Waiting for the phone call that connects you with a birth mother can feel like it's an eternity.  There are rewarding activities that you can focus on to help pass that time until you are united with your baby.   If you ask anyone who adopted they will normally tell you yes the wait was long but the end result was worth the wait !

We  have put together a list of activities that you should consider doing while you are waiting.   These activities are listed below and include:

  1. Journaling
  2. Building the Nest
  3. Time, Love and Tenderness
  4. Training

We encourage you to share your feelings at anytime with your Adoption Associates caseworker.

Journaling

Before "writing" it off as something you're not good at or don't have time for, consider jotting some thoughts down for the treasure it will leave you when your little one is placed into your arms. Journaling helps you to capture the moments of today while bolstering your hope for the future....and, in the end, it will leave you with a treasure that allows you to look back to see the unfolding of the amazing story of how you became a family. Buy a journal or notebook where you can record your thoughts, feelings, activities and events all in one place.  Then begin by jotting down a word to describe your emotion of the day.  The next day you might add an adoption quote that you want to be sure to remember.  Then, try a one-sentence response describing a feeling about your wait.  Be sure to include any adoption related paperwork completion, classes or phone conversations with your caseworker that you've had.  On the following day, it may be helpful to jot a Bible verse or lyrics to a song that has encouraged you.  Did you miss a few days or weeks? No problem!  Start again with some word reflections about how you are keeping busy.  Write down a prayer you're praying for your child or his/her birth parents.  Continue to record your journey because this is also the beginning of your child's story.  One of AAI adoptive mom's who endured a three year wait counts her journal as one of the greatest gifts she now has for her son.  She says "I wrote down anything that struck me during our wait.  It is really neat to look back through these pages now and see the journey."

Journaling can be a safe, private outlet to process your emotions during your wait and the reward is a documented journey of lessons you have learned, emotions you have experienced, problems you have solved and a life-sustaining reflection of God's abiding faithfulness through the wilderness of your wait.

Building the Nest

Have you ever stopped to notice the precision, care and persistence of a mama robin as she builds her nest?  And where there is a mama robin, you’ll find the papa not too far off.  He hovers at close distance with fierce and determined protection of what’s to come.  Hours and hours of work become the job of this pair as they get ready to welcome their nestlings.  They start from nothing, then twig by twig, they weave their goods into an intricate, carefully created nest.  It’s not perfect, but it’s the place that these parents have labored over to create a warm, welcoming, safe place for their little ones to call home.  

As waiting adoptive parents you, too, are preparing your hearts and home for this new soul to enter your nest.  There is hard work to be done to ensure that your nest will be a warm, welcoming and safe place for your little one.  Oh, it won’t be perfect, but it will be your labor of love for the one you're awaiting.  

Here are a few suggestions of ways to prepare your heart, mind, body and soul to be the best you can be:

Get healthy - exercise regularly, stop smoking, eat right
Date your mate - form a habit of setting aside intentional time to be together
Build your bank account - start stashing away for the adoption fees and expenses that come with parenting
Savor your sleep!
Research baby accessories and supplies
Dump the baggage - deal with and resolve issues that prevent you from being the best you can be
Meditate on God’s word - build your family’s foundation on a solid rock
Say no - learn to say “no” to extra commitments and activities
Spring clean - clean out and donate the “stuff” that clutters your home
Read books, listen to podcasts, surf the net, connect with adoptive parents to learn all you can about adoptive parenting

So go ahead, nest away!  It will be a productive, healthy exercise to prepare your heart, mind, body and soul for the greatness to come.

Time, Love and Tenderness

As you experience your adoption journey, there will be excited anticipation and insurmountable joy, but there could be broken dreams and unexpected heartbreak as well.  Let's be real.... infertility, miscarriages, testing, the paperwork chase, unknown waits, failed placements and adoptive parenting try the very core of our being. Couples do best to acknowledge the physical and emotional toll that these trying times take on their marriage.  It's time for a little TIME, LOVE and TENDERNESS.

All three of these virtues are the bedrock to a healthy marriage relationship.  Take TIME to reinforce that foundation now.  Take TIME to be together. Go get ice cream, walk the dog, review the budget, cruise the countryside, cook dinner, play cards, or organize the garage.  Whether work or play, TIME together builds the foundation of your marriage to weather the storms.

Show a little LOVE and TENDERNESS.  Discover your spouse's love language and fill up their tank.  Dance under the stars, hold hands at the theater, kiss in the kitchen, compliment a new outfit, ask how his day was.  Could you turn the TV station to her favorite?  How about setting your phone down and saying "I love you" face to face?  Surprise her with flowers or don't complain about his golf league. And, by all means, skip a night of asking "what's for dinner".

There are so many simple ways to bring couples together during this wait.  Believe Mother Teresa when she says:  "You can do what I cannot do.  I can do what you cannot do.  Together we can do great things."

Training

You’ve already taken your mark by completing the application process, finishing a home study, and preparing a profile. Now you’re ready to GO….to begin the race of parenting. But, what about “getting set” in this in between time; the time when you are waiting to be matched with a birth mother or receive the referral of a child. Does your preparation affect the success of your adoptive parenting? The same is true, we may not all agree on what type of training or how much of it, but we can agree that it can’t hurt. 

You have completed your required training to move through the home study process. Do you have any plans to continue to equip yourself for adoptive parenting? Here are some training techniques that we would recommend: 

Attend adoption conferences
* CAFO Summit (Christian Alliance for Orphans)
* Empowered to Connect
* NACAC (North America Council on Adoptable Children)
* Churches often have adoption conferences throughout the year

Register for webinars offered online
* Adoption Learning Partners
* Heart of the Matter

Become involved in a foster care/adoption community
* Orphan Ministry Alliance
* Woven by Love - retreat for adoptive moms (http://wovenbylove.org/)

Tune in to AAI’s new Blog Radio every Tuesday at 11:00am EST
* Led by AAI’s own Jennifer Jaworski, adoption caseworker
* Hear from adoptees, adoptive parents, birth mothers and adoption professionals about their personal journey through relinquishment and adoption

All of these resources can contribute to preparing and training you well for the greatest race you’ll ever run!