If you've ever waited for your child to join your family, you know it can be hard to wait well. We want our child home in our arms NOW! As the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months, (and sometimes the months turn into years - yikes!) we grow weary and impatient.
Waiting is hard - especially when we turn into a mama-bear (or daddy-bear) and just want our baby home - and we'll take out anyone who stands in our way. The average adoption process takes twenty-eight months. I, personally, only had to wait eleven and I can't fathom the thought of 2 years! But I know God was teaching me something during that wait. I grew so much as a believer, as a wife, and as a mom during that season.
Instead of mulling over the calendar and sulking that your baby (or child) isn't home NOW, choose to wait well. It's a conscious choice. I've compiled a list of 8 things you can do to help you as you wait.
1. PRAY! Spend this time praying for your family, for the child you are adding to your home. Pray that he/she remains safe and healthy during the wait. Spend time reading God's Word and praying for all your children, and especially for the one you're so anxiously waiting for. If you're looking for a great book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Children by Jodie Berdnt was such an encouragement to me in this time.
2. Journal - I kept a journal during my wait for Zoe and now I'm journaling as we wait for Viktors. It's so sweet to go back and read how I was feeling and what I was thinking while my baby was literally on the other side of the planet. I can't wait to share it with them when they're older.
3. Educate Yourself / Read - You need to spend a good amount of time preparing yourself to parent an adopted child. Read some great adoption books on attachment and parenting children from hard places. Some books I'd recommend are The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis, Before You Were Mine by Susan TeBos and Carissa Woodwyk, Parenting the Hurt Child by Gregory Keck, Attaching in Adoption by Deborah Gray, Wounded Children Healing Homes by Jayne Schooler. Your social worker may have others she’d like you to read too. If at all possible, get yourself to an Empowered to Connect Conference during your wait. These events are put on by Show Hope and are truly a gold mine of learning for adoptive and foster parents. I wish we had attended one before Zoe came home, but we attended one in 2012. It was truly incredible.
4. Prepare Your Home - get that room ready because that child IS coming home. Paint the walls, make some curtains, and fill that closet with clothes (just make sure to buy a size or two up). Hang some pictures of your newest family member in your home, and buy toys with her/him in mind.
5. Fundraise - I know this one seems so obvious. Most adoptions cost $25,000+ and most of us don't have that sitting in an account just waiting. Have a spaghetti supper in honor of your child, sell cool t-shirts (I think every t-shirt I own is adoption related), have a bake-sale, or a carwash. Pile all that money into an account for your adoption and watch it grow! It really is fun to watch God multiply the efforts like loaves and fishes. As we like to say around here: "God funds what He favors and He certainly favors adoption!"
6. Serve- Go love on the babies in your church nursery (it'll give you your baby fix too!), go serve at the local homeless shelter, or at your local school. It'll make you feel so much better to pour yourself out into others and it'll take your mind off all the agonizing days.
7. Start a Scrapbook or Lifebook - You might not know everything, but you probably have a few pictures of your child and some basic information. Go ahead and get started on that lifebook or a scrapbook for him/her. There's some great books on creating lifebooks available now.
8. Love your family at home - This one might seem silly to even mention, but it's true. You've been entrusted with the ones that are home with you now. Your husband, your kids already at home (if applicable) and that's where your focus needs to at this time. Don't be so focused on getting that next adopted kiddo home that you forget to love on the ones who are already there.
I know the wait is hard. I'm waiting right now and I am reminded of how hard it really is to have a child on the other side of the Earth. Be encouraged in this wait. Let your light shine so that others around you see Jesus shining in you as you wait - nobody wants to be around the lady who's always sulking and crying. It's totally okay to have those days where you sit in your bed and eat ice-cream and watch chick-flicks and cry because you miss your kiddo: just don't make that every day. Love those around you well and be intentional with your wait. It's only for a season and then that new awaited one will be home and rocking your world!
Now that Zoe has been home for a little over two years, it seems like the wait was so fast ; I can assure you it didn't feel that way then. But be encouraged the wait does end; your child will come home. And before you know it, your child has been home over 2 years and you can't even remember her not being there.
Have a great week everybody - especially those of you who are waiting!