Every adoptive parent is familiar with the ache of waiting. If your story is one of infertility (ours is), your waiting probably began long before your adoption process did. If waiting were an Olympic sport, I would award adoptive parents the gold medal.

Waiting to conceive. Waiting for your home study. Waiting to be matched. Waiting for placement. Waiting for finalization.

Today I am a mom to a precious five-year-old and two-year-old, both through adoption. I have perspective today that I did not have then, in the trenches of the long waiting. If you are the one currently in the trenches waiting for an adoption match and longing to be parents (maybe to a second or third child), then allow me to reach my hand down and pull you out for a bit so we can talk. How can we overcome the pain of waiting for an adoption match?

I have a few thoughts.

Do not put your life on hold for the “what if”
Go on that trip. Start that new hobby. Make those new friends. Live your life while you wait, without constantly worrying about “what if.”

We can be guilty of putting everything on hold while waiting for the phone call, but what sort of life is that?

An adoption match will come along at just the right time. I promise.

There is no shame in staying busy
While we were in our first adoption process and waiting to meet our first daughter’s birth mom, I started sewing and opened an Etsy shop. It kept my hands and my mind busy and occupied and gave me a fun task to accomplish. Waiting always seems to go by faster when we aren’t sitting and staring at the clock.

Plan some fun date nights with your spouse, or special events with friends. Sleep through the night and enjoy it (I mean that!). Whatever brings you joy and is life-giving, do it and enjoy!

Talk about it
Waiting for an adoption match is almost like being pregnant with no due date. You have no idea when your entire life will change, and that can feel anxious and scary. Instead of keeping your struggles to yourself, open up to a trustworthy friend. Talk about it. Talk about what is going on.

Find a support system, people who can “get it.” Rally around that community and remember you are never alone.

Remember that this is not about you
Do your best to keep a level-headed perspective and remember that this adoption process is not (entirely) about you. As you wait with anxious excitement to become a parent, someone else is experiencing a difficult and heartbreaking decision.

Adoption is one huge bundle of complexities, and this is one of the biggest—your greatest joy comes at someone else’s great expense.

Do not rush the process. For every mother who chooses to parent rather than place her child for adoption, a family is preserved. That is worthy of celebrating and supporting. There is freedom to be found in taking our eyes off our own wants and desires and focusing them on the good of someone else.

What about you? What have you found to be most helpful during seasons of long waiting?