Waiting is defined in the Webster's
dictionary as "To remain inactive until something anticipated
occurs. To put off until later. To be prepared, or ready."
We're sure that many of our adoptive families could add their own
definitions and descriptions about the limbo of waiting.
Once the paperwork is completed (that in itself, a major accomplishment),
the profiles polished and ready, hearts and homes made ready with
the expectation of a long awaited son or daughter... the waiting
then begins (or continues as it is for some.)
Having personally experienced a long wait (two years), I often
describe it as the adoptive parents time of labor. You are expectant
parents with no idea of when to expect your child. It can be an
emotional, painful, exciting, frightening, joyful time. One thing
it isn't is predictable.
Rarely does adoption occur in a neat, organized, time-oriented,
totally predictable manner. It is a time when we have little or
no control over much of what occurs and it is enough to make some
of us want to yell, "An epideral, please!"
Many of our waiting families find themselves asking if there is
anything they can do to potentially shorten the wait, or make the
wait less difficult. The answer is "Yes!" Listed below
are some ideas you may wish to utilize.
- Educate yourself on adoption while you are waiting. Read books
and encourage your friends and family to educate themselves as
well. Doing so will give you valuable insight into the adoption
process, and it will help you be better prepared for when you
get the call.
- Keep busy with adoption related issues. You can volunteer to
do some work for organizations like Lifetime
Foundation, a non-profit foundation that assists birthmothers
by providing scholarships and other assistance.
- Get the word out that you are adopting -- you never know where
a lead may come from. Wear clothing that
piques the interest of those who see it, letting them know you
are hoping to adopt. Some families have generated interest that
- Take a copy of your profile to your local OB/GYN, clinics, and
churches. Make a personal contact if possible, or include a cover
letter explaining that you are a local family seeking to adopt.
- Advertise in your local newspapers or teen magazines. Use your
adoption professional's 800# so that they can still screen the
calls for you.
- If you are inclined to keep journals, start one for your child.
Explain how excited you are about their expectant arrival.
- Above all, nurture your relationships. Your spouse, family,
and friends are vital resources for you during this time. Reach
out to them for support. They will be the ones to rejoice with
you when your child arrives.
Remember that each one of us can "take charge" of our
part of the adoption process. You may not be able to control all
the details, but you can control your response. I know it is difficult,
but try to remain positive. Remember that your child will come to
you. You will soon be parents and your wait will be over. I believe
that just as the pain of physical labor is forgotten with the sight
of your child, your "labor pains" will also fade to memory
when you hold your little one.
Written by Rebecca Robinson, BSW. Rebecca is the mother to two daughters, brought
into her family through open adoption.