When my friend called to tell me she was pregnant, I didn’t feel jealous or resentful. I was genuinely excited for her. I went to the store to buy her a cute “You’re expecting!” card.
But as I was looking at all the cards, it hit me. This would be one more thing I would miss out on. At that time, my husband and I were hoping to adopt a baby through open adoption, and there was not one card for someone in my situation.
When I told people that we were waiting to adopt, their reaction was almost like, “Oh, I’m sorry.” There were no “You’re expecting!” cards, no baby shower before the baby was born, no fun and excitement. Just this funky hesitation and odd questions about open adoption. I hated that. I was expecting too, just in a different way. I wanted to share my excitement with my friends and family, but I felt like I couldn’t or maybe I shouldn’t.
It’s time to change that. So, if you’re waiting to adopt, let me just say… Congratulations! You’re expecting!
Waiting for your new arrival is often the hardest part, because you never know when it’s going happen. Here’s some advice that I wish someone would have given me when we were waiting:
- Have fun preparing for your baby. If you’re adopting, share that excitement with those who are closest to you. If your friends or family mention hosting a baby shower for you even before you’ve been chosen, and you feel up to it, go for it. You are expecting, you just don’t have a due date.
- There’s no such thing as jinxing things. Buying something for the baby you are hoping for is not going to stop the adoption from happening. Besides, babies need a lot of stuff starting on day one. When you could get the call at any moment, isn’t it better to be prepared rather than worrying about jinxing anything?
- Buy things for a baby in general, rather than a specific baby. We learned this one the hard way. We were chosen by an expectant mother who was having a boy. We bought a few outfits, toys, and blankets just for him. But after bringing home this beautiful baby, his mom had a change of heart. It was devastating. We packed up everything we had bought specifically for him and gave it to his mom. After all, it was his stuff. We didn’t feel we could keep it.
- Get the baby’s room ready. As soon as we were in the pool of waiting families, we got to work on setting up the baby’s room. We gave the spare bedroom a fresh coat of paint and set up a crib, dresser, and a few decor pieces. It’s silly, but I absolutely loved the matching light switch and lamp. When the room was finished, it gave me a sense of peace and hope, like it was really going to happen. If looking at the baby’s room bothers you during the wait, you can always close the door. There were certainly times when I did just that.
- Write in a journal. This journey you’re on can be a wild ride. Journaling can help you process the emotions that you are going through.
- Research the baby gear you want and create a registry. You can always go back and tweak a few things. Be sure to include a rear facing infant car seat and car seat cover. This way, if you get the call, all you have to do is click what you need from your registry. We learned this one the hard way too. We thought we’d save a little money by buying a car seat at a garage sale, but later discovered that it had expired. We bought our second car seat at 11:00 p.m. the night our daughter was born. We went with the one we thought had the cutest design. Imagine our horror a couple months later when we saw that exact same car seat with a crash test dummy flying through the air on the cover of Consumer Reports with the headline, “Worst Car Seats in Safety Test.” Then we bought our third car seat.
- Find a pediatrician. Talk to your friends and get some recommendations. Meet the pediatricians and let them know that you are hoping to adopt soon. Be sure they take your insurance as well as Medicaid, in case it takes time to get your baby on your insurance.
- Buy baby laundry detergent and a diaper bag.
- Buy two “coming home outfits” that are either gender neutral or two baby girl and two baby boy outfits. Size: newborn.
- Buy one gender neutral, warm baby blanket and one gender neutral, lightweight baby blanket. You never know what season it will be when your baby is born.
- Wash outfits and baby blankets in the baby laundry detergent and place them in Ziploc bags. Put these sealed bags in the diaper bag and place it in the “baby’s room.” When you get the call, you can quickly grab it. Don’t worry too much about bottles, diapers, or wipes. Most hospitals will provide those for you.
- Pack a small overnight bag for yourself and your spouse with basic necessities. Be sure to include pajamas, toothbrushes, hair brushes, and travel sized toiletries: toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc. Put this bag next to the diaper bag in the baby’s room so that both are ready to go. This is another lesson we learned the hard way. The night our daughter was born, the hospital generously put us in a room—but we were more than an hour from home with nothing but the clothes on our backs. We had to run out for a few necessities.
Our first adoption was long. After nearly two full years of waiting, we got a call from the hospital where our daughter’s birth mother had given birth that morning and chosen us. We had no time to prepare. We just dropped everything and ran.
Once we came home from the hospital, we were so glad we didn’t have to worry about buying a crib or trying to set up the baby’s room. We were in awe with our newborn baby girl. All we wanted to do was hold her and stare at her beautiful face, so we did.