What To Do While You Are Waiting to Adopt 

Now that you have selected an adoption agency or attorney and completed your home study and paper work, what do you do while you wait to adopt?

Keep in mind that if you are waiting to adopt, you are an expectant parent. And you do need some time to prepare and learn.

Following is a list of some suggestions. Some of these ideas are also fun and will help you to endure the waiting time. Think about which of these suggestions you would like to use. You may also come up with some other good ideas yourself.

 The IAC Center recommends that you take some time to:

  1. Deal with some of your emotions. Get Support

Becoming a parent through adoption is an emotional experience.  Keep in mind that is it very difficult for friends and family to understand what you have been through and what you are going through, unless they have been through it themselves.   Take some time to think about what brought you to this point in your journey.  What losses and other complex emotions did you experience? What are you feeling now?  How does all of this effect your current life or your sense of yourself? Try to process some of these complex emotions before you bring your baby home.


Join a pre-adoptive support group
Identify where you are on the Grief Continuum and take time to do some healing.
Learn about the grief process and get counseling if you feel stuck
Develop some resiliency skills to help you wait and for life!
Shift your mindset from getting a baby to preparing to be a parent for a lifetime.
Educate family and friends about adoption.
A good book to share is “In on it” by Elisabeth O’Toole
Think about how you will deal with the holidays this year
  1. Get (even more) educated than you already are

It is likely you had to take some adoption education courses or read a book or two during the Home Study process.  This is just a drop in the bucket of adoption education.  There are endless resources out there.


Read books about adoption from all three triad members perspectives
Subscribe to Adoptive Families Magazine
Attend a workshop or an adoption conference
Learn about how children understand adoption at different ages and stages of development.
Think about how you will feel talking to your child about adoption
Learn about aspects of adoption you are interested in:-        open adoption-        transracial adoption

–        communicating with birth parents

–        older child adoption

–        Creating a memory book or Life Book for your child

Call or visit adoptive parents and families
Study the language/culture/arts and food of your future child’s heritage
Study travel books and history of the country where your child will be born if you are adopting internationally
  1. Prepare for Parenting.

Although it may feel like becoming a parent may never happen; keep in mind that if you use a legitimate provider and stick with the process – it will!  Think and act like an expectant parent, because that is what you are if you are waiting to adopt.


Imagine adoption timelines: Ideal, Instant Baby situation, in a month, etc.
Attend an IAC Center Baby Care for Adoptive Parents Class; or a hospital baby care class if you are comfortable in that setting
Research baby supplies
Register at the store
Learn about parenting styles and techniques
Select a pediatrician and have a consultation before your baby is born
Consider child care options that will work for your family
Think about how you will handle your job – telling them about the adoption and taking time off
Think about how you will balance work and parenting
Discuss baby names
Get the house/room ready
Learn about hospital issues in adoption. How is it handled, how you can participate, and handling emotions, decisions, gifts, etc
Create a journal to record your feelings during the wait and any information you learn from the birth parents. Your child will treasure this information.
  1. Take care of yourself.

Becoming a parent through adoption has the potential to be very emotional and stressful.  Make sure you are taking time to enjoy yourself and have fun!


Exercise. Eat healthy
Find time to relax or meditate.
Nurture your relationship(s) before the baby comes
Learn a new skill you have always wanted to learn or something that you think will help you.
Express yourself in writing, art, music, movement, conversation.
Take a vacation
Make a list of 10 things you would enjoy without a child.  Do as many as you can!
Make a list of 10 things you want to get done before your child arrives.  Do as many as you can because your adoption will work out if you stick with the process and are using a legitimate provider. Once your child is here you will be too busy!


IAC Center
Joni S. Mantell, LCSW, Director



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Based in Pennington, NJ