A friend called to tell me she was pregnant. I was genuinely excited for her. I went to the store and bought her a cute, ‘You’re Expecting’ card.
As I was looking at all the cards, it hit me. This would be one more thing that 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 that would work for someone like me.
Things are a little different when you’re adopting. There are no ‘you’re expecting cards,’ no baby shower before the baby is born, no hyper excitement that seems to happen when someone announces they are pregnant.
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 all that, so if you’re waiting to adopt, let me just say…
Waiting for your new arrival is often the hardest part because you never know when it’s going to happen. Here’s some advice that I wish someone would’ve given me when we were waiting…
- Have fun preparing for your baby. If you’re adopting, share that excitement with those that are closest to you. If your friends or family mention hosting a baby shower for you even before (especially before) you’ve been chosen, and you feel up for it, DO IT! You’re 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 vs a baby in specific. We learned this one the hard way. We were chosen by a birth mother that was having a boy. We bought a few outfits, toys, and blankets just for him. After bringing home this beautiful baby boy, his birth mom had a change of heart. Even though we knew it could happen, I’m not going to lie, it was devastating. We packed up his bag with everything we had bought specifically for him and gave it to his birth mom. After all, it was his stuff. Only the things we bought for a baby in general, we felt we could save for our baby that would one day come.
4. 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 the crib; bedding and all. We bought a dresser that coordinated with the crib and a few decor pieces to go in the baby’s room. 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. You can always close the door if looking at the baby’s room bothers you during the wait. There were times when I did just that.
5. 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.
6. Research the baby gear you want and create a baby 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 order it online or go pick up what you need from of your registry.
We learned this one the hard way too. The first car seat we bought at a garage sale expired. I didn’t even know those things had expiration dates until a friend pointed it out. The second car seat we bought was at 11:00 pm 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.”
7. 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 and Medicaid since the baby may not be on your insurance until the adoption is finalized.
8. Buy baby laundry detergent and a diaper bag.
9. Buy two “coming home outfits” that are either gender-neutral or two baby girl and two baby boy outfits. Size: newborn
10. Buy one gender-neutral, warm, baby blanket and one gender-neutral, lightweight, baby blanket. If you’re adopting, you never know what season it’ll be when your baby is born.
11. Wash outfits and baby blankets in the baby laundry detergent and place them in zip lock bags in the diaper bag. Put the diaper bag in the “baby’s room.” This way, if you get the call, you can quickly grab it. Don’t worry too much about bottles, diapers, or wipes. The hospital will provide some of that for you and those are easy items to pick up.
12. Pack a small overnight bag for yourself and your spouse with basic necessities. Be sure to include pajamas, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and travel-sized toiletries: toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc… Put this bag next to the diaper bag in the baby’s room.
We learned this lesson the hard way too. The hospital put us in a room the night our daughter was born. We were over an hour from home with nothing but the clothes on our backs. We had to leave the hospital and run to the nearest store for necessities.
With our first adoption, the wait was long, almost a full two years, before we got the call from the hospital with our first daughter. The birth mother had already given birth that morning. 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.