We adopted our son as a newborn through Catholic Charities. He’s now three years old. I remember the waiting period well. It was stressful. Waiting to be matched with a birth mother is hard. For me though, the time between being matched and waiting for the birth of the baby was much harder.

The key to staying sane while waiting to be matched is being productive—not thinking too much about it and being present and productive in your life. Some might call “busyness” a good thing. Busy, though, doesn’t always mean productive. When your mind is active and you are producing good things in your life, whether it be endorphins from a good workout or money from a job, you aren’t thinking and stressing over adoption.

This is also a good thing to remember after you are matched, but realistically, it’s downright impossible to not think about it. I’m not even going to tell you to not think about it because you will. You just have to get through it. A baby is coming. He might be yours…or he might not. You can drive yourself crazy with worry and uncertainty during this time. I pretty much did. I wanted to get things done. Like creating a nursery. Then I’d say how stupid I’d feel if I had a full nursery and no baby for it if a birth mother changed her mind. So I’d just sit, paralyzed in worry, literally not knowing what to do with myself. I cried. I prayed. I did some minimal baby shopping. The necessities are good to have: changing table, one box of diapers, one box of wipes.

Once you’re matched, there’s a new person in the picture. I’d worry over everything I said in meetings with the birth mother. I’d drive our social worker crazy with questions. Of course, she was gracious to answer all of them. If someone had offered me a magic sleeping pill to take for two months before our son was born, I would have taken it. That was how hard it was. However, despite all my stress and worry, it’s important to point out that this was a really hard time for our child’s birth mother too.

After all the worry, we brought our son home. At the ten day mark, he was officially ours. It was worth it. We prayed that everything would work out for all involved and that our son’s birth mother would be happy with her decision. We wanted the adoption to work out well for everyone and looked forward to having visits with our child’s birth mom. She is a living angel to us, and we love her. I tried to think about how lucky we were to have her choose us. Thinking about those good things helped.

There was one way to get myself out of worry, and that was clinging to “hopeful anticipation.” We are pursuing a second adoption now, and I hope I will be able to handle all my feelings better than the last time. I have been through the process before, but all adoptions are different. I shouldn’t expect anything to be exactly the same. To all you waiting adoptive mamas, stay strong!

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