After focusing for several months on homestudy paperwork and agonizing over details in our "Dear Birthparent" letter, entering the waiting pool with our agency seemed like a bit of a let down. Now there really was nothing left to do but wait--or so it seemed.
Coincidentally, twice early in our waiting period two motivational speakers at separate events read from Dr Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go." The rhythmic words lodged inside my head, ". . . or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No. . . Everyone is just waiting. . . No! That's not for you!" The universe was trying to tell me something. Waiting was definitely not for me.
Tucking the wisdom of Dr. Seuss under my belt, I chose to empower myself by taking charge of the wait rather than letting the wait take charge of me. I did it even though we were working with a private agency that was already networking on our behalf. As first time adopters we were unsure of ourselves and of the whole adoption process. We were not prepared emotionally to handle direct inquiries from birthfamilies; it would feel too much like soliciting a baby. Now the question became how to empower myself when I was full of doubts, where to start in the vastness known as waiting. In talking to other adoptive families and educating myself through reading books and magazines such as Adoptive Families, the answer came back: support, support, and more support-- from family and friends, agency, coworkers and community. I developed a multi-pronged approach to waiting: support, networking, nurturing, and action.
Support is Essential
Instead, I found another birthing education center more experienced with pre-adoptive parents. There we were able to take only the courses which interested us. The non-adoptive parents were supportive, and the instructor even added specific material for us. She spent more time on general baby care than on topics (such as breastfeeding) which were not as applicable to adoptive parents. Looking back, I now think that a labor and delivery class might have been useful as I ended up being the labor coach for our son's birthmother (our second adoption) and was unsure of how to do it.
Finally, we decided, as a sign of hope, to move ahead and prepare the nursery. We did it slowly over time, adding warm yellow walls, a Winnie-the-Pooh wallpaper border, and the hand-me down crib that my sister's youngest had just outgrown. Somehow we knew that there would be enough chaos at the end of the wait to keep us busy and that preparing the baby's room would be easier now than later. I would often sit in the room alone and imagine the sounds of soft giggles bouncing off the bright walls. A smile would cross my face. I would begin to believe again that one day this waiting process would end, and everything would fall into place.
Many experienced adoptive parents had told us, "When it is meant to be, it happens." At the time the phrase seemed trite and irritating, but then, suddenly, the time was right and the waiting was over. The waiting seemed endless, but it was only a small part of a greater journey, the journey that will last a lifetime.
This article is reprinted with permission. It originally appeared in Adoptive Families Magazine, www.adoptivefamiliesmagazine.com, 800-372-3300.
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