during this time. Reach out to them for support. They will be the ones to rejoice with you when your child arrives.
Remember that each one of us can “take charge” of our part of the adoption process. You may not be able to control all the details, but you can control your response. I know it is difficult, but try to remain positive. Remember that your child will come to you. You will soon be parents and your wait will be over. I believe that just as the pain of physical labor is forgotten with the sight of your child, your “labor pains” will also fade to memory when you hold your little one.
Written by Rebecca Robinson, BSW. Rebecca is the mother to two daughters, brought into her family through open adoption.