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Nesting as an Adoptive Parent

Nesting: The urge to clean, organize and otherwise prepare your home for the arrival of your baby.

Hopeful adoptive parents often wonder if their journey to parenthood will still include some of the things they’ve always dreamed about. And it’s not just the big things — the little joys of becoming a parent matter a lot, too.

The small steps in preparation for this massive change have a cumulative effect — little things compounding on top of each other to create this massive excitement and, ultimately, welcome your little one home.

Nesting is one of those things that many expectant parents, especially expectant mothers, look forward to. You might be wondering, as a hopeful adoptive parent, if you’ll nest in the same way as a biological mother.

If you’ve been looking forward to the process of preparing your home for your baby, you can absolutely do this as a hopeful adoptive parent.

Here’s how.

Tips for Nesting as a Hopeful Adoptive Parent

“Just because there is no baby in my belly doesn't mean that I don't feel the need to make a home for my kids,” wrote one hopeful adoptive parent.

Perhaps you feel the same way. When you’re a hopeful adoptive parent, you’re on a life-changing journey. Nesting can be fulfilling and exciting. Thanks to adoption, it may look a little bit different.

Instead of getting bogged down in how nesting “should” feel, focus on creative ways to prepare for your child and make the most of this period of waiting. Here are a few ideas for how to do just that:

Inward Nesting

Becoming a parent is a beautiful, joyful, life-changing experience. It’s also really hard.

You probably won’t be enjoying enough sleep, and your home is going to get a lot louder. The hours seem to fly by faster, and your mental bandwidth for your partner will probably shrink.

Inward nesting is the practice of preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for the challenges of parenting, so that you can meet those challenging head-on and experience all of the joy. This can take many forms:

  • Developing a meditative practice
  • Reading educational material on parenting
  • Beginning preemptive couples counseling
  • Forming an exercise habit
  • Tightening up the budget
  • And more

You may not find things like this in typical blogs about nesting, but that’s where the special creativity of the adoption journey comes into play. It’s undeniable that each of the ideas listed above will create a better environment to welcome your baby home.

Preparing the Nursery

Who says you have to know a due date to get the room ready? Yes, there is that risk of an extended wait (which we’ll explore more below). Still, if you have an urge to start working on the nursery, it’s okay to indulge that nesting impulse. It is your home, after all!

Educating Yourself on Adoption

“Nesting” is not confined to your physical space. It is any type of preparation for your baby.

Learning about the nuances of adoption — from early attachment theory to the best open adoption practices — prepares your home for your child just as much (if not more!) than tidying and repainting.

Unlike other nesting practices, adoption education never really ends. You can always keep learning, growing and preparing to become the best parent for your baby.

Why Some Adoptive Parents Don’t Want to Nest

Nesting as an adoptive parent can be a bit more complicated because there is no due date. That doesn’t have to stop you from taking part in this ritual of motherhood that many find hopeful and exciting, but it can create the risk of disappointment.

For some hopeful adoptive parents, the idea of nesting is too risky, because you could finish all the physical preparations only to have your wait extended. The empty nursery can become a painful sight, and the thing that was supposed to help you feel excited instead reminds you of a space still waiting to be filled.

This is a very real fear for many hopeful adoptive parents. It’s common for partners to be split on the issue — with one parent wanting to nest and the other fearful of the risk.

If this is the situation you are in, we would recommend an abundance of grace. You and your partner are on the same team. Remind each other of that. Listen to the concerns of the other, and come to a place where you can both be satisfied.

Nesting as a hopeful adoptive parent may not look exactly the same as nesting when you are pregnant. Adoption is simply a different journey than pregnancy.

Rather than see that as a negative, try to see it for what it is: A beautiful opportunity to experience a unique and life-changing journey on your way to fulfilling your dream of becoming a parent.

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