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What You Can Do While Waiting To Adopt A Child

My wife and I have an adopted bi-racial son. We couldn't imagine life without him. We also know the ups and downs of the adoption journey.


Waiting for adoption

If you decide you are going to adopt a child you will have to do some waiting. You will have to wait to be approved by an adoption agency. You will wait for your home study to be completed. You will have to wait until you are chosen by a birthparent. You will have to wait until the baby is born and then wait until the adoption is finalized. My wife and I adopted a boy from another state so we even had to wait a week until we could legally leave that state and go home to our own state.

I am sorry you have to wait for your beautiful dream of adoption to take place. It can be like being in a long line waiting to get inside this beautiful happy place, but the line doesn't seem to be moving.. Almost everyone has to do some waiting to adopt a child, sometimes years, it's part of the pain and glory of adoption. You get to wait. And by "waiting" we also mean "suffering" or "agonizing." Waiting is hard, wearisome, and sometimes painful.

A quick perusal of different adoption agencies and adoption studies and you will find a wide variety of estimates as to how long you will have to wait before you receive your child...

  • 6 to 18 months after your home study is completed
  • A few months if it's a special needs child
  • 1 to 2 years after your home study is completed
  • 2 to 7 years
  • Longer if an international adoption

To sum up the above data: no person knows for sure how long you will have to wait...except that you will have to wait.

Waiting for adoption is a form of suffering. You wonder. You doubt.

  • Why haven't I been chosen? What's wrong with us?
  • Maybe I should make some changes to our adoption book
  • Should I choose another adoption agency?
  • Other couples are getting chosen but we keep having to wait
  • The baby room is all ready...and empty
  • We got chosen! Then the birth grandparents made her keep the baby
  • Should we keep going? It's tearing us up

These are normal thoughts and probably all of us who have adopted have felt and thoughts these same things. You are not alone.

Waiting for Isaac

My wife and I began our adoption journey January 2005. After completing our home study and all the other necessities we had an "almost chosen" experience at the end of the year. But on April 5 we got "the call" that we had been chosen by a birthmother. Our family screamed and yelled with joy. The adoption agency said they were not positive about the date of birth but we needed to get ready because the baby could be born before the end of April. We got the house and baby room were ready by mid-April. At dinner time my wife and two daughters would excitedly wonder and take guess. "I think he will be born next Tuesday!" "I bet it will be April 29," "I guess May 2." But early May came and went. We had less contact with birthmother and agency. Our excitement began to wane around the dinner table. "I bet it will be next Monday," "I think May 9," "Mothers Day?" "I'm going with May 13." And so May wore on...and with each passing day we had less confidence, more worry, and more frustration not knowing what was happening and feeling so powerless. As the end of May approached we were no longer taking guesses at the dinner table and we were becoming resigned to the possibility the birthmother had changed her mind. Every night we prayed, agonized, and wondered. We had become so attached to this baby boy in our hearts. We had to surrender our dream to God and a measure of peace came as we continued to wait.

On June 10 I rose early, went for a run, and was in the bathroom when I heard my wife's phone ring. I heard her scream with joy and I knew the adoption worker was really happening. We drove all day across the state to get to the hospital to get our son and be with him the day he was born.

The next day in the hospital room I took a look at our new son Isaac's medical information. On one of the papers his expected due date was listed: June 10. The exact day he was born. But somehow the adoption agency had never gotten this critical piece of information that could have saved my family and I so much grief, heartache, doubt, and waiting. If we had only known there would have been no suspense, no agonizing waiting, and no exciting guesses as to when he would have been born.


The Benefit of Waiting for the Adoption

But there was value in having to wait and wonder if we would even receive the gift of our son Isaac. I believe there is a special attachment and bonding that takes place while you wait. I have no scientific evidence to back that up, I just saw and felt it happen in our family during the long month of May while we all waited for Isaac to (maybe) arrive.

Another reason why waiting is priceless is you will have a story to tell your son or daughter. We dreamed of you. We waited for you...for a long time. We longed for you, we longed to hold you and bring you home. It was so hard to wait for you. And you were so worth it!" You are the perfect one for us and you were given to us at the right time. And you will have your own personal details to share the story one day with your adopted child, the story of how you agonized, wondered, and waited.

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There is glory and love in waiting for someone, in waiting for the adoption to become reality. You are waiting for the day to have and hold your adopted child. There is glory in your waiting. There is love in your waiting. There is an attachment being made strong as you are waiting. I know you'd like to skip to the end of the story and hold your adopted one but hold on because priceless things are happening while you wait.

Ok, enough about waiting, below are some things you can do to be proactive while you are waiting...

Stay in close contact with your adoption worker

Stay in close contact with your adoption worker while you wait. Of course not every day but a bi-weekly text, call, or email is not too much.

A friend of mine was always reluctant to call her adoption worker because she always felt she was inconveniencing her adoption worker. I reminded her that she had done lots of paperwork and spent a fair amount of money. And that's why you have a case worker for your adoption, to communicate with you. You are paying them. You are not bothering them.They are trained to help you wait. You want your case worker to be thinking of you. Of course, be considerate of your case worker and understand there is only so much they can do, don't take your frustration out on your adoption worker. Develop a friendship and stay in good communication with your case worker.

Keep preparing and learning

While you are waiting keep preparing and learning about adoption. Keep preparing your house and the new bedroom for the child to come. Paint the room. Get a few toys that will fit a boy or girl. Choose names. Read books on all the different facets of adoption. If you are pursuing a bi-racial adoption get some books on that subject. If you want to sign on with an additional adoption agency go ahead. You can choose to look into your states' foster care system to see if that might be the right route for you to fulfill your adoption dream. Keep talking with and preparing your friends and family for the adoption.


Don't Stop Believing

"Don't Stop Believin...hold on to that feeling!" Yes I grew up in the 80s and will unashamedly use lyrics from the 80s band Journey in this article, it really fits. Ok, sorry. But don't stop believing the right boy or girl will come to you at the right time. (hold on to that feeling!)

Let's say your case worker calls you and tells you a birthmom is looking at your profile on Monday. Your hopes go up. You anxiously wait through Monday. Tuesday you hope for a call from your case worker. Thursday, no call yet. Friday, bummer. You call the case worker the next Monday and hear the birthmom chose someone else. You are discouraged, of course you are. But Tuesday remind yourself that the right child will come to you at the right time. You have to believe you will be given the right boy or girl at just the right time. This may happen many times. You may get chosen. You may meet the birthmom and then the adoption falls through. Don't stop believing that nothing on earth can stop the right boy or girl landing in your arms at the right time.

Pray. Don't stop believing. Ask God for fatih and hope.

Invite others and be with others in the waiting time

Make sure your best friends are aware of how hard the adoption wait is for you. Let them be empathetic and encouraging to you. And they will celebrate with you when the waiting is done and you bring your child home. Talk with others who have already adopted or are waiting like you about the challenges, fears, and frustration of waiting.

The church I attend has a group called "Grafted In" which is a support group for those who have adopted or are waiting to adopt. The group is encouraging. It's important to be able to talk with others, to know you are not alone in your waiting.

Remember we all have to wait.

Best way you are handling your "wait"

He or she is worth the wait! Hang in there

Adoption is beautiful and glorious. Hang in there. You are not alone. You are seeking to do something noble, self-less, and eternally significant. There is a boy or girl who needs the love and home you are offering. Keep waiting...with hope!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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