Adoption: What to Expect While You're Waiting to Adopt

Stage Two: Who Will This Child Be?
The second trimester of your expectancy resembles a physical pregnancy's: You imagine LIFE. You don't grow a belly, rather a mound of paperwork. You're through with doctors poking at your body, but social workers poke around your home. No more research into medical miracles; now it's finding how to build your family. You start to imagine what kind of parent you will be. You wonder, Who will this child be?

You are moving into unknown territory, and it is natural to be filled with questions, fears and even doubts. You will be judged if your home and marriage are fit for a child, if you will be a fit parent. You will be asked about your feelings on issues that you may never before have given a second thought. You might have no idea what race your child will be, or his heritage or what she might look like. You'll probably stare at every child on the street and wonder, Will mine look like that?

You might have nightmares about your baby being born with two heads, seven toes or polka dots. You'll have to come to terms with heart-wrenching questions like, Can I parent a disabled child? What about a baby born with AIDS? A birth defect? Of all the children born in this world, which will be mine to love and raise?

Somewhere out there a child waits for you. You have taken a huge step toward that child; now feel the movement in the universe that will connect you.

Stage Three: The Waiting Game
Try to think of this stage as your last hurrah to prepare for the moment when you will get that phone call, when the agency or attorney will match you, when the birth mother will go into labor. IT WILL HAPPEN.

Compose a letter to your waiting child during this time. If you have little ones, encourage them to write to their future sibling. Ask your parents also to write to their coming grandchild.

Welcome the child into your life and family before s/he arrives, just as you would if you carried her in your womb. Throw yourself a baby shower. Ready your home for your new bundle. Buy diapers, sprinkle baby powder around the room, wash some baby clothes with extra gentle soap. Do whatever it takes to make it feel real.

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