Remember that old Tom Petty song, “The Waiting Is The Hardest Part”? Boy, he wasn’t kidding.
Waiting, of course, is part of life. It’s also part of the open adoption process. A big part. In fact, if you’re going through it now, you can be forgiven for thinking it’s the only part.
From beginning your home study to finding a match, it seems like every step of the way you’re either waiting for something or waiting for someone.
Waiting. Wondering. And probably worrying, too.
It’s hard to think that anything good can come out of just sitting around and waiting for something to happen. But believe it or not, there are some benefits. They may not be evident to you right away, but they’re out there if you’re open to them.
Here are some that I came up with. I’m sure you’ve got your own list. Feel free to share them in our comments section below. I can’t wait to see them.
Waiting has taught you to be more patient.
Open adoption isn’t about instant gratification. It’s about waiting it out until the right opportunity comes along and then jumping on it before it slips away. What they say is true: good things really do come to those who wait.
It’s made you more appreciative.
Some biological parents take their children for granted. Not you. Waiting to adopt has taught you that parenting is a privilege, not a right. And that, in turn, has helped you to savor things that other people don’t think twice about–to enjoy the small things in life as much as the big ones.
It’s helped you become more resilient.
Adopting isn’t for sissies. Jumping through all of those hoops to get where you are today would have worn down plenty of other people. But you’re not only still standing. You’re standing tall–ready for the next challenge that comes your way.
It’s shown you how to be more persistent.
When you’re going through the open adoption process, it’s tempting to throw in the towel. But you know that if you’re willing to stick it out, your time will come. It’s not a question of if but when.
It’s turned you into a more loving person.
Going through the open adoption process can put even the strongest of relationships to the test. But you know that if you can get through this, you can get through just about anything. And be stronger for it, too.
It’s allowed you to become more independent.
Leaning on others can ease your open adoption journey. But eventually you come to realize that there’s really only one person who can help you get to the finish line: you.
It’s taught you to be more understanding.
Adopting a child requires a shift in thinking–in the way you think of yourself but also in the way that others think of you. Trying to explain open adoption to someone who’s never gone through it is like explaining what it’s like to live in a foreign country. Pat yourself on the back for handling all those pesky questions and comments with equanimity and grace.
It’s shown you how to become more flexible.
One thing you’ve got to say about open adoption: it takes you out of your comfort zone. Very quickly you’ve learned how to let go of your preconceptions about what it means to build a family and just go with the flow.
It’s made you more compassionate.
Open adoption involves putting putting yourself in someone’s shoes and putting other people’s needs before your own. Even though this is your journey, you now understand that it’s not always about you.
It’s helped you become more organized.
From medical checks to police clearances, there were times when it seemed like the list of things you needed to prepare would never end. There was always one more thing you had to do, one more piece of paper you needed to get signed, sent, or delivered. Good thing you had everything at hand and ready to go.
It’s taught you to be more trusting.
Open adoption is a leap of faith. You never know when “the Call” will come or who it will come from. You need to trust your instincts and believe that everything will work out just the way it was supposed to. If you don’t, you know that you’re going to have a very difficult road ahead of you.
It’s allowed you to become more empathetic.
You may not know how a prospective birth mother is feeling. But going through the open adoption process and learning about the challenges she faces has made you more understanding of her position–and of others who may not have it as easy as you do.
It’s made you more generous.
Waiting to adopt has taught you many things. But one of the most important ones is knowing that as hard as your life may seem to you, others have it a lot harder. So why not share what you have with others when you can?
It’s shown you how to be more realistic.
At first, you vowed to be a parent in six months. Then in eight months. Then in twelve. Now more than 20 months have gone by and you’re still not a parent. Good thing you’ve learned to manage your expectations and how to put things in perspective.
It’s taught you to be more resourceful.
When your adoption outreach campaign came up empty, it would have been tempting to throw your hands up in the air and give up hope. Instead, you put together a new one, which resulted in some promising leads. And that has taught you the first lesson of adoption networking: when a door closes, a window opens.
It’s made you more hopeful.
Open adoption is about building families. But it’s also about building dreams. So while your match may not have come as quickly as you would liked, it doesn’t mean it won’t come at all.
It’s shown you how to be more grateful.
Waiting to adopt has surprised you in many ways. It’s proven just how strong you really are. Not everyone survives this part of the process. But you have–with flying colors. And that’s nothing to take for granted.
But here’s by far the greatest benefit of waiting to adopt…
It’s made you a better person.
And just in time. Because the best is yet to come.
What has waiting to adopt taught you? Share your thoughts in the section below.
Photo credit: col&tasha