Adopting a child: While-you-wait checklist for adoption

We may not have to cope with morning sickness or stretch marks, but passing the time waiting for our adopted children to arrive can be just as torturous. Here are some ideas -- and food for thought -- to help you survive what can often feel like an interminable wait.

Print and Go

____Sign up for a Process Pal, and get support from another adoptive parent who has been there and done that.

____Shop. Print out our handy shopping list then hit the mall or logon and order everything online.

____Visit our Baby Name Finder and come up with a short list of monikers.

____Read. Check out our listings of hundreds of books on adoption.

____Enroll in a general parenting class.

____Take a CPR course.

____If you plan to hire a nanny or use day care, start your research now.

____Review your finances. (Need more insurance? College funds?)

____Consider and discuss: Who do you want your child's guardians or godparents to be?

____Paint and decorate your child's room.

____Join an online adoption community. Print out all of the posts you send and receive and put them in your child's memory book.

____Create a Member Website for your child, containing all the vital stats on your adoption process.

____Track down and purchase copies of local and national newspapers published on your child's birthday.

____Ask your agency or facilitator for names of other adoptive families in your area and get together with them.

____Prepare a list of questions for your child's caregiver or foster mom.

____Videotape messages about your wait that you can give to your child when she reaches her 18th birthday. (Talk about all of your hopes and dreams and the process of waiting.)

____Videotape messages from your immediate family members about the joy of waiting for your child to arrive.

____Write a daily journal for your child, so she'll know what you were thinking and feeling in the months before her arrival.

____Begin researching hotels and airlines if you plan to travel to pick up your child.

____Purchase gifts for the child's foster mom, agency personnel (if applicable).

____Purchase travel videos about your child's birth country, and view them when you're feeling low.

____Sign up for a foreign language course, or purchase tapes so you can learn important phrases like "I love you" and "I am your mother." (This is especially important if you are adopting an older child.)

____Try to find popular children's videos from your child's birth country. If you live in a big city, find a radio/TV station that broadcasts in her native language. The sounds of her former homeland can be comforting.

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