For this week’s Tuesday’s Trials I am going to discuss something almost all prospective adoptive parents face – getting through the wait. You’ve decided to grow your family through adoption. You have been matched with an expectant mom. Now, your job is to maintain your sanity during one of the most difficult periods in adoption.
This wait is like nothing I have ever experienced so I cannot give it a fair comparison. In my heart, I desperately wanted to cling to the hope that I was finally going to be a mother, but there was no escaping the voice in my head that reminded me that this expectant mom could change her mind about the adoption plan at any moment so I would try to temper my hope with reality. Every single day inched by, just trying to survive until the due date where we would finally know the verdict about whether our dreams were really coming true.
I quickly realized I had to come up with some tactics to get through this time period or else the weight of it all would crush me. Hopefully, in sharing what helped me through this, I can give you some ideas that will make your wait easier.
For me, the most helpful tactic was to set another goal to focus my energy on. Prior to my experience with endometriosis, I hated running, but once the pain made just walking difficult, I swore I would never take running for granted again if I was able to get back to that point in my life.
During our first match, I decided to use that inspiration to set a goal for myself- Complete a 5K race. It was not a huge goal, but starting from a place where it was difficult for me to walk, let alone run 3.1 miles it gave me weekly incentives. With each week that crawled by, I could focus my energy on the next set of workouts. DH and I signed up for a race that was after the expectant mom’s due date. It was a goal that I would have happily not completed if we became parents instead, but when the match fell through, I still had my weekly workouts to focus on and a race to complete. Plus, running is a great stress reliever!
Another big help was scheduling a vacation. During our second match, DH and I decided that it would be nice to take one last vacation as a family of two. We scheduled it for three months prior to the due date so it would not come close to being compromised if the baby was born premature. Counting down the weeks until vacation was much nicer than counting down the weeks to the due date. I allocated all baby worries until after vacation. I kept telling myself, “Get things ready for vacation and then worry about getting ready for the baby once we get home.” Plus, it really helped to take time to reconnect with my hubby before the craziness of parenthood begun.
Our third match corresponded with my brother and SIL being pregnant with triplets. Although this situation was immensely stressful as we waited to see if our expectant mom would follow through on her adoption plan and if all three triplets would make a healthy entrance into this world, it provided a unique distraction. Finding volunteer work greatly helped pass the time. My SIL was put on bed rest around 5 months along. They also had 3 and 5 year old boys to take care of. Each Friday, I cooked a meal and took it down to them where we ate and helped with the boys. It gave me a week to week thing to work on that made me realize that there was more to life than just holding on until our expectant mom’s due date.
Being caught in the limbo of waiting to see if your dreams are going to be realized or your heart is going to be crushed is an awful place to be. It is a timeframe where you are exceedingly aware how little control you have over the situation. It can easily consume you. Finding something to invest your energy in can empower you, give you distraction and help you see that there is more going on in life than whether or not you will become parents.
Are there other tactics that you have found helpful?