I have had a lot of practice waiting. My husband and I waited through three long years of inability to conceive naturally, followed by three years of failed infertility treatments, and two years of the adoption process. Every month was painfully slow and left us feeling overwhelmed.

With all of this practice, one might think that I would have become a patient person. This is not the case. Waiting is still one of my least favorite activities. It is easy for the waiting game to overtake your time and thoughts. But waiting doesn’t have to be the worst part of the process. There are ways to make the wait a little more worthwhile.

1. Connect with adoption groups. Connecting with others who are in a similar situation can give you a sounding board of people who understand the wait firsthand. Many groups offer service activities and educational opportunities. This helps to make your time well spent, make new friends, and develop fond memories while you wait. These connections can continue long after placement and offer strong friendships for your child as well.

2. Enjoy yourself. The wait will not last forever. I reassured myself many times about the wait. Infertility treatment was out of my control. It would either work or not work, but adoption felt like a matter of time. I didn’t know when it would happen, but I finally knew how. The waiting time is unpredictable. You may not have as much time as you think. Don’t forget that some hobbies and interests will be more difficult after adoption, and you can use this time to enjoy that part of your life. Travel. Have an adventure. Even simple hobbies like reading or crafts are likely to have a few obstacles after placement. Even if you are waiting to adopt an older child, a “babymoon” may be just what you need to make the most out of this time.

3. Share your journey with others. With social media, sharing your journey is easier than ever. You can offer support to others who are undergoing similar circumstances. Whether you can offer support through infertility or building an adoption profile—your experience is worthwhile to others. Many can find strength through your insight. It can also be therapeutic to process your own thoughts through the adoption process. Through journaling or blogging, you will keep a record of your experiences. This is something you can share with your friends and family to help increase understanding.

4. Be an adoption advocate. Unfortunately, not everyone has a positive perception of adoption. You will come across those who either don’t understand the process or who have associated negativity with adoption. As a mother of a child who was adopted, I want my son to love his adoption story. I hope that others will support him and see our story with all of its love and beauty. Where to start? Speak openly about adoption. Become familiar with resources in your community. Start a tradition. Learn positive adoption language and share what you have learned with others. Help your local library set up an adoption book display. Help to set up a birth mother’s day celebration dinner. Even if you can only reach out to your own friends and family, you can make a difference in the adoption world that you and your child will join.

What has helped you to survive the wait? Please share your advice in the comments!

If you’re ready to connect with an adoption professional and begin your adoption journey, click here.