Please note: The information and suggestions in the following article may be most helpful to those waiting to be matched in a domestic infant adoption situation. If you are looking for ideas or tips most closely related to your specific family situation, please contact our Resource Team. We would be happy to help! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 414-475-1246.
Adoption is an incredibly exciting step towards growing a family but can be a daunting process. Once you’ve completed the first big steps, like tackling in-depth paperwork and a thorough home study, you’ll probably find yourself in a waiting period. This can be incredibly nerve-wracking, as it may seem like you’ve lost momentum now that everything has come to a halt.
This is just a part of the process, so try to take advantage of this waiting period to mentally and physically prepare for your new child. Here are some of our best ideas on what to do during an adoption waiting period!
- Read Up and Have Important Conversations
If you’re welcoming a new child into your life, you’ll want to be as prepared as possible. Of course, there are going to be lessons you have to learn along the way, but reading about other adoption stories and how to navigate this new chapter is very beneficial. Pick up some adoption books, read articles online, take a class or webinar, or have conversations with your significant other to make sure you’re a united front when you start parenting. During this time, you may also want to choose a pediatrician and explore adoption leave policies with your employer.
Caring for a newborn baby is vastly different than parenting a teenager, so make sure that you’re informed according to the age of your new child. In addition, each adoptee will come with their own challenges according to their past experiences and background; many children deal with grief, loss, or trauma from what came before. Make conscious efforts to welcome them with open arms and maintain their cultural identity throughout the course of their childhood and beyond.
- Decorating and Preparing Your Home
An adoption waiting period can give you time to decorate and make small adjustments within the home to ensure that it’s child-proofed and organized efficiently. Giving your child a space of their own as they grow up will build trust and provide a comfortable place to emote.
Adjusting or Expanding Your Living Space
You may want to consider expanding your home to accommodate the addition of a new child. If you’re renting an apartment and want to move into a house to raise your child, consider getting a pre-approved mortgage to kickstart the process and give you a better idea about what you can afford. A sizeable yard, good school district, and extra bedrooms are great must-haves when expanding your family and determining a personal home-buying checklist.
There may be ways that you can stretch the space in your home with small renovations or better organization methods. You could add a stylish shed on your property to act as a home office or hangout space to free up an area inside. You can also consider expanding your existing space with more major renovations like an addition.
Decorating the Kid’s Room
The decision of whether to decorate and prepare a nursery or children’s room is completely up to you during this time. This can be one of the most joyous parts of preparing for a new child, especially when everything comes together. On the other hand, it may be an extremely difficult and emotional step, as many parents have struggled with fertility issues before starting the adoption process. Check in with yourself and acknowledge what is right for you, because waiting until your adoption is finalized to pull together a children’s room is completely normal as well!
Baby-Proofing Your House
When preparing for any baby or younger child, you should take precautions within your home to protect them from potential dangers. Getting one or two baby gates to keep the child away from staircases and other dangerous parts of the home is a great investment. Make sure things are out of reach for the child and not in a low area of the room. In the laundry room, put detergents and cleaning supplies on high shelves and make sure small choking hazards are organized and out of site.
In the kitchen, try to put knives on the countertop and sharp kitchen tools in high drawers. You can purchase cabinet and drawer safety locks that will prevent your child from getting into anything dangerous. Make sure that you put plug covers on the outlets that are not in use and opt for cordless blinds or wind up low-hanging blind cords. Determine which pieces of furniture in your home have sharp corners and need bumper guards. If you have furniture that may tip over, consider using anchors to secure these to the wall.
- Clean and Get Organized
If you’re preparing to bring a baby home, make room in your cabinets for baby formula and bottles. You may also want to meal prep and stock up on household items before the baby comes to save yourself some time and effort. There are many supplies that you can bulk buy before officially becoming a parent in order to save some money and avoid constantly trekking to stores with a newborn.
If you have a nursery for the baby ready, add some bins in the closet space for overflow diaper supplies and baby wipes. To this point, make sure you have spaces throughout the house to change the baby, and diapers and other supplies stashed alongside! If you’re extra organized, you can separate and label the baby’s clothes by age and size so that you have them on hand as they grow. Last but not least, make sure to install night lights throughout the house so that you can safely and subtly reach your baby during the night without turning on any harsh overhead lighting.
If you’re preparing to bring an older child home, clear out some cabinet space for snacks and quick meals. It’s true what they say about teenagers growing fast and having quite the appetite. It may be worth it to familiarize yourself with meal prepping during this period, especially if you’re a working parent. Sticking to a routine when it comes to cleaning and organizing the kitchen will instill good habits in your new children as well.
- Practice Self-Care and Reflection
Aside from everything else, you should take this time to practice some serious self-care and pursue your hobbies. This is a very stressful time so try to find relief in your favorite activities, like exercising, painting, or traveling. Once a child comes into your life, you’ll have to dedicate so much of your time to their care, happiness, and health so you should utilize this time to relax and take care of yourself.
Remember to give yourself grace when your new child comes into your life, as every parent has to grow and learn in their own way. Taking steps to be a positive force for your child and supporting them through thick and thin is the best way to help them grow strong and happy.