Preparing yourself mentally for the adoption journey is no small task. Adoption is complex, unique, and beautiful all at the same time. Taking the time to set yourself up for success in what could be a long journey is just as important as the home study. Here are some tips that helped me mentally prepare.

1. Plan to celebrate the small victories.

I love to plan and prepare and plan again. Building your family through adoption isn’t on a linear timeline. Sometimes you will be really close to bringing your child home and without warning, you will be back at square one. It’s a roller coaster. Celebrate the little things you can control. Things like getting your blood work complete or finishing your fingerprints are all really important tasks that you can control. Celebrating these little victories will put more gas in your tank for when the things you cannot control come back around. When we accomplish these things, we go out to lunch or spend some time as a family at a park we’ve never been to, or get ice cream. You lose a lot of privacy and control on the adoption journey. It’s easy to get lost in it. Take a big breath and celebrate a little. It will really help create some balance in the journey.

2. Find a friend.

Everything’s better with a friend. Surround yourself with people who are on a similar journey. Adoption is different. It’s an experience all its own. It can be a little bit isolating. Finding an adoption buddy will make all the difference when things get tough, long, or even funny.  Another benefit from finding these friends now is that your children will also have a circle of families that look like yours to grow up around.

3. Make a new goal.

Creating a space for yourself to think about something other than adoption is priceless. Way back when, I used to think that after the home study, when you were really in the wait, you would have days that you didn’t think about it… not the case. You will never forget that you are in the process of building your family through adoption. You can, however, give yourself a break. It is also really nice to have something other than adoption going on in your life to talk about with your friends and family.

Chris and I ran. We ran marathons because that was easier than the wait. I really think that was one of our best decisions during our adoption journey. When I look back at that first year, I have really happy things to remember and talk about along with the roller coaster of adoption.

The most important thing is to remember that by taking care of yourself, you will be taking care of your family.

What are some ways that you prepare mentally for the adoption journey?

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