Adoption has been an amazing gift in our lives. If you or someone you know has gone through the adoption process or if you are in the midst of it, you know that it isn’t always easy. There are many moving parts, almost all of which you have absolutely NO CONTROL over. If you are someone (like me) who likes to control and organize every aspect of your life, the adoption process could potentially leave you gray or without any hair at all!
The adoption process will be less stressful for you, fellow control freak, if you enter into it knowing you’ll have to relinquish the reins during much of the crazy ride and instead embrace the few small pieces you can control.
1.) Understand that you cannot control birthparents or their decisions.
You cannot control who picks you to be the forever family for their baby. You cannot control when you get matched. You have no control over a birthmother who changes her mind and decides to parent and you have no control over birthfather situations. When you are matched, you have no control over a birthmother’s hospital plan or any last minute changes she makes to it!
If you go into the adoption process thinking you are going to control birthparents, you will come off pushy and demanding and that will not make a good first impression. It’s better to take a deep breath, be yourself, and lean on your agency for guidance and communication with birthparents. After that all you can do is pray for your future baby and his or her birthparents. You can pray for their safety and that birthmom makes wise decisions during her pregnancy. You can pray for the baby’s protection and that you are united soon!
2.) When first embarking on your adoption journey, relish the parts of the adoption process that you CAN CONTROL.
The good news is that there are pieces of the process that you CAN CONTROL! You get to select the adoption agency you want to work with. You determine how quickly you complete your paperwork and home study materials. You define what types of birthparents and/or children you open to. You get to customize your birthparent letter and portfolio. If being in control brings you peace and comfort, I suggest you rock out these pieces and control the heck out of them!
3.) Talk to your agency about what to expect during the wait!
As a control freak, excellent communication and updates from my agencies on progress is huge. The reality is that you are probably not going to get weekly or even monthly updates from your agency (there may be exceptions). Adoption agencies are busy, out there working with potential birthmoms and that’s exactly where we want them putting their time and effort! They do not have staffing or time to keep everyone on their wait list updated on their every move. Frankly, we probably wouldn’t want to know their every move, because they are likely graciously sparing us from the emotional rollercoaster they deal with on a daily basis. You can however set communication expectations with your agency. You can select an agency that welcomes you calling in occasionally to talk with them, get updates, and express your antsy-ness during the wait. Both of our agencies send monthly emails to everyone on their waitlist. The emails honestly never say much, except that they are working hard for us, but just getting those emails makes me feel connected and like things are moving.
4.) Get prepared for when you do receive “the call!”
While you have no control over when you receive “the call,” you can have control over how prepared you’ll be when you receive it. While you are waiting, you can get the nursery and baby supplies ready. While we were waiting for our first child, I felt like there was a fine line between being prepared for baby and driving myself nuts. I wasn’t sure I wanted to walk by a fully stocked, empty nursery every day, but I knew I wanted something ready! We decided to paint the room, set-up a crib, and get a changing table. We also stocked a “GO” diaper bag with some basic supplies. We kept it in the closet, but knew we could grab it when we got “the call.” You might feel secure having even more done in the nursery; it is really personal preference.
You can also control your travel plans if you have to travel to pick-up baby. Start discussing now if you will drive or fly. Look up flight costs and what airport you will fly into. Get your packing list ready!
5.) You Can Control Your Attitude!
You can either wait around doing nothing and drive yourself crazy or you can keep busy and enjoy the life you’ve been blessed with now. Get yourself together if you aren’t! This baby will not finally make you whole; you need to already be whole before baby arrives, so you can be the parent he or she deserves.
You have no control over when you will be matched, but rather than waiting with anxiety, you can begin to pray for your child and your child’s birthparents.
Life will change dramatically when baby comes. I strongly suggest planning a getaway or trip with your spouse; when your miracle arrives, it might be quite awhile before your next vacation. Also, you might want to consider getting trip insurance (“cancel for any reason” insurance) if it’s a major trip, because planning a trip pretty much ensures you’ll get “the call!” Heehee.
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Control freak friends, I suggest rocking out the parts of the adoption journey that you can and just letting go of the rest! Most of it isn’t in your hands and trying to hang on to it will make you very unhappy…and you want to be happy and at peace when your little one finally arrives. Give it to God; he won’t make a mistake; he already knows exactly which little one is yours!
God bless your journey.
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