Adoption is hard. There is a lot of waiting involved. Waiting to start the process, waiting for the home study, waiting for the home study approval (certification), waiting for adoption opportunities, waiting to be chosen, waiting for the baby you have been chosen for to be born, waiting for consents to be signed, waiting for the consents to be irrevocable, waiting for finalization… There are lots of different emotions and feelings throughout the process but one consistency is the wait.
It feels like there is even more waiting than usual as the pandemic seems to have increased the number of prospective adoptive families looking to adopt, at the same time we are seeing less adoption opportunities than usual. So what should YOU do while you wait???
Educate yourself. Prepare for your child through adoption, learn from adoptees, birth mothers and other voices in the triad. I’ve talked about some topics and recommendations of my favorites before here and here.. Prepare to get uncomfortable and don’t shy away when you do. Adoption is trauma, and there are a lot of hard parts of adoption, but shying away and pretending that doesn’t exist is not going to help your future child if you decide to continue and adopt.
Grieve and deal with your infertility, or inability to carry a child (if any). Consider counseling and support groups. Make sure that you’re comfortable starting the adoption process and the intricacies that it will entail. Read some of the things we’ve written on that here, and reach out to a source like RESOLVE for more assistance and resources.
Deal with any other stuff you have going on, go to counseling, face any racial or other prejudices that you may have, even subconsciously, that may get in the way in your adoption journey. Make sure that you’re ready in this area for the child you’re planning to adopt (i.e. if you’re open to adopting transracially). Consider learning from people like Torie DiMartle from Wreckage and Wonder, Hannah Matthews at HeyTRA, or some of the other key voices in the adoption community.
Prepare financially for adoption, consider whether you might be eligible for adoption grants, employee assistance, adoption loans, explore home equity loans, 401K loans or other creative ways to finance your adoption. You can also consider the pros/cons of creating a side hustle to raise funds, or consider fundraising for your adoption (but make sure you understand the negative side of that as well, and the criticism that exists on it from the adoption community). Read through some other posts on that here.
Engage in adoption outreach and make your desires to adopt known consider adoption outreach through social media, adoption listing sites like PairTree, AdoptMatch, or other profile listing sites, setting up Google ads or other print advertising (assuming it is legal in your state, check out this link for handy reference on adoption laws in all the states). Consider contacting every adoption attorney in your state and asking if they are allowed to match and if they will hold your profile or think of you when they hear of an adoption opportunity.
Prepare for a child. That can look different to different people, but consider taking a first aid course, infant CPR, baby skills class, decorate a nursery, research carseats, create a gender neutral registry, or even host a baby shower. Get ready, as you’ll never feel quite ready when you get that call, no matter how quickly it happens for you.
Be active in this adoption journey. It doesn’t matter if you hire a proactive advisor like one at Purl or sign on with many attorneys or agencies, no one is going to be able to advocate for you better than YOU do. Don’t just sit back and wait for a baby to come to you. Prospective adoptive families can create their own opportunities in a tough time like this, so be as active as you can during this journey.