Like all new parents, when we found out we were having a boy, we discussed how we might decorate our son’s room. I spent hours on Pinterest looking at different designs. My husband trolled Etsy looking at various wall decorations. We wanted something he could grow into. Nothing that was “too baby.” After much deliberation, we decided on an outer space theme featuring monkeys and our son’s name. I was as excited as any new mother could be.

Then I froze. My husband came home one afternoon to find me sitting in our spare bedroom staring at a canister from Etsy filled with children’s wall decorations. We had the LOA (Letter of Acceptance) from China, but we had not been issued Travel Approval. In truth, we were still waiting on our I-800 Provisional Approval. What if we decorated our son’s room only to face a change in law or policy or a paperwork fluke? What if instead of weeks we were facing months upon months until we could journey to China to meet our son? In that moment, I realized again how choosing to adopt is a very different path than having biological children. Here are some ways it might be different for you, as it was for me: