Most couples, when they decide the time is right to have a child, get a nine-month waiting period. As adoptive parents, we are constantly bombarded with the more open-ended question: When? It’s frustrating enough not knowing how long, let alone having friends and family asking all the time.

My husband and I have been working with our open adoption agency in New Jersey for a year, and between the oodles of paperwork, parenting courses, and home study, it took us until this August to finally get our profile turned in. We’ve been stuck in limbo for the past three months waiting for the call. I call it limbo because to me, it’s been the hardest step of all: sitting and waiting for a birth mother to point to our profile and say, “I want them. They’re the parents for my child.”

This waiting period has been the most frustrating part for me. You see, I’m a planner. I need a date, a time, and a place. Heck, I’d even settle for a state (our baby could be born in one of six states that our agency works with, and they all have different laws regarding mothering rights). Any decisions are made more complex by not knowing when and if baby will arrive, starting with what will eventually be baby’s room.

You naturally want to decorate the room and get into that whole nesting mode, but looking at a room all prepped and ready to go without a baby in it is a bit disheartening. We were literally scared into making our guest room turn nursery when we got an emergency placement call in early August. It was only about a week after we turned in our profile when a call from a branch office of our agency called asking if we wanted to be shown in this circumstance. We had to say no because the baby had been born the day before and we literally had nothing ready.

Our first problem was that I fell in love with a crib online that was going to take two weeks to get to our house. Quickly, we ordered our crib, dresser, and changing topper, hoping now that the furniture would arrive before baby. Thankfully, the furniture came without a phone call in sight. But now we still have no baby. Our glider had us in the same predicament as it’s not due until November. Painting has to be done in advance as fumes could potentially harm the baby, but it’s still tricky because we don’t know the gender. We painted our nursery a pale green, which can go with neutral bedding.

We still haven’t taken our desk out of the nursery, but at least have a place for baby to sleep, a few outfits (as cute as babies are au natural, they do need clothes!), one pack of diapers and wipes, bottles and a sterilizer, formula, and what I call the “baby snuggie” (a sleep sack). We’ve all heard about “that woman” who isn’t even pregnant yet but still have that secret “baby box” with onesies that were just too adorable to pass up. The natural planner in me finds it hard not to want to grab everything off our registry, even knowing that we’ll eventually have a shower, but we’ve kept to using coupons to purchase just what’s on the “Emergency Placement Kit.”

It’s a tough call between planning and over planning. Adopting puts us one step back not knowing when baby is arriving, what gender baby might be arriving, or where baby is coming from. It’s another guess on how much to get in advance because a baby shower for adoptive children may not be for months after baby is placed in the home.

As our waiting game turns into a guessing game of how important is the glider, all we can do is the best we can: stagger bigger purchases and try not to go overboard. In the time dreaming about life with baby, I keep my hands and mind busy by knitting gender-neutral things and waiting for our glider and baby to arrive.