“How long can we expect to wait,” my husband and I asked nervously during our first meeting with an adoption agency. “There’s really no way of predicting how long the adoption wait will be,” replied the director. “Some couples get matched quickly; others wait for years. One couple we have has been waiting for five years, although that’s uncommon.” My heart sank. Five years? I was already 34 years old. The clock was ticking. I couldn’t even imagine waiting that long. I needed to do something to speed up the process. I ached to hold my child in my arms as soon as possible. If you’re in the same boat, don’t despair. Here are 5 ways to help shorten your adoption wait.
1. Tell Everyone. The simplest thing you can do is spread the word that you’re planning to adopt. Tell your family, friends and coworkers. You can even send an email or letter and ask them to let you know if they hear of a potential situation. I know from personal experience, they will keep their eyes and ears open. Remember, you never know where your match will come from, so the more people involved, the better.
2. Create an Online Profile. The Internet and social media are important tools for connecting with expectant parents. Many pregnant women considering adoption search online to try and find suitable adoptive parents, so you want to be sure they can find you. We received many leads through our online adoption profile at adoption.com. Several other options are available to fit your needs and budget. When selecting a professional to create your profile, be sure to talk to others who have used them or ask your adoption agency or attorney for their recommendations.
3. Create an Adoption Business Card. Some businesses, libraries and restaurants have bulletin boards where you can post information. Consider creating a business card that simply states your desire to adopt, along with contact information and your agency’s details. Our card said: Pregnant? Considering Adoption? We want to adopt. Of course, never include your address or home phone number and be sure to ask the business first if it’s okay to post your card.
4. Get a Dedicated Email Address and/or Toll-Free Number. Expectant parents often feel more comfortable speaking to potential adoptive parents initially, rather than just calling an agency. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a separate email address solely dedicated to expectant parents. If your budget allows, you might want to consider contacting your phone company about a 1-800 number. You can have one set up that transfers calls directly to your home or cell phone without having to reveal your personal phone number. Include your email and 1-800 number on your business card, so those considering adoption have an easy way to get in touch with you.
5. Be as Open as Possible. Depending on your comfort level, you might want to consider children of various ethnicities and backgrounds, those with special needs or even an older child. In addition, try not to specify a gender, since this can significantly slow down the process. The more open you are, the better your chances of adopting sooner.
It’s up to you how much networking you’re comfortable doing, but anything you try can help. And, in case you’re wondering, we ended up waiting approximately two years before bringing our dear daughter home. It was a little longer than a pregnancy, but not too bad in the unpredictable world of adoption. Plus, like most important things in life, she was so worth the wait!
Do you have a tip for shortening the adoption wait? Please share it with us in the comments below.