3/6/2012 9:58 AM
Written by Erica Moltz, MA, NCC | Clinical Director
Finally, you have so many decisions out of the way. After much deliberation, you’ve decided to adopt an infant or an older child and pursue domestic or international adoption. You’re adopting privately, going through an agency, or adopting from the foster care system. You have successfully navigated the stressful world of the home study replete with many questions from a social worker during several home visits, collected numerous documents, got fingerprinted, divulged information about your personal finances, and participated in mandatory pre-adoption training. You thought the hoops you had to jump through would never end, but at long last you have an approved home study.
For many folks, the hardest part begins now when there is nothing to do but wait and you have no idea how long you will be waiting. There are still so many unknowns. You are told that you will eventually adopt the perfect child for your family, but how do you believe that when you don’t know when that will happen? You are told that the waiting is like a “pregnancy” but there is no end in sight and what do you tell your employer about when you will be taking maternity/paternity leave? You are uncertain about whether readying your home for a child will help keep the hope alive or be a painful reminder that there is no child in the empty room. You were willing to talk to family and friends throughout the home study to get their support and references from them; but how much do you count on them to understand what you are going through?
At Adoptions Together, we have worked with hundreds of waiting families. In our experience, the following suggestions may make it easier:
Remember that it will happen!
- Seek support. Adoptions Together and many other agencies offer support groups for waiting parents. Participants in these groups really get where you are “coming from” and will be able to cry, laugh, and then rejoice with you when you adopt.
- If you are adopting with a life partner, talk to one another about how each of you is experiencing the wait. Realize that your partner and you may be having different experiences and ways of coping with the situation. You may be “on the same page”, at other times one of you may be more or less hopeful or worried.
- Do let family and friends in, but set limits. You may have to ask them not to inquire about how much longer the wait will be or “bad mouth” the agency/lawyer because it is taking so long. Maybe the best way they can support you is by taking you out for “girls’ night” or getting together as couples without their children present.
- If you are going to be parenting as a single person, develop a robust system of other single folks and couples who are willing to provide you with respite when you adopt.
- Educate your family and friends about the salient issues involved in adoption. Perhaps you will be informing them about open adoption, or the likely challenges an older child may have to go through when transitioning to your family.
- If you are parenting another child, remember that this time with him or her is so precious. Savor each moment.
- Realize that it may be a good ideal to seek professional counseling services from a therapist knowledgeable about adoption issues.
- Continue to educate yourself by participating in parent groups with your agency.
- Practice mindfulness; live in the present moment so you can enjoy this time in your life. Take that vacation you have always wanted to go on, or sign up for the class that has been calling out to you.
1 comment(s) so far...
By Delana stewart on
4/19/2012 1:07 PM
Re: Coping With the Wait
Some great advice and insights for those waiting. To this I would add, journal. Write, write, write about your thoughts, your feelings, your experiences. Not only does it help you process what you are going through, one day you can share your journal with your children. And perhaps you might even use your journal to write a book. I did!
"Nine Year Pregnancy: Waiting on God--Our Journey of Adoption"