This past week marked one year since we officially started the adoption process, and our eleventh month in the China program! While my last post was a little emotional I want to today share that the sad, hard, frustrating side of adoption is just ONE SIDE of it. The other side is full of hope, anticipation and love. And since my last post here we’ve been lucky enough to be living more on that side of the spectrum.
No matter who you are there will be good and bad days in an adoption process. Even Jeremy, who is pretty much my polar opposite on the emotional scale, has struggled quite a bit as we’ve moved through this season of waiting. But there are definitely things that can be done to help! Positive things.
One thing I have found that has really helped has been having some things to do, for our daughter NOW. Some of these are bigger projects and some may seem very small, but they have helped us so much to stay focused on what really matters here- our child, and not how hard a particular month of waiting may be.
Start a memory box.
I got this idea from Ashley. She made a similar box for her daughter and she told me she loves to look through it. All that it is is a box where we keep random photos (for example, I printed out a few of our application photos and a couple of vacation photos when we were REALLY talking about how much we wish our daughter could have been there). It also has things like receipts from the (seriously) 100 notary and post office trips that it takes to do an international adoption.
Our box is already about halfway full and it includes memories from this past year as we were going through the adoption process, each photo, receipt or memento has a little note to our girl on it from us. I can’t really show all of it you since we haven’t shared her name yet (sorry! we will!)- but I will later on. All of the nieces and nephews have been writing her letters that are in our box as well. They say cute things like, “Dear _____, do you like puppies or kitties? I can’t wait to play with you.”
Keep A Private IG Account.
We wanted to keep a journal for our daughter, but we’re not really big journal people. I even started one, but after nagging Jeremy to write in, like, 30 times we decided to just do something easier! A private Instagram account.
So we made an account for our little girl with her name. It is private and has no followers. But we are both logged into it and we can use it to save little notes. When the process is over I plan to get it printed into a book.
This has been the best and easiest way for us to document each milestone and because it’s private we have felt the freedom to really express ourselves and make it just about her.
I highly recommend this for anyone doing an adoption, and it would be perfect for a pregnancy too.
Buy Gifts (but only on special occasions)
When we first started last summer I ordered a few things, like immediately, and Jeremy was like- “HOLD UP”. (I feel like this post is making him sound a little cold, he’s not. haha) And after that I didn’t really buy anything for about six months. We decided to save the nursery/decorating as a reward after our home study + dossier paperwork was all turned in, which worked out great. I looked forward to it SO MUCH and when it finally came, enjoyed it fully.
Now we’re waiting until we are matched to buy clothing and pretty much anything with an age or size variable. Again, I am looking forward to it SO MUCH.
That said, we have bought a few gifts on special occasions, like when we were on a vacation somewhere really special or at a big milestone in the paperwork process. I love that these things have such strong memories attached to them now. This little panda doll (above) we bought on Christmas Eve last year.
Gifts are definitely one of my love languages, so attaching each one to a milestone has made my heart so happy!
Prepare A Nursery
Ok, so I fully understand who anyone would want to wait to set up a nursery. It does feel like a potential landmine of pain if things drag on or don’t go as planned. I worried before I started that it would feel awkward or even sad having a completed, empty nursery in my home. But my experience has been exactly the opposite.
Once we finished our paperwork, and things we just processing, I suddenly had LOT of free time. For more than six months I had been doing paperwork and errands like it was my side-job and all the sudden it was over. It felt weird.
Having the nursery to decorate was immensely therapeutic for me! One of the best choices ever. It kept me busy and gave me all the BEST feelings in the world. The waiting period can be tricky, and decorating the nursery helped me so much. I am sure this sounds silly (and I don’t care) but every little decision and purchase brought me so much joy (!!!!).
Now that it is almost done I walk by it all day long and smile. I go in there and just sit for a couple minutes anytime I feel overwhelmed or sad. It’s the happiest room in our home!
I am dragging out my last few choices because it’s been such a joy to set up this room and I don’t want it to be over. If you have the chance, I really cannot encourage preparing a nursery enough. It’s been so good for me!
Let The Nesting Begin.
The last thing that has really helped me deal with our waiting period is small goals. For example, this weekend we were waiting to hear something from our agency (and I was freaking out just a little bit) so we took EVERYTHING out of our pantry, cleaned out really well and reorganized.
It felt SO good.
I have heard about nesting from all of my pregnant friends, but I guess I didn’t expect that it would hit me so hard as well! I know this isn’t true, but I FEEL like it’s my last chance to completely overhaul our home and also anything in my life I want to change. Basically all the little things in life that bug you when you wake up in the middle of night.
So, basically, I’ve been cleaning out bathroom cabinets and ordering books of old photos. I made a pretty long list of all the things I want to overhaul or complete. And each time I finish one of these unfinished house projects it actually makes me APPRECIATE our wait, because positive things are happening here. The inside of my fridge looks like a Pinterest fridge, you guys!
I’m really grateful for this season. I really am. At times it has felt like a test, but at the same time it’s clearly a source of growth for us. While we’re not immune to sad days and unexpected tears, we are becoming better people and, I would like to think, more prepared parents. We’ll see! haha
To anyone out there who is going through a similar wait, I send you all the love in my heart and the biggest hugs. Take those hugs and really feel them… then after that, start one of these projects- it will help! I promise you. xx