When you decide to pursue adoption, everyone talks about how exciting it is to have a child in the house and how great it is you’re doing this for a child in need. They’re not wrong, as being able to adopt a child into your family is truly a rewarding time in your life.
But, while everyone is so focused on all of the positives from adoption, there’s an aspect of every adoption that needs to be addressed – the waiting period.
When you begin your adoption journey through your adoption agency, you’ll rarely be adopting a child immediately. In some cases, you could. But, overall, many adoptive families aren’t matched for several years.
For some, this wait may seem like an eternity. When all you want is to start your family, having to wait can cause a lot of impatience and frustration.
There is so much going into every single adoption your adoption agency is working on. Longer wait times are to be expected, but that doesn’t always make that time easy for everyone.
Let’s talk about what your adoption professional is doing in this time and what your family, friends, and you can be doing to make the wait more endurable!
Understanding Adoption Wait Times
Every adoptive family will experience a different wait time during their adoption process. Understanding adoption wait times is a great place to start.
What is an adoption wait time? Once you sign on with the adoption agency you’re working with and have been carefully vetted and approved through state and federal laws, you’ll enter the waiting time of being matched with a prospective birth mother. Your adoption professional will present your adoption profile to prospective birth mothers, who will review it and choose whether they want you to be the adoptive family for her baby.
There are many factors that can determine how long your adoption wait time will take:
- The type of adoption you choose
- The type of adoption professional you work with
- Your personal preparedness for the process
- How open you are to different adoption situations and different expectant parents
- And more
In research, experts have found that approximately 63 percent of adoptive families in the United States were matched within a year of becoming active. The remaining 37 percent had a wait time of longer than 12 months. Again, the wait time you experience is based on many factors.
Yes, the wait time can be a very short time or a long time. But, to get through this time, there are several things you, your friends, and your family can be doing to prepare and stay calm while your adoption professional does their best.
What Your Adoption Professional is Doing
As you continue through your adoption wait time, it can be easy to feel frustrated with your adoption professional – you feel like they’re not doing enough to get your profile to prospective birth mothers, that they’re not taking your adoption seriously, etc.
First things first – know and understand all of that is false. Your adoption professional cares deeply about helping you through your adoption from beginning to end, and every small detail in between. What you may not think about when you’re frustrated (which is understandable) is that your adoption professional is doing so much work for you behind the scenes. They’re working on:
- Daily outreach to more pregnant women considering adoption
- Advertising with their adoption agency to help get the word out to more pregnant women
- Networking with other adoption professionals who are working with different prospective birth mothers than those your agency is working with
- Balancing their adoption cases with other adoptive families they’re helping, which helps ensure more accurate wait time estimates
- And more
Never think that your adoption professional is ignoring you or not working hard enough on your case. They are doing all that they can with what they have available to them, so your patience is appreciated.
How Your Family and Friends Can Help
During your adoption wait time, it’s important to have a support system for you to lean on and ask for help when needed. But, when your family and/or friends feel a little lost for what they can do to help, suggest these ideas:
- Help share your profile with others to get your and your information out there to reach other expectant mothers who are considering adoption
- Help with any home preparations you may need to work on to make sure your home is ready for a new child
- Listening to you while you talk about what’s going on in your adoption process (we all need a healthy venting session or just time to update friends and family)
- Giving you and/or your partner space when you’re struggling through those tough days of the adoption
- Reading up on the adoption process to better understand all of the steps so they can help reassure you during the wait time
- And more
While it’s most important for you and your partner to be knowledgeable on and understand your adoption and its process, it’s can be incredibly helpful to have your family and friends read up on adoption and all it entails.
What You Can Do While You’re Waiting
It’s easy to get anxious, restless, and even frustrated when you’re facing a long wait time for your adoption. Every adoption journey can be stressful and lengthy, but that doesn’t mean you should waste that time being upset or complaining about the process.
As the adoptive parent, how you spend your wait time is the most crucial. If you’re a first-time parent, there are many steps you can take to prepare yourself and your home for your baby. Even if you have previous experience as a parent with other children in your family, the adoption journey is a lot different than if you’ve raised biological children.
The most important thing you can do while you’re waiting is taking care of yourself. You can do this by:
- Finding doctors and pediatricians
- Preparing your home for a child
- Figuring out your employer’s policy on adoption leave
- Reading child development and parenting books
- Pampering yourself
- And more
If you are going through an international adoption, there are some extra important steps you can take to prepare for your child:
- Getting any required immunizations
- Learning your child’s birth language as much as possible
- Arranging childcare for the children you will be leaving at home when you travel
- Buying gifts for your child’s caregiver and children in the orphanage, or your child’s other foster siblings
- Cooking and freezing meals for the first weeks back home
- And more
Emotions run high during an adoption journey for adoptive parents, especially during the waiting period. Instead of getting frustrated with others, spend your time taking the necessary and proper action to prepare for a new baby or older child. This time is yours to use, so use it wisely to be ready when the day comes.
No matter how short or how long your adoption wait time is, there is plenty for you to know and do during that time. While your adoption professional is working to share your profile with many prospective birth mothers, you, your family, and your friends can be using this time to prepare and learn what lies ahead once your baby comes home.
Use this time you have available to you as you need, and talk with your adoption professional about any questions you may have.