Last week marked 7 months that Brad and I had officially been “in the pool” waiting to be chosen by a birth family. This is half way through our agency’s average wait time and is probably longer than what we anticipated when we first started down this journey (I tend to be a little more optimistic on how well life will work out). I don’t have any sort of update really, it could happen tomorrow, or it could happen in quite a few months and still be “average”.
I’ve compiled a few of my thoughts on this time of anticipation – the good, the bad, and the impatience.
Navigating the Adoption Waiting Pool
My first month in the pool was probably a different situation than most; I spent 3/4 of it away from home. As I prepared to leave for Kenya, we knew that our time to joining the pool was getting closer. I actually made Brad an “In Case of Baby” list which included items he needed to go buy – and approved brands for each item. I found out that we were “live” on our agency’s website while on my layover in Amsterdam (side note – Amsterdam airport has really good Wi-Fi). Two weeks later, Brad and I met up in Miami for our vacation. While we were there, we got our first “screening email”. This email comes from the agency when the birth family has a situation that is unusual; they present the situation and then ask if we want our profile presented to the birth family.
These emails make everything feel extra real for a while as you realize that it really could happen at any moment. Your hopes raise for a while as you think that this email could be about your future child, and then they slowly fade as the days go by that you aren’t contacted. So far, we have had two of these emails. The second one really got my hopes up as there were a couple items in what the birth mom was looking for where I felt like we were a PERFECT match.
It is no secret that I love to travel. One of the hardest things during this waiting time is that I don’t feel like I can really plan a vacation. One reason that we booked our Miami trip for early fall was that we knew it would be right at the beginning of our pool entry and so it felt like a “safe” time. Now, I don’t dare make any plans that I wouldn’t mind cancelling if needed. Also, when there are plans made for something I REALLY want to do, I feel guilty that I’m hoping not to get a last minute placement in the next x-number of weeks. There is no question that I would cancel these plans if we get the call; but during these times, I’d much rather get a call saying I that she is due after the event. As I write this, I have a long weekend booked for a conference in about 3 weeks, and I would LOVE to get a call tomorrow saying we’re picked for a baby…due in 6 weeks.
Keeping myself busy and planning fun things is one way to keep myself sane during this process. I would much rather cancel fun plans to go pick up a baby than sit at home wondering why we haven’t been selected yet.
I describe myself as being “Continuously 40 weeks pregnant” because I literally could be at work one day and out on bonding leave the next. All plans made have the caveat of “we’re in, unless we end up with a baby between now and then”.
Being in the adoption pool and being “40 weeks pregnant” can also be a fun time to mess with people. Back in January, I was at an event and started talking to somebody about getting my nursery set up and preparing for a baby. This would be somewhat normal of a conversation; however, it was taking place at a bar with a drink in my hand. I then made sure to add that we were adopting and that I wasn’t actually drinking while pregnant. He then turned around and had fun with it by telling a friend that he was having drinks with somebody who was having a baby soon. We also joked that I should make a “drinking for two” shirt (although then decided against it as the internet trolls wouldn’t understand).
Brad and I were joking when our house was all torn apart that we were sure to get a baby then as everything was a disaster and we’ve never exactly done things the easy way. We figured we’d be doing our first home visit with no floors and a living room consisting of a single couch and the TV sitting on a folding table. Our floors are now back to normal (although the stairs are being replaced in the next week or two so this is still a slight possibility).
If you are reading this and new to the pool yourself, or in the mode of “read everything possible about adoption before I make the leap myself”, then welcome! Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions. My number one tip is to keep yourself busy (which really isn’t that hard to do). My number two tip is to resist buying every baby item you see (Zulily is both wonderful and dangerous). I had a couple months where I was going to the local thrift store just about every weekend and browsing the baby clothing aisle. The baby clearance section at Target can also be a “dangerous” spot – although I did find some good items here like the second base for our carseat.
During this time, you will also get very good at describing where you are in the process in just a couple sentences. Everybody wants to know how it is going, and it definitely is appreciated when people ask because it shows they remember your not so visible “pregnancy”.
So this is where we are. Not-So-Patiently waiting as we navigate the waiting pool and anticipate our life changing forever.