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Surviving the Wait: One Adoptive Mother’s Advice to Waiting Families

Surviving the Wait

Waiting can be one of the hardest parts of the adoption process for families. The journey can feel very much like a roller coaster of emotions and from the beginning of the process where families have a lot to accomplish (classes, paperwork, background checks, homestudy, creating a profile, etc.) followed by entering the books and starting their official wait. Once all the paperwork is complete and a family enters the books, the time frame for moving further in the process is completely unknown. It can often feel like a hurry up and wait situation. Each prospective adoptive parent needs to find their own way to cope with the wait. One couple wrote a very long list of things that would be harder to do once baby arrived that they chose from each month they didn’t get picked. Some people journal, some nest by preparing the nursery or do home fix it projects to prepare for baby. It is highly recommended that waiting families join up for support groups where they can connect with other waiting families, get regular updates from their agency and discuss ways to cope with the wait and any other struggles they might be facing.

One adoptive mother shared her advice to waiting families at one of the above mentioned support groups for waiting families:

From my experience with the adoption process as an adoptive mother, I think it’s important to realize that each family’s process and journey is truly uniquely their own. The process has many ups and downs and can feel much like a roller coaster ride. The wait is no exception. Family and friends will try to be encouraging and will say things like “the right baby will find you” which of course I believe but when you are in the middle of the process those words aren’t often enough to  settle the anxiety of the wait.

The wait wasn’t our biggest challenge during the process, it was post-placement when facing a potential disruption. We have friends who had been waiting about 8 months longer than we had who commented that they came to the realization that they would rather an even longer wait if it meant not experiencing the trials we went through post placement. I think it just goes to show that each adoption journey must be embraced for it’s own unique experience. Some waiting families came from long bouts with infertility prior to choosing adoption and some do not. Some families enter the books in as little as 4 months and for others it takes a good bit longer. Some may wait a month and then be matched with a woman who isn’t due for 5 months and another couple may wait 5 months and have an emergency placement. Yet another couple may only wait 3 months but experience a disruption and disappointment in that short time while others seem to experience the longest time frame for every single step of the process.

The bottom line is that it’s about really opening yourself for the whole journey, your whole experience as it will be from start to finish, fast or slow, hilly and rocky or smooth and easy. It’s about focusing on the end goal, to be a family and opening your lives to the paths that you will travel down to get to that finish. And once you do, there is a whole other challenge called parenthood!

However you choose to cope, having a strong support system is key. Be sure to communicate openly with your partner and with your social worker along the way. And most importantly, remind yourself why you began the process in the first place and set your sights to the day, whenever it comes, that you will hold your little one in your arms because when that moment comes, the stress about the length of time that you waited to meet them will seem to disappear.

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