Hurry Up And Wait


The most stressful part of any international adoption, indicated by all adoptive parents is the waiting. Waiting on a referral of a child, waiting on your legal process in the sending country to be complete, waiting on approvals and waiting for your child to come home drive even the most patient individuals to be impatient and feel frustrated. Obviously keeping yourself busy and your mind on other things is hard to do, but this is the best solution to managing your feelings during these perceived long waits.

Adoption, whether international or domestic, has been referred to as a “paper pregnancy”. Adoption is a long and complicated process and yes, with lots of waiting. What can you do to lessen your anxiety during this emotional roller coaster? Below are just a few ideas that may help.

  • Education, education and even more education!

    The more prepared you are for your child’s arrival the better the transition for both the child and you. Educate yourself on your child’s birth country, educate yourself on attachment issues with adopted children and educate yourself on adjustment issues with the children already in your home. There are so many topics that can keep your mind busy to prepare yourself and your family for your child’s arrival, take advantage of this time to prepare.

  • Child proof your home.
  • Prepare and decorate your child’s bedroom.
  • Go shopping to buy all the clothes, shoes, toys and supplies you will need for your adopted child.
  • Start an orphan ministry in your church.
  • Work on your child’s lifebook.
  • Keep a diary of your feelings and thoughts.
  • Take advantage of me time and couple time, after all, this time will be even more limited when your child comes home.
  • Spend quality time and focus on the children already in your home.
  • Reach out to others in your community who are also adopting internationally (but no blogging!).
  • Practice cooking foods common to your child’s birth country.
  • Look for and interview international pediatric physicians to take your child to when they arrive home.
  • If traveling, look into travel preparations, places to stay and things to do in country.

Arguably, it will be difficult to curb your anxiety and impatience but utilize this time well to prepare yourself for your child’s arrival and it will ease your stress during the long waits.

What should you not do during this time? Do not spend too much time on internet blogging and discussion sites! Many times these sites, while well meaning, tend to provide inaccurate information and gossip and will fuel your already burning anxiety. Always remember the best source of information you receive should come from your agency. Lastly, remember this time of waiting will end at some point. Whether you are adopting from Africa or adopting from Bulgaria, at some point down the road, the waiting will be over and you and your child will finally be united!

Photo Credit: Royce Blair

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.

Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptionsā€™ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.