To The Waiting Adoptive Parent Who’s Having One of Those Days

I know today is hard.

Yesterday might have been hard, too. And maybe the day before, and the week, and the entire month.

There’s so much you have to think about. So much you have to do. And so little control over the process.

Your profile has been out there, at your agency and online, for months and the only people who have contacted you about it are scammers and SEO services promising you placement at the top of Google.

Your home study is up for renewal, which means that you’ll need to meet with your social worker again, which means dipping into your vacation fund, which means putting off that much-needed trip to Mexico that you promised your spouse for yet another year.

The holidays are nearly here, and with it the family get-togethers, along the inevitable question on every one’s lips: “Any news?”

And, to top it all off, one of the women at the office just announced she’s pregnant—with twins to boot!

Sometimes you just can’t catch a break.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. We know what you’re going through.


It wasn’t that long ago that we were standing in your shoes, wondering if the day we could call ourselves a “parent” would ever arrive.

Just like us, you knew this adoption thing wouldn’t be easy. You knew about the police checks, the medical checks, the financial checks.

You knew about the waiting.

“Be patient and keep busy,” everyone warned you. “Because if you don’t, you’ll drive yourself crazy.”

But that didn’t scare you off. Neither did the horror stories—about how a friend of a friend of a friend once heard that.. Well, you know the rest. 

If anything, they only made you more determined to stick it out and prove everyone wrong.

Piece of cake, you thought. You had heard about people waiting years to become parents, but you told yourself that wouldn’t be you.

You would find a match within a year, 18 months tops. You weren’t going to be like those other couples who sat around and waited for things to happen. You were going to make it happen! 

And if it took longer, so be it. You were ready. You had waited for things before. You knew what it involved.

And this was different. This wasn’t just another thing. This was life-changing. How many times in your life could you really say that?

And so you kept busy. You signed up for the pottery course. Joined a book club. Trained for a half-marathon.   

You figured if you didn’t do it now, when would you do it? Not later. Later, you would be a parent and you wouldn’t have time for anything else.  

Who knew the thought of giving up your freedom for sleepless nights and around the clock feedings and diaper changes could be so liberating?

If only it were that easy. But pretty soon you learned the hard way it wasn’t. You learned the difference between thinking about waiting and living it.

Because no  matter what you did, no matter how how busy you got, you still couldn’t get the thought that you were waiting out of your mind. All day and all night, that’s all you thought about.

As the days stretched into weeks and the weeks stretched into months, things only got harder. The sight of a child, a stroller or a pregnant woman—they all became unbearable, a reminder of what you didn’t have.

Before you used to flip through your Facebook feed over your morning coffee and get excited by everyone’s adoption announcement. Who wouldn’t be happy for them?

But how many can you read before you ask yourself, when will your turn come? When will the day come when you’ll post a photo of you with your little one in your arms?

Some days it feels like being pregnant without a delivery date. Instead of doctor’s appointments and check-ups, there’s endless paperwork and meetings.

To make you feel better, people say things like “it’s not your turn yet” or “your time hasn’t come.” But instead of cheering you up, they only remind you about how little control you have over the process.

How do they know when your turn will come? What if it never comes?

After putting all of your heart and soul into your journey, it’s hard not to let the pain and rejection wear you down.

But just remember, it’s not your fault. You’re not to blame.

This isn’t about you. It’s nothing personal. Most people have no idea what you’re going through.

Only you know, and only you know if, at the end of the day, you can hold your head up and say you’ve given it your best shot.

Keep in mind that others just like you have been through this and not only survived, but prevailed. And if they could do it, you can too.

So don’t dwell on the negatives and the would’ves, could’ves, should’ves. That kind of second-guessing will only steal your energy and make you miserable. Plus, it won’t change a thing.  

Although others don’t understand what you’re going through, I do. And I think you’re doing a great job.

Not only are doing everything you can. You’re doing it with graciousness and humility, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

So take pride in how far you’ve come and everything you’ve achieved, no matter how small it may seem, and keep an open mind and heart about the future.

Today may be tough, but there’s always tomorrow and another opportunity to turn things around.

Because if there’s one thing you can say about adoption, it’s this: you never know what’s going to happen next. 

Just when you least expect it, things have a way of falling into place.

I can’t tell you when it will happen. If it will happen tomorrow, or next week or next month.

All I can tell you is that I’ll be there, in your corner, cheering you on until then.

And I can also tell you this: one day you’ll look back at this moment and scratch your head about what all the fuss was about.

Or maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll be so busy being a parent that you won’t remember it.

Or maybe it will be just another story—one of the many you’ll tell your child about how she joined your family and how it feels like she was always there and how you can’t imagine what your life was like before her.

Do you have an adoption story? Share it and inspire others.

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