We could have called this piece 100 or even 1,000 things to do while waiting to get chosen for adoption but in the interests of time and space, we’ve boiled down to just five.
These five suggestions are by no means definitive although we do think they’re a good starting point.
So, without further undue (we don’t like waiting any more than you do!), let’s dive right into them.
1. Educate Yourself
Educating yourself about the adoption process is by far the most important thing you can do while you’re waiting. Or afterwards, for that matter. Just because you’ve adopted doesn’t mean the education process has come to an end.
Adopting a baby isn’t a one-time event. It’s a lifelong process. Every time you think you’ve got things under control something will come up and throw everything off-kilter, forcing to re-evaluate everything you know or thought you knew about the process.
But don’t blame adoption. Blame life. Things are constantly changing. And once you throw a child into the mix, even the changes change!
But you’re not there yet. Right now, as you’re waiting to get chosen by an expectant parent, time probably feels like it’s standing still. Every day feels the same. Like Groundhog Day. Nothing change. Nothing ever happens.
As people who were once in your shoes, we know how it feels. You’re so focused on the outcome that you forget about everything else. All you can think about is getting that baby.
But rather than focus on that, why not use the time you have now to learn how the process really works. That way when things do happen, you won’t feel like you’ve been blindsided. You’ll know what to expect.
One of the hardest and most humbling things to deal with when you’re waiting to get matched is the realization that you have very little control over the process. Everyone else around you–from your adoption professionals to the expectant moms you’re trying to connect with—seem to hold all of the cards.
The thing is, when you’re at this stage of the your journey, you still don’t know what you don’t know. And the more you learn about the process, the easier it will be to deal with the challenges along the way. So that once they happen, instead of stressing out and feeling like you want to throw in the towel, you can say to yourself, “oh yeah, I remember reading that” or “I remember hearing about that.” And you’ll know how to get through it.
Arming yourself with information will make all of those temporary setbacks you encounter feel like a bumps along the road rather than the end of the road. Whoever came up with the expression “knowledge is power” wasn’t kidding. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you’ll be to withstand the twists and turns during your journey to get matched. Because, believe us, they’re there. You won’t have to look hard to find them.
2. Join A Support Group
Waiting to get chosen by an expectant mother is a lonely, sometimes soul-destroying experience.
On a bad day, it’s easy to look back on your life and wonder how did you ever wind up in this mess. Why didn’t you see it coming? Why didn’t think about starting a family earlier?
And if you’ve come to adoption via infertility treatments, you may be asking yourself why did you ever think this part of the process would be easy? And while you’re at, you might want to throw in: Why aren’t expectant mothers choosing you? Is it because they haven’t found you yet or is it something else—something to do with you?
Second-guessing yourself and everything you’ve done in your life up until this point is part of the process. But don’t get upset about it or take it personally. It likely has nothing to do with you. Although it would be nice while you wait to focus on all of the things you did right over your lifetime, that’s not the way things work. We tend to forget about the positives and dwell on the negatives instead.
Getting tough on ourselves is a knee jerk reaction we all have when things don’t go our way. But once you start talking to other people who are in your shoes or have been in your shoes, you’ll realize you’re not alone. There are other dozens and dozens (and dozens!) of hopeful parents just like you who are experiencing the same self-doubts right now. From the outside, a lot of them seem like they’ve got even more going for them than you do, and yet here they are!
Joining an adoption support group is a great way to stop the cycle of beating up on yourself and realize that you’re not alone. Hearing about other people’s experiences and how they’ve overcome obstacles will not only make you feel less isolated. It will give you confidence to share your own story and provide hope for the future.
One day you’ll connect with an expectant mother. But for now, connect with a support group. You’ll be glad you did.
3. Be Proactive
Waiting to get chosen by an expectant mother can feel like an endless slog at times. Every morning you wake up wondering if this is the day when it finally happens.
But that’s not the way to look at it. If you do, you could be waiting a long time. Even if you’re working with an agency, you can’t just sit back and wait for something to happen. You’ve got to make it happen by doing some of the heavy lifting yourself.
After all, you’ve got nothing but time now. Why not put it to use?
Create a website or a web presence if you don’t have one already. If you want to join our website you can have a webpage up within an hour for the fraction of the cost of a website and we’ll help you with your outreach too.
There are no two ways about it: The more people who know about desire to adopt, the faster you’ll find a match and eventually, a placement. Yes, there will be pitfalls along the way. The internet is only as good as the people who use it. And unfortunately, scammers are part of the package.
But if you’re careful (see Tip #1) at most you might get a scratch or two. At the end of the day that’s a small price to pay if you eventually end up with a child in your arms.
And most importantly, if you’re moving forward and being active you won’t feel like time is standing still.
4. Be Patient
One of the biggest mistakes you can make while you’re waiting to get chosen by an expectant parents is to jump into a situation before you’re ready or without doing your homework. (Again, see Tip #1). We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Adoption is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow and steady wins the race.
Yes, it’s possible to find a match right away. But more likely it’s going to take some time–months, or maybe even years. Don’t get frustrated if things seem to drag on longer than you’d like. The only way a match won’t happen is if you give up. Don’t get discouraged just because you have one timetable and the adoption process has another one.
Trust the process. It’s worked for thousands of other couples, why wouldn’t it work for you? Manage your expectations. Just because you’ve been waiting for six months or a year without finding a match doesn’t mean that you’ll never find one.
Keep educating yourself. Surround yourself with positive people and thoughts. Keep trying new things. Don’t define yourself in terms of your adoption journey. That’s not going to help you. It will only make things worse. Which bring us to…
5. Continue Living Your Life
Getting chosen by an expectant mother is probably the most important thing in your life right now, the one thing you want more than anything else.
That’s normal for people in your shoes. Just ask the folks in Tip #2. But keep in mind that this is just a stage in your journey and in your life.
One day you’ll get through it and you may not even remember how gruelling it was or how obsessive you were. The point is, yes, it’s a big deal right now. But one day, just like every other crisis or setback you’ve ever experienced, it will pass and become part of your story.
So don’t put your life on hold. Continue doing whatever you were doing before. And maybe even do more of it because once you become a parent you won’t have time for anything else.
Take pleasures in the little things in life: sleeping in, going for long walks, preparing meals, binge-watching the latest Netflix series.
As hard as this wait may feel, chances are that when your adoption match finally does come it will be even sweeter than you imagined. Never again will you ever take things for granted in quite the same way. And you’ll likely have even more respect and gratitude for the woman that you might have once feared but whose adoption plan made you a parent.
You may not understand everything now, but you’re not supposed to. While you’re going through it, the adoption matching process rarely makes sense. One day, though, with the benefit of hindsight, you may look back at this period of your life and see how everything fit together.
And you may come to realize that this infuriating, confounding and exhilarating place where you are right now was where you were meant to be all along.