Waiting is actually the hardest part. During steps one through five, you are actively doing something. Now, you’re actively doing nothing.

Private Adoption & the Wait

If you’re pursuing private domestic adoption, you may choose to network. Many professionals and adoptive parents recommend sending email or snail mail to everyone you know telling them that you’re hoping to adopt. If your state allows it, you can advertise or create pass-along cards to leave at certain places, or create an online profile or Facebook page devoted to your adoption.

Advertising laws vary dramatically from state to state. It is best to ask an attorney in your state about what, specifically, is allowed. Ask an attorney about each specific type of networking material, and whether it is allowed by your state. Networking materials include:

- Web sites

- Online profiles

- Blogs

- Facebook pages

- Pass-along cards

- Brochures

- “Dear Birth Mother” letters that you distribute

For example, creating an online profile on a site like ParentProfiles.com may not be considered advertising in some states. If you are working with an agency and create materials that direct expectant parents to contact that agency, those materials might or might not constitute advertising.

If your state does allow advertising, the question becomes, “Where do you advertise?” Believe it or not, this is actually controversial. Many adoption books and articles will tell you to advertise by leaving your materials at doctors’ offices, college campuses, and crisis pregnancy centers. Some people believe that leaving these materials in places where women may be vulnerable is unethical. It’s also worth noting that many doctors’ offices may not accept materials, for various reasons. Definitely call before you send your materials anywhere.

Foster Adoption & the Wait

If you’re pursuing foster adoption, you might browse your state’s Heart Gallery or adoption web site to find children who might be a good fit for your family. It is becoming more possible to adopt children from other counties and states. You could also use this time to take additional training and to learn more about any potential needs your children may have.

International Adoption & the Wait

If you’re pursuing international adoption, fill this time with learning more about your child-to-be’s culture. Take some language classes. Connect with adoptive parents of children from the same country. Ask them what they wished they had known when they first adopted. Keep up-to-date with the news in the country. Seek out cultural experiences.

The Wait in General

No matter what type of adoption you’re pursuing, use this time to nest and get ready for your child or children. Some people don’t want to have anything before their children arrive, for fear of staring at unused baby or child items. Some people want to get the children’s rooms ready so they don’t have to worry about it in a mad dash later. Either approach has its pros and cons. We did get each of our children’s rooms ready before their adoptions. I’m a planner, and I like to have everything set. We had all the big ticket items ready and waiting. The second time around, we were very blessed to have many friends give us boxes and bags of hand-me-down girl’s clothes. I also spent some time on the gDiaper groups on Facebook, looking for deals on used cloth.

You may also have friends or family who ask if you’d like a shower. Again, this is a personal decision. If you do choose to have a shower, the key is to remember that you are celebrating the impending arrival of some child (or children), not a specific child. Matches and referrals can fall through. Register for items that will be useful for any child, as opposed to anything personalized.

Research adoption parenting, which does differ from parenting biological children. Read books and blogs. Connect with other adoptive parents. Step outside of your comfort zone and seek out information from other members of the adoption constellation.

Also, sleep. You may never get the chance again.

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