We’re approved! Now what?

How you can make the waiting game productive.

Kenna Shumway May 21, 2014
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Let’s start off with a round of high fives! You’ve made it through the stacks of paper work, the questions, interviews, profile making, and generally anxiety-inducing process of being approved to adopt. I’m sure you’ve checked your profile at least 700 times looking for errors and making little tweaks here and there. In fact, along with the high fives, grab yourself a pint of ice cream. You deserve it. Now your profile is live! The culmination of your hard work and dedication. Up until now, you’ve had deadlines, papers to collect, and phone calls to make. However, that’s all done so, now what?

You wait.

This can weigh heavy on your shoulders. After my husband and I were approved to adopt, I felt more anxious than ever before. I believe this is because the application process takes so much time and effort– I was constantly finishing tasks that moved us closer to approval. Now nothing else was required of me except for patience. After years of waiting to become a mother already under my belt, I figured I would be just fine, but truth be told, after a few days of having a live profile, I was going batty!

To combat the anxiety and feelings of a complete lack of control, I decided to make goals that would help bring back a sense of control. I couldn’t control how long we would wait, whether a prospective birth mother looked at our profile, or being chosen to parent. I could, however, control what I did with that time as it was going to pass anyway. So I put on my big girl pants and made a list of goals.

My first set of goals had to do with how I could increase our exposure and help find our child. Having a live profile is awesome, but there are other things you can do to help the process along. The waiting is a lot less tedious when you can feel productive during the wait. So I dove right in. I created pass-along cards and made a goal to hand out five a day. I made a signature for my emails with our profile website included, urging people to pass it on. I spoke openly about our hope to adopt with family and friends, also encouraging them to be open as well and pass our information along if they felt inclined. I created an adoption blog, updating it with photos and posts about what was going on in our life while we waited. In my efforts to get our information out to anyone and everyone, I came in contact with so many amazing individuals within the adoption community. Being proactive and making goals that coincided with my goal to become a mother kept me positive and hopeful.

My husband, Josh, and I took advantage of the time we had together while we waited to become parents. we kept each other from being too serious about it all!

My husband, Josh, and I took advantage of the time we had together while we waited to become parents. We kept each other from being too serious about it all!

My second set of goals were aimed and bettering myself. Against my better judgment, I signed up for a half marathon and started training for it daily. Let me add that I hadn’t worked out in years, so this was a huge goal that would require a lot from me. Every day after work, I would head straight to the gym and claim my favorite treadmill that sat on the back row. At first I cursed myself because I walked away from the gym every night an out-of-breath, overweight, sad-looking lobster. I kept at it, though, and while some crazy circumstances thwarted my participation in the half marathon, I was able to lose weight and gain self confidence.

During this time, I also made a goal to build up my photography business, make weekly meal plans (my husband loved this one), put 100% effort into work daily, enjoy life with my husband, and really focus on being the best version of Kenna I could be. It sounds so corny, but it all truthfulness these goals prepared me for things I would end up experiencing with adoption.

After I committed to run a half marathon, I rewarded myself with a new pair of running shoes.

After I committed to run a half marathon, I rewarded myself with a new pair of running shoes.

These are just a few of the goals I chose, and the options are endless! The waiting game is hard and full of “what ifs” that can keep you up at night. Stepping into the unknown and letting yourself be vulnerable can leave you feeling unsure, and I hope I’ve tossed out some ideas that can help temper the anxiety of waiting.

What have you done to keep yourself busy during this time? Please leave a comment and share what helps you stay calm and hopeful while waiting to become parents!

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Kenna Shumway

Wife. Adoptive mom. Writer. Photographer. Endometriosis survivor, infertility warrior & adoption advocate. Rock star on weekends. Currently calls Ohio home with her pharmacist husband and their ginger son. Read more from her on her blog.

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