What I’m Learning While Waiting to Adopt

This guest post is by Dana, a hopeful adoptive parent.

This summer I had the opportunity to share a wonderful conversation with a dear family friend. We were on vacation, walking up and down the beach and talking very openly with one another. On this walk he commented that it seemed that Chris, my husband, and I were doing “better.”

It was true we were doing better–feeling more at peace related to the babies we lost (in pregnancy) and we were also giving in to the fact that the adoption process was much more beyond our control than we originally thought, which in turn allowed us to start enjoying life a little more fully.

As we continued on our walk this friend asked me if I felt that Chris and I had been, “for lack of a better word, obsessed” with adoption and the adoption process. For a moment, this question, this raw word “obsessed” really threw me. Obsessed?  Really, me or us obsessing about the adoption?

Is that how we were presenting? Is that what this journey looked like from the outside–an obsession?  It took me a moment to grasp the question fully to understand the concern and care behind it, to glance at our experience from the other side.

I understood why it appeared this way. As hard as it was to swallow, yes, I do think we were obsessed. And not in a good way, maybe a necessary way, but certainly not a good way.

Dealing with pregnancy loss and adoption

Chris and I are doers. We believe in working hard to get where we want to be (another huge obstacle when dealing with pregnancy loss and adoption). We don’t sit back and wait for life to happen, we make things happen in our life.

When we began the adoption process we thought that by doing everything and anything we could think of to ethically spread the word that we were hoping to adopt, to read every piece of information we could find related to adoption, to scour blogs, and support the adoption agency with whom we were working, surely we would be able to connect with someone considering an adoption plan much, much faster.

While some of these efforts have indeed been very helpful, and while we continue to think of new and innovative ways to share our family’s intentions, I agree that there was a point when this controlling behavior crossed the line into the category of obsessed.

We had indeed crossed that line and my life, at one point, was overwhelmed by the adoption process, by the need to learn everything I could about adoption–if I wasn’t focused on the adoption, I was wasting time, letting down my family and not concerned enough about my potential future child.

While my/our feelings were very real at the time and we were doing what we needed to in order to keep moving forward, I am able to recognize that our actions, our intensity, were, well, over the top, ok, obsessed!

Adapting to the waiting process in adoption

It is hard to explain to people who have never been through this process, who have never had to just wait for an undefined amount of time for something so precious. It takes awhile to get used t0–the waiting has to find its way into your life. And it is really hard to make room.  We feel like we now have adapted to the waiting in a healthier way.

We can compartmentalize a bit better now and while we continue to work toward doing what we can to improve our chances of making connections, we also can put it aside and focus on our present lives knowing and believing that more children will join our family even if we take a break, even if we live our lives.

I thank our dear friend for making me think, helping me step outside my adoption box and evaluate where I came from, where I was, and where I wanted to go. It is the people that we love most, and love us most, that truly help make us the best people we can be.

Obsessed?  Yes and No. Every day we wake up wondering if “today will be the day”–will today be the day that someone changes our lives forever? Every day we think about adoption in some way, shape or form.  That will not stop. Our thoughts of adoption and our future children will be a part of us and our life. We will continue to hope and pray and wait. But while we wait we will continue to live.


Dana, her husband, Chris, and their daughter, Addison, live in Grand Rapids, Michigan and are hoping to grow their family through adoption.  Dana created their blog, Life Unexpected, to share more openly their journey to and through the adoption process.




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(Photo credit: JP<3!)

5 thoughts on “What I’m Learning While Waiting to Adopt”

  1. Dana,
    Your blog is yet another touching, sensitive work of introspection. How wise and self aware you have become through your processes of loss and hoping. Perhaps the term “obsessive” is appropriate but I wonder to what extent the two overtures for adoption have “primed that pump”. Your two near-adoptive experiences have provided intermittent reinforcement for all your efforts to adopt. You recall that intermittent reinforcement is the strongest form of reinforcement. From my view you have been “set up” to obsess. All your hard work and attention to adoption worked once—and then again twice!! How natural to think that your focused, passionate adoption efforts pay off. If we just try a little harder ……….

    Congratulations on your maturity to grapple with and appreciate feedback from friends. I am so impressed with your ability to understand that when we use a strength to excess, it becomes a weakness. I suspect that your awareness of your m.o. and your penchant for pursuit, as well as your new professional commitment will be major tools for achieving the balance you seek in your lives.

    Blessings on the 3 of you.

  2. Dana,
    We were approved on August 3, 2010, and waited as patiently as we could. Many days, it was very hard – especially as I saw friends and family members get pregnant and have their babies. I’m sure we were insufferable! We kept telling everyone to stay positive – that it would happen, and that it might happen quickly.
    Much to everyone’s surprise, we got a call on November 17th that a birth mom wanted to talk to us that night. We talked to her, and then waited very IMpatiently the next day for a call from our case worker. At 4:45 pm on Friday the 18th, the call came. She picked us, and we would be spending Thanksgiving day with our twin baby girls. I was holding them in my arms less than 72 hours later!
    Here we are 5 weeks later, and it is still surreal. We are still doubling up on all the gear we bought one of months and months ago, and we are stabilizing as a family. We spent Christmas Eve and Day taking the girls to meet their new family and sharing the joy of these two little miracles.
    It will happen. It will happen suddenly, and it will rock your world! Stay obsessed, and stay positive! Praying you get the call very soon!

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