Several months ago, after a day of running errands and waiting in numerous lines, my three-year-old daughter said to me, “Waiting hurts my feelings.” Out of the mouth of babes! Isn’t that the truth, especially in the adoption waiting game?
There are so many things that can hurt our feelings while we’re waiting—if we let them. An empty nursery, seeing babies everywhere, hearing women complain about being pregnant, being invited to six baby showers in one month, knowing that we are not in control, being asked yet again by well-meaning (and sometimes just plain nosy) people if we’ve “heard anything yet.” Sound familiar?
When my husband and I got engaged many people had advice for us. Something stupid I heard a lot (because people were focusing on the fact that Brigham is quadriplegic) was, “Just think about the eternities, when everything will be wonderful.” It was well meant, but is kind of like saying, “Everything will be better when you’re dead.” Great. But we have to get from here to dead first. Sure, it’s nice to have that to look forward to (not being dead, but having perfected bodies), but it’s important to remember that we have to get from here to there. We have to live.
So in the same sense that I’m not going to sit around and wait until we die for things to get “better,” I’m not going to sit around and just wait until we get a baby. And I’m not going to let waiting hurt my feelings. (Well, in all honesty, I probably will sometimes.)
What can we do to insure that the waiting doesn’t hurt our feelings? This is not a rhetorical question—I’d like some ideas. Having done it once doesn’t make me an expert.
Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with. I’m going to start preparing for a baby now. And I’m not just doing this because we only had four hours’ notice we were getting a baby last time and had nothing ready. I want a place prepared for our baby in our home, in our minds, and in our hearts. (Deanna, Elise, and Britnee have all said the same thing in their blog posts, so it must be a good idea!) I’m going to make wide use of pass along cards. And when people ask me what the latest is, I’m going to ask them what they have done with the stack of pass along cards I gave them! I’m talking about adoption, and specifically about our desire to adopt again, to everyone, even strangers. And for a shy girl like me, that’s quite a stretch. I like to think I’m educating those around me. I’m making adoption a part of their lives, too. And I definitely don’t feel as isolated this time.
It’s a good idea to keep in mind that even after you bring your baby home there’s more waiting to be done. There are all kinds of waiting, and we just can’t avoid them. We waited six months for relinquishment papers to be signed, eight months to finalize. Every situation, every cycle of waiting is unique. And it doesn't have to hurt our feelings.
What are you going to do on your way from here to there? (I really want to know.)