I’m a bit of a control freak. I like my life to be in order, and I like to be the one who is calling the shots. As an adoptive mom, the complete opposite was what I encountered during the whole adoption process, and it taught me a lot about what being “in control” really means.

Prior to signing any papers, expectant mothers have all of the say about the future of their baby. This makes sense. They are the ones carrying the child. They are the ones who need to make the best decision for themselves and for their child. However, as a woman who so desperately wanted a child of her own, that’s a tough pill to swallow. When the decision of whether or not you will become a mom rests in someone else’s hands, how can you feel like you have any control?

The truth is, in a lot of ways, you don’t have control. You can’t control what other people do. However, you can control how you react and how you prepare your heart for becoming a mother.

Here are a few tips for keeping your life and reactions in control during the adoption wait:

1. Pray for your future child and his/her birth mother. 

With every email we received about a potential match, I would always pray for this woman to make the decision she felt was right for her life. And even though I wanted to pray that this baby would be mine to raise and love, I always prayed for what would be best for the child. It sometimes killed me to think that my family wasn’t always the best option for the child, but deep down I knew I couldn’t control the situation, I could only control my reactions.

2. Be yourself. 

I hate knowing that not everyone I meet is going to like me. I tend to lean towards people-pleasing, but that’s not what’s best for an adoption situation. Because you can’t control other people’s reactions to you, the best policy is to always be yourself and be truthful. Constantly changing who you are to be what you think other people want is a great way to completely lose control of who you are and what you want in life. By always being yourself and keeping your life and your story authentic, you gain a great deal of control over any situation. You know what you can expect from yourself, which makes it easier to control any reactions to a potential curveball thrown your way.

3. Let go of the need to control everything. 

Yes, I know this article is about how you can be in control, but the best way to be in control is to realize and understand that you can’t and won’t always be in control. The sooner you are able to let go of the need to control every single minute detail of your life, the better able you will be to see the bigger picture. When you have a bigger picture in your sights, it’s much easier to pick out the places where you need to exercise control and let other situations play out the way they will—without any meddling from you.

If it makes sense, the best way to have control is to realize you can’t always have control. And to understand that, it’s perfectly okay to sometimes let go and see where the ride takes you.