What can you do while you wait? Take some deep breaths…and be POSITIVE! The only real thing you have control of now is how you are going to spend your wait, and surprisingly it’s not much different than if you were pregnant. Once you believe that an adoption is really going to happen, that a child will be yours, you will begin to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to welcome your new child into your life.
Here are some things you, as prospective adoptive parents, can do to prepare:
Adoption books are important but you also need to read some good ole fashioned baby care books. Your baby is going to be going through the same developmental milestones as a child you would have delivered yourself! Also parenting and discipline books. Now is the time you and your partner will want to discuss how you might handle situations. You may be surprised to find out your not on the same page. Of course theory is one thing, experience is another..which means you may have a perception of how you might handle things now and when you get there it may be a whole different world..
2.Organize your home: I was taken by complete surprise the first week our first son was home and I looked at the clock and it was 2 pm and I looked at myself and I was still in my robe! And I worked in a nursery taking care of 6 babies at a time…if there are any projects that need to be done around the house, don’t wait. You may be anticipating some time off to care for your new baby and think that you will also have time to clear all of your closets…WRONG! A new baby will suck every moment from from day. Just giving you fair warning.
3. Take a baby care class.
Look for a class that talks directly to waiting adoptive families, that way you are not surrounded by pregnant bellies..reminding you how lucky you are not to have to go through pregnancy and labor. I know it may seem like a no brainer about how to give a baby a bath ..Everyone is going to provide their two cents to you about how to take care of your baby. It’s great to have a base of knowledge to start from. Just smile when others offer advice and think confidently that you know a little something because you have taken a class.Confidence is a direct result of having sufficient knowledge.
5. Talk with friends and family about adoption.
Now is the time to begin to educate your your circle about adoption as well as yourselves. Let people know that although you appreciate their interest, your adoption is your personal journey and the expectant mom’s history is not one for you to share. This is hard because most people are well meaning, but it is something you need to be comfortable with restating over and over..because people will ask..over and over.
5. Design and prepare your baby announcements.
You can do all of this online now. Start checking out some sites. Photo announcements are really popular right now.
6.Start looking at all of the support systems you are going to be using.
If you are going to need daycare start looking for daycare providers. My best tip for this is a clean center is a center that does not allow for play or creativity. Now I don’t mean it should be a filthy site but messy in this situation can mean great! You are going to need a pediatrician. Get input from others. When I first called our pediatrician to make an interview to check him out, he had a new girl working in the office. I explained to her that I was adopting and when our son was due. She replied “oh Dr. xxx doesn’t take adopted children” I was floored. Come to find out he is the father of 6 adopted children! We have been seeing him now for 21 years and not only our 4 ADOPTED children have seen him but all of our foster children too.
8. Organize a baby scrapbook
You can even start the book before your baby arrives with talking about your journey. Include stories about how you starting looking for him/her. Include pictures of birth family when you meet them. If you are involved in an open adoption (which I hope you are) and you have contact with the expectant mom, ask her to start a book for the baby. This could include her story, her favorites, her experience during pregnancy. If you aren’t a scrapper start a blog online, maybe two, one for your eyes only and one for your baby to view later on.
9.Baby Proof your home and start shopping:
Start putting safety latches on now so you can get use to working with them, especially with only one hand available. Also start looking at car seats and stroller. My favorites are the combo’s. Purchase a bassinet, you don’t have to have a crib yet, that way you don’t have to walk by a room set up with a crib while your waiting. Bassinets with rollers on the bottom are great, you can move them from room to room, and they travel well.
10. If you are a crafter, knitter, quilter:
Start a blanket or some hats. It’s a great way to keep your hands engaged at night in front of the TV. Many women who have had to deal with fertility medications may have put on a few pounds, this can keep from night time nibbling
11.Spend some time as a couple.
Getting to this point has been nerve wracking. I know I’ve been there. So much spontaneity has been taken from you as a couple. Also you aren’t getting to experience the intimacy of a pregnancy. So take some time to reintroduce yourselves to each other. Fall back in love. Remember why you married this person and wanted to have a family with them.
You will have a baby, just remain in your moments, be positive, don’t over analyze. Hopefully you are working with a professional you really trust. Let them do all the work.