Are there certain things you wish you’d known before you received The Call?
No matter how long a family has been waiting, when they finally receive The Call, their homes inevitably look like the departure scene in one of our favorite movies, “Home Alone”. Most people are usually rushing around, missing things, but usually not people. So if your journey begins early, consider having a plan!
Sometimes it is difficult to believe that, after waiting for some time to start a family, The Call actually comes! Some families have not previously been matched with a birth mother, so the call can indeed be a surprise. Often, couples feel the emotional and psychological risk of having too much ready may put a “curse” on things. And for even other couples, they expect to be matched with a baby locally, so they don’t think to plan to be away from home – for any length of time. And, if you’re anything like me, my basic human tendency is to procrastinate!
As an agency, and with input from those of us (most of us) who are adoptive parents…here are a few suggestions:
You can’t ever be too prepared.
If you can handle seeing constant reminders – the nursery just waiting to be occupied, a packed diaper bag – try to have a few of these things ready. Some people may not want lots of “baby stuff” in the house, but in retrospect, most wish they had left at least a few items with a loving family member or understanding friend, so that what you need is accessible when you need it. (You’re never really prepared “enough,” so don’t worry about it. And as always…remember that adoption is not a destination…it’s a journey!
Expect it – Surprise!
Try to relax and remain flexible, as plans do change – whether due to birthparent’s situation, baby’s needs, even weather, and many other factors well out of your control. (Think Hurricane Irene…etc…) Sometimes unpredictability leads to a more positive experience. (and certainly prepares you for parenthood – the most unpredictable adventure in life!) While a few parents are annoyed by things like ICPC taking longer than expected, others find the great joy in having a little extra time with baby all to themselves before coming home and sharing baby with everyone for the rest of their lives. Little attitude adjustments along the way make all the difference in the world.
You’re not alone.
Even if you’re adopting for a second or third time, the process, no matter how prepared you are, isn’t always familiar. As time goes along, ask for details and ask any questions. Be assertive. Clarify with the case manager or social worker different instructions as they come your way. When should you go to the hospital? And when you arrive, where and whom will you be meeting? These are questions you may need answered more than once, as it’s sometimes hard for excited new parents to retain all the information that comes throughout the journey.
Set up a “family and friends plan”.
Who will you will tell what – and when – as the time comes. There are lots of emotions that will surface, but think about if you want an e-mail blast to everyone in your contacts or a mass text…or maybe just one phone call to a specific person who will spread the word. Facebook posts usually aren’t the best idea. (My husband and I opted to call only our parents and siblings.
If you do end up going outside your home state, how will you handle things that can happen when you are away from home. Sometimes a quick e-mail to a neighbor can make sure your mail will be picked up and newspaper brought in. Grandparents love to be needed, especially for important tasks like getting the house ready for your arrival home, shoveling snow, or washing baby clothes
What about the big homecoming?
Who will you want there? What is the smoothest transition for you and your new baby? The day we bring your new little one home will be joyful, and probably a little anxious. Maybe get a bite to eat and do a little final shopping while birthparents finish up paperwork. When the time comes, you will not want to waste a moment of time in getting home. And when you do, you will want to know who will be there excitedly waiting for you!
I can think of nothing more fulfilling than knowing someone chose us to parent her child. No matter how much stress there may be through the journey, and even surrounding The Call itself, remember what is most important!