In every adoption, whether domestic, international, embryo, or foster to adopt, there is some element of waiting. There is some period of time where adoptive parents are waiting. Waiting for a match. Waiting for a signature. Waiting for a phone call. Waiting for the courts. Waiting for paperwork. Waiting for a birth. Waiting for an email. Waiting for the mail carrier. Waiting, waiting, waiting. It is a theme in adoption. All of us experience "the wait" when we adopt. Whether your wait is days, weeks, months or years - waiting is not easy. Waiting can cause even the strongest and most patient to have moments of discouragement and anxiety.
Know that my inspiration for this post is because I am currently in "the wait." My days are spent refreshing and checking my email more than usual, because any minute I could get that glorious message that my perfect match has been made. I find my heart saying, "I just can't wait!" But I will wait, I have to and here are a few things that help me have strength while I am waiting:
Being part of an online community through our adoption agency has been such a blessing. I can hear from those who are long ahead of me in the journey, I can pray alongside those who are in the same phase, and I can encourage those who are behind me in the process.
Also, the closest friends and family who can celebrate the little successes and pray for me on the tough days are beyond valuable. You need others to survive this.
I have heard of mothers buying an adoption book each month while they wait to bring their baby home from Africa. I have heard of parents writing notes to their future children while they wait to meet them. Since we started the process I have been collecting little artifacts and pictures that mark various moments along the journey. These will go in my child's baby book/life book someday. The sweetest thing I am collecting though, is in my prayer journal. Each day of "the wait" I journal a one word prayer for the genetic parents of my future babe. This one word is often repeated multiple times throughout the day. This collection of words helps me focus my daydreaming into a practical purpose.
Cookies might not work for you, but for me cookies provide a distraction. If I let myself think about "the wait" too much - I WILL GO CRAZY! Baking cookies gives me another task to focus on, relieves some stress and makes my heart happy. Inviting my daughter to bake with me, makes me stop and live in this moment with the child in my home right now. Find something to distract you from your waiting. Choose to be content.
It is okay and actually good to look back. Consider where you came from in this journey. On our fridge, there is a road map of our adoption journey. I move a post-it along as we move through each phase. It is often disheartening to see the miles left to go still, but looking back at where we started gives me such hope and encouragement. I now reflect and can giggle at how overwhelming the mountains of papers felt during the homestudy. I am reminded that one day baby will be in my arms and "the wait" will be a memory as well.
I hope these ideas provide you some tools as you wait. Know that I don't have the answers, but am instead just a fellow waiter.
I am reminded of a children's book by Mo Willems. In his Elephant and Piggie series there is a book where Piggie has a surprise for Gerald. Gerald goes through excitement, frustration and sadness while he waits, but in the end he realizes that his surprise was worth the wait.
There are days I feel like Gerald, letting out a big GROAN as I feel like I can't wait another second. But, like Gerald, I know my baby will be worth the wait. So I go back to waiting, and waiting, and waiting until the perfect timing for my perfect match.