Thursday, November 02, 2006

Question for Parents: While You Wait

What are some ideas of ways that expectant parents can spend their time while they in the waiting stage of adoption (waiting for homestudy to get done, waiting for a referral or a match, waiting for visits to start, waiting for placement)?


Blogger PKP said...

READ, READ, READ. Join some e-lists that are specific to the type of adoption you are pursuing.
Educate yourself about the process and connect with other waiting parents if possible.

Once there is an identified match you can be more specific in gathering information that will help the transition.

From experience I would suggest you DO NOT go out and buy clothing, equipment and supplies until after placement or at least very close to the placement date.

If your wait will be quite lengthy consider volunteering your time somewhere there are children similar to the child(ren) you are hoping to adopt. You can make connections with parents of chidren in your potential child's age range and observe behaviors of children at that age.

If you are pursing a special needs adoption you can volunteer at a hospital, medical facility or classroom that serves children with challenges.

DON'T GIVE UP!!! The process can be long.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Try to make connections with other adoptive/foster families. Often once you met only basic requirements you can provide respite for families which is a great way to get your feet wet in fostering. Get involved in local support groups for foster and adoptive parents. These will be the shoulders you will need to cry on in the future!

6:47 PM  
Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

Bart, a pastor, and adoptive parent of 10, writes:

* Communicate with the significant others in your life about what you see to be your family priorities ... what's most important in raising a child/dren? What will you need to let go in order to care for a special needs child (e.g., high expectations, perfectionsim, desire to rescue, etc.)

* Think through a day's, a week's, a month's time as you usually know it and then envision how things will change by adding new special needs child/ren to your life.

* Read books that reinforce why you are doing what you do ... Jonathan Kozol is an author who writes extensively about society's need to care for children ... look up "orphanage" in your local library's card catalog system and read a book or two about the orphanage experience of those who are now grown.

* Take time to develop intentionally your spiritual center ... if you are attached to a community of faith, delve into the depths of your tradition's spirituality ... if you are unattached, consider a place of worship and community ... at the minimum find was to feed your own soul in this waiting time.

* Begin to develop a support system ... of those who are currently adoptive parents or of thos waiting like you ... recognize that many times adoptive parents discover that the friends and support system they have before adopting changes dramatically after they adopt.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

Amanda, mom of 17 adopted kids, reminds us:

Education, education, education!

Going to other adoptive parent's houses, support groups, reading, internet study.

Take photos of the whole thing , it makes a neat story for the children.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

Kate, adoptive mom of 6, suggests:

While you wait, get all your ducks in a row. Although the wait may seem endless, often when things finally happen, they happen very quickly. If you know you will be traveling outside the U.S., have your passport and immunizations ready. If you're adopting through a public social services agency, you will need to be currently certified for First Aid and CPR; get those classes done ahead of time, so you can hand your certification cards to the homestudy worker on her first visit; ditto your fingerprint and child abuse clearances. Get the child's room ready (beds, mattresses, & dressers can be expensive if you have to buy them all at once at the last minute). Even if you don't know the exact age or sex of the child you will be adopting, you probably have a ballpark idea (ages 7-10, for example); buy some unisex, stretchy clothes that will fit almost any kid in your range (t-shirts, sweatpants) in case your child arrives with only the clothes on her back (as many fost/adopt children do); this will tide you over until you can go shopping. If you know your 8-year-old will need afterschool daycare, don't assume the nice-looking place down the street will take him; some daycares have a long waiting list or do not accept school-age children; making a daycare plan may be more complicated than you think! Same thing with doctors and dentists; there is likely to be a waiting period before your private insurance will enroll your new child, and if all he has in the meantime is Medicaid, your family doctor may not accept it, or may not be accepting new patients. Your new child will need a physical within the first 30 days of placement (important for a child from outside the US, and legally required for a U.S. child in foster care), so find a doctor ahead of time. If your agency has a support group or can connect you with other parents who have been in your shoes, spend time with these parents, asking their advice & getting to know their children. While waiting, it may seem like you'll NEVER get your child; it is comforting to know that others have endured the same experiences and succeeded.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

Laura Christianson says:

My recommendation is that prospective parents learn as much as they can about adoption through reading books, researching on the Internet, and joining support systems for adoptive parents.

It’s critically important that parents get a support system in place before their child arrives, so they’re more prepared to deal with potential struggles they may face. Of course, you can’t predict everything, but planning ahead, while you still have the energy and emotional resources to do so, is a lot easier than trying to figure out what to do in the midst of a crisis.

4:06 PM  

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