The Cradle Blog

Ask the Experts: Getting Through the Waiting Period

adoptive parents domestic adoption

The waiting period may be one of the most difficult parts of the adoption process. We asked the experts—not Cradle staff experts, but other families who have experienced the wait themselves—for some advice on how to make it through. 

1. Have a support system.

Making sure you are aware of your support network is important. Adoption isn’t a big thing on my side of the family. Colette’s brother is adopted so they were more into the issues. They stopped asking all the time because we would always say, “We don’t know!” They became more supportive; our friends were very supportive. —Joe Studer, Dad to Gabe '07.

We have a good support system with our friends and I got to know other families that were in the process of adopting kids specifically from Ethiopia, so I connected with people who were also waiting which was a big help. —Megan Boarini, mom to Mekbib and Mekdes '11.

We tried to keep the emotion out of it, and just realized [not being shown or chosen] meant it was not our baby. We have a wonderful support group in our church, that is all adoptive parents. We prayed a lot, and relied on the support of our families and friends. —Amber Heintz, Mom to Charlotte '14

adoption process2. Don't put your life on hold. 

Just keep on living. You can’t just cancel plans. We traveled. We have another daughter so we spent time with her. And we just tried to keep living and not think about it so hard. Don't put your life on hold because it is going to happen.
—Chelsea Armstrong, Mom to Cameron '13

I can't imagine how much harder our lives would have been if we had just sat around waiting, feeling sad and sorry for ourselves —Jeremy Heintz, Dad to Charlotte '14.

Make sure you have things planned while you're in the process of waiting. Mike and I did really good in terms of planning stuff for ourselves during the weekends. We had a lot of fun before MJ came home.  
—LaTonya Walker, Mom to Michael '11

process of adoption3. Be strong for each other.

Be there for each other. Colette and I are very different. We handle things differently. Being strong for each other was tough but it worked. —Joe Studer, Dad to Gabe '07

You really have to know your partner or support member to lean on and rely on in tough times —Ken Paquette, Dad to Katie Grace '13

4. Recognize that most of it is out of your control.

Ultimately, we had to just accept that the whole process is really out of our control. We had to just let go and trust that at some point, our baby would find us. —Amber Heintz, Mom to Charlotte '14

You need to be prepared for the lags. It's like hills and valleys. You need to be prepared for your valley moment. —Mike Walker, Dad to Michael '11

Letting go of control is important. I had to really learn that again and again. I'm still learning it. Just like I can't manage someone else's decision, I can't protect Cecilia from everything. —Ann Russo, Mom to Cecilia '12

5. But also consider being open to more options.

Once Adam was in my arms, I thought, if I had limited myself to just a girl, I wouldn’t have him. When we adopted a second time and got the call about Nathan, I was like, ‘I’m going to be the mom of boys.’ And they are both so spectacularly delicious I can’t stand it. —Heather Cichon, Mom to Adam '04, Nathan '07

adoptive families

When we started the process, like most couples, we wanted a healthy baby, so we were not being shown to as many birthmoms. But after a year, we decided to open up some of our criteria and we were shown a lot more often. —Amber Heintz, Mom to Charlotte '14