So, now you know what we think you should do, now let’s hear what we think you shouldn’t do. Let’s face it, waiting makes you crazy. Some of us were crazy to begin with, and this just focuses the crazy. Others were not crazy (or thought they weren’t anyway) and the wait brings out the crazy they never knew was there.
Unfortunately, particularly for people who never knew how grueling the wait can be, there are those things that you think might be helpful that actually will make it worse. I’ll address the major one from a professional point of view and include a few others as well.
The big one you think will help you settle and actually will ruin your life – asking to be notified every time your profile is shown or checking in with your adoption professional obsessively. Read it again. Note that I did not say never check in, or that you should never know if you are being shown. However, if you hire someone to help you network/advertise/provide matching services, there is some element of trusting that decision and your ability to hire solid professionals. Trust me when I say if you knew every time we sent out your profile, directed someone to the Waiting Family page on our website, talked you up on the phone to someone who seemed like a good match, you would be a complete wreck. Not every prospective birth parent will pick a family right away, not every one will pick period – some choose to use another adoption professional, or parent their child instead. Guess what – that’s totally fine. Just because you are waiting to adopt and they are considering it does not mean every situation is a perfect match for you. But if you knew every time, you would start to wonder what was wrong with you or your profile and it just spirals down into obsessive profile changes or general depression about adoption in general. So how do you balance not being obsessive about knowing every detail about every situation you’ve ever had the possibility of being considered for and just not knowing anything ever including whether the people you hired are actually doing their job? First, do your homework when choosing an adoption professional. Second, check in occasionally – say quarterly, with your rep or social worker to see if there is any feedback from prospective birth parents on your profile and how the agency is doing in general. All agencies have slow times, so don’t freak out if you haven’t been shown. Sometimes you can go 2 months without being shown and then get shown 3 times in one month. It is not an exact science, but make sure you know what your adoption professional’s averages are. Third, keep your agency aware of your situation – always notify them with any changes in your life or if you will be gone on vacation give updated contact info. Below are some more general Don’ts while you wait.
- Don’t panic. It will happen, but panicking about when or how won’t do anyone any good.
- Don’t look up every photolisting, every professional situation posting, every adoption network site for posted situations needing adoptive families. Again, it will make you crazy.
- Don’t look longingly at baby magazines or decorate your nursery if it will make things worse. Buy one item occasionally, but decorating the whole nursery and then staring at it will only make it harder.
- Don’t play the what-if game. You can’t erase your past, you can’t control your infertility, and you can’t force a birth mother to pick you. You can still have a family through the miracle of adoption.