What To Do During The Adoption Wait

Mental health challenges while adopting


If you are a prospective parent, you may be experiencing a wide range of emotions during the adoption wait. Seasons and periods of waiting can be hard, but they can also be breeding grounds for growth and opportunity. Regardless of where you are in the adoption process there are some things you can do to really take advantage and lean into the waiting process. 

Here are a few things you can do while you navigate the adoption wait:

Start Counseling: You may have heard about the benefit of counseling for your adoptee, but have you thought about counseling for yourself? Now is a great opportunity to start any personal work you may need to do before adopting. This work could be attachment related or even addressing any fears or concerns you have about adopting. Attachment theory plays a significant role in adoption and learning your attachment style prior to adopting to ensure you can create a safe home is incredibly important work. Take this time to engage in deep self reflection and learning and do not be afraid to invite a counselor to walk this with you. 

Find A Support Group: There are adoptive parent support groups as well as support groups for waiting parents. Connecting with other prospective parents may give you ease and support as you navigate the wait. Your adoption agency can provide you with connections that may help you not feel isolated during this period. Even after your adoption is finalized, these connections made can be meaningful long term as you navigate the journey of adoption parenting. 

Take Care of Legal and Administrative Tasks: Utilize this time to financially plan and review your finances as necessary. Additionally, gather necessary documents that may be needed during this process such as health documents or background checks.  

Identify Your Resources: While you wait, it would be in your best interest to establish and learn about the resources around you that are available and make a plan on getting involved and connected with post adoption resources. Resources can be other adoptive parents, adoptees or any type of post adoption support available to you through your adoption agency. Take time to learn about your community and any opportunities available for adoptees and their families in your local area. This is incredibly important if you are adopting transracially as these adoptees thrive in diverse, inclusive communities. 

Listen: Now is the time to sit in humility and listen and learn from the voices of adoptees and birth parents. This is a unique time where you can immerse yourself in the stories of adopted individuals and birth parents. Adoption is multifaceted and every story and experience is unique. The more you understand the nuances, the grief and joy interlaced in adoption the more you can appreciate this journey and understand the experiences of those involved. Remember, what you gain through adoption, a birth parent has lost. Holding space for the loss associated in adoption is paramount in loving your adoptee well. 

Educate Yourself: Use this waiting period as a time to learn about adoption, parenting, and child development. Consider both general parenting books and those specifically about adoption. Your adoption agency may also require you to attend workshops or seminars about adoption. Furthermore, aim to educate yourself through resources directly provided by adoptees themselves. Many adoptees offer adoptive parent education and resources. Learning from those with lived experience will provide insight and knowledge that workshops and books simply cannot. 

Navigating the adoption wait can feel hard and maybe even a little lonely. Being intentional about reaching out, fostering connections and utilizing the time to learn and prepare can only aid you in the long run. 


By: Ramya Gruneisen

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