When couples are expecting a baby, getting the nursery ready is one of the top priorities. But when is it the right time for adoptive parents to get the nursery ready? Should you wait until you have been matched with a birth mother? What if you get the call at the last minute? It’s important to be prepared for your growing family, but getting the nursery ready is mostly a matter of preference.
For some hopeful adoptive parents, a fully-decorated nursery is a source of hope and inspiration while they wait to be chosen by a birth mother. It’s a retreat where they can imagine the joy that will soon enter their lives. Other hopeful adoptive parents can’t bear the thought of passing an empty nursery each day. It can increase stress and anxiety during the waiting period.
As you consider your feelings about the nursery, it’s helpful to hear from others who have been in your situation. Here’s some advice from adoptive parents who were recently in your shoes.
Work at Your Own Pace
“We slowly worked on the room. When we felt drawn to it, we did. When we felt other things were on the top of the list, we didn’t stress.”
There’s no sense adding more stress to an adoption journey that may already be stressful and emotional. If getting the nursery ready before you have been matched will bring you joy, then go for it! If the thought of assembling the nursery makes you feel anxious, hold off until you are comfortable.
A Full-functioning Nursery Isn’t Necessary Right Away
“For all that time and money I did spend, she spent almost no time in her nursery until she was well over six months old.”
Many parents choose to keep their infants with them at night for the first few months. This can make those multiple nighttime feedings and diaper changes a little easier. It can also give you some security to know that your baby is only an arm’s length away. You probably won’t need a fully-functional nursery until your baby is around six months old.
Wait to Customize Your Nursery
“I have hesitated to decorate too much since our preferences are pretty open. I definitely have a lot saved on Pinterest and my Amazon wish list!”
If your preferences are open, you might want to hold off on paint colors and themes until you know your baby’s gender, cultural heritage, or if you’ll be welcoming twins or a sibling group into your family. But you can certainly start browsing now. Put together a wish list or start a registry that you can tweak once you are matched.
Keep Busy During the Wait
“Putting together a nursery was a great way to deal with the difficult wait. It gave me something to focus on.”
There are so many elements to the adoption process that are out of your hands. Getting the nursery ready can help you take some control and feel a sense of accomplishment. It can also help you satisfy the urge to nest and feel prepared for your baby to arrive.
Choose Hope Over Fear
“For me, personally, I find the completed room to be a place of hope! I go in there often to pray and even imagine the memories that will be made.”
While you can’t control everything about the adoption process, you can control your outlook. You can choose to be present and experience each moment as it comes. Your adoption may not happen within the timeline you hoped for, but you can still enjoy the preparation. Your nursery can provide the hope you need to fuel you through your adoption journey.
Be Ready for the Call
“We’ve had our nursery set up for a couple months and over a year since we started waiting for that special call. Do I get emotional seeing the nursery all set up but no baby? Of course! However, now we’re completely ready!”
You might be fortunate to have months to prepare for your new baby. However, some adoption matches are made in the final hour. If your nursery is ready to go, you won’t be caught off guard by a last-minute call.
Get the Nursery Ready When You’re Ready
There is no right or wrong time to get the nursery ready. As long as you have some essentials on hand, you can be ready even if your match is made at the last minute. Gather some general baby needs like a car seat, a crib or pack n’ play, diapers, wipes, and bottles after completing your adoption home study.
If now is not the right time to get your nursery ready, there are other things you can do during your waiting period to make you feel just as productive. Spend time researching pediatricians and child care options, or keep a journal to record your adoption journey. Decorating a nursery is not the only way to nest and prepare for your growing family. Search your heart, and make choices that will help you feel prepared, hopeful, and confident.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.