According to a recent study conducted by Minted, the average engaged person spends 12 hours a week planning their wedding. The study looked into the wedding planning journey of 2,000 Americans who have had a wedding in the last year. Since most engagements last 11 months, it works out to 528 hours planning the big day!
Most people spend more time planning their wedding day or their vacations than their adoption! Yet while adoption is for a lifetime, a wedding is only one day in a couple’s life. When you put that into perspective with adoption, it makes sense that hopeful adoptive parents should be dedicating time each week toward planning for their future adoption. So what are you doing each week to plan for your upcoming adoption? What should you be doing? Keep reading to learn the activities and steps you can be taking each week to get ready to bring your baby home through adoption!
Prepare for Adoptive Parenting
Preparing ahead of time for parenting is wise and something you can work on each week. Many first-time parents need help selecting baby gear, learning about diapering and feeding, and preparing for the out-of-state wait for ICPC to clear. Classes are available locally in larger communities that can help with this; however many parents are now looking to online learning resources to help them prepare to be new parents.
One program, New Parents Academy, has created an online course for families who want to ensure they are “baby ready.” This course covers a wide variety of topics and is geared specifically for new adoptive parents. It even includes a completion certificate that you can use for home study education. Use coupon code LIFETIME for $50 off your course fee.
Social Media and Sharing Your Adoption Hopes
Today’s successful adoptive parents use social media’s potential to help them spread the word about their hopes to adopt. More and more often, modern adoption is connecting birth mothers to adoptive parents through personal networking, such as social media. With the ability to target inexpensive ads for your adoption Facebook page, you can also reach more women searching for adoptive parents than you could within your personal circle of friends on social media.
Many waiting adoptive couples think, “But I don’t know anyone considering adoption.” The truth is that while you may not think you know anyone, the chances are that someone in your circle knows someone or in their circles that knows someone struggling with an unplanned pregnancy. Asking your friends and family to share your posts lets them say anything they’d like about you and your adoption hopes. They care about you and are motivated to see you succeed, so let them brag about how amazing you are!
Spreading the word about your adoption hopes and the choices pregnant mothers have with modern adoption is a way to get your family in front of women considering adoption. We know this for a fact because we have many adoptions to show for it!
We’ve seen adoption matches come together at Lifetime because a birth mother found out about a family on Facebook or Instagram! If you’re already using social media, consider how you could spread the word with the apps you already use in your everyday life.
Educate Through Webinars and Books
Prepare for parenthood each week by reading books and attending webinars on adoption, discipline, and parenting. To be active and engaged, a Lifetime adoptive couple should plan on spending time each month participating in webinars, either live or listening to the recording later.
Navigating adoption and adoptive parenting can be confusing and somewhat overwhelming at times. There are some unique aspects to working through the adoption process and parenting an adopted child. Take advantage of resources, such as some of these recommended adoption books, to guide you along.
Educating yourself and learning all you can about adoption and parenting is a constructive way to spend your time while you’re waiting to adopt. Think of it this way: once your baby is home, there won’t be much time for reading!
Learn About a Birth Mother’s Adoption Experience
Understanding a birth mother’s side of adoption will help you relate to her, support her, and make the most of the possibilities through your new connection together. You can learn about birth parents by hearing their stories in these videos and reading about their experiences.
Adoptive parents sometimes take for granted the sacrifice made by birth mothers. The decision to place their newborn child with another family takes heart-wrenching thought. Sometimes the decision is so overwhelming that birth mothers find themselves emotionally distraught and unable to cope.
The journey the birth mother takes is more challenging than we can imagine. By choosing adoption professionals with excellent qualifications and a good reputation, a birth mother will find help from people who genuinely care about her and her child’s needs. She can receive services to ensure all her needs are met and honest counseling to help her travel this very rough road. The harshness of the journey can be eased with the help of the right people—including the help of the adoptive parents.
Hear from Successful Adoptive Parents
When you initially begin the adoption process, it can be very overwhelming. Hopeful adoptive parents benefit immensely from hearing what adoption was like for others. Reading other parents’ adoption stories can provide encouragement, along with invaluable guidance and tips as you navigate the unknowns of adoption. One of the best things that hopeful adoptive parents can do is learn from others who have gone before them on the same path! Why not learn about infant adoption while you drive to work, do housework, or go for a run with a podcast or webinar?
Adoption story webinars are among the most encouraging and helpful resources because you get to hear from others who have recently adopted! Get a fresh perspective through the waiting, or learn about open adoption, traveling for adoption, transracial adoption, drug exposure, older child adoptions, and more, all from adoptive parents with real-life experience. Adoption stories inspire you to continue moving toward the adoption you feel called to in your heart.
Keep in Touch With Your Adoption Professional
Your adoption professional will become your primary partner in building your family through adoption. A quality adoption professional has your best interests at heart and is trying to get you the result you are looking for, your baby in your arms.
You should be in contact with your adoption professional very frequently. Especially at the beginning of your adoption journey, when you likely have lots of questions and are turning in your adoption paperwork, you should expect them to be readily available.
Some adoptive couples currently working with Lifetime have shared that they experienced far less communication with other adoption professionals. “Thanks so much for your quick responses. We were in an adoption process before this, and our other agency would take days, sometimes weeks, to get back to us. It’s so nice to know that my emails are being read and my phone calls will always be answered! We are so thankful for y’all!” says one hopeful adoptive mother.
Lifetime adoptive couples have access to three exclusive resources, a portal, Website Editor, and a membership site, to help them keep track of their adoption progress. Regularly checking these websites each week is a vital part of your success in a Lifetime adoption!
Your Home Study and Clearances
Once your home study is complete, you’ll need to remain in touch with your home study provider to make sure it remains updated and current. In many states, a home study is only good for one year. Some states may require you to update your home study sooner or later than a year.
It’s important to maintain a current home study so that there is no lapse in or expiration that could prevent you from adopting. If you don’t keep your home study updated, you may not be able to adopt or pursue a match. A few instances that might require an update to your home study include moving to a new home, changing jobs, having a swimming pool installed, changing your adoption preferences, or remodeling your home.
Your Online Adoption Profile
In domestic adoption, your online adoption profile is one of the most powerful tools in the process of adopting. A profile may look different from agency to agency, depending on how the adoption professional meets the needs of the potential birth mothers they assist. Most include photos, text, and videos that help introduce the hopeful adoptive parents to the mother considering adoption.
Your adoption website will be the first impression that a birth mother gets of you, your lives, and what you have to offer as adoptive parents of her child. So it’s important to accept your adoption professional’s recommendations on it and to work regularly on keeping your site updated and current.
Devote Time to Adoption
If you aren’t currently devoting time each week to your adoption, start today! Adoption is a partnership, and your adoption professionals need your help and engagement to help you adopt. Keeping current and engaged is a vital part of your success in adoption.
What are you doing each week on your adoption?
Share with us in the comments!
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”