As an adopting parent my suggestion is to get informed during the wait period! As your physical and emotional energy is precious at the moment and will be even more so when your baby arrives - Put down those books about adoption that are adding to your anxiety and focus your energy on specific information that can empower you. Here are some of the important Topics to consider and questions to ask yourself as a pre-adopt parent.
· How did you come to chose adoption? Normalizing and exploring your excitement and anxiety is important. What are your fantasies and fears about who is coming? Get in touch with the true positive and joyous intention for bringing a baby into your life.
· Preparation for becoming parents: How are you creating physical and emotional space for your child in your daily life: as an individual and as a family unit.
· Gaining some understanding of your strengths and skills as a parent are as important as understanding your parent traps and triggers. Make a list of both. How do you problem solve? How do you make decisions? How do you manage crisis? These are all important truths to know about yourself, that will prepare you for becoming a parent.
· As a couple (and individual) it is good to begin strong as a parent. Begin to practice and talk about and make parenting choices/decisions (together) before the baby arrives (the paperwork and making appointments during the process of adopting is an arena of great practice) ie. When your baby comes home will the baby be in a separate room sleeping or in your bedroom? How are you sharing the parenting responsibilities?
· Get your community Support on board. How are you preparing the community for your adopted child.
a) Extended family first. b) Who else? c) How will you introduce your adoption? What are your chosen limits on privacy?
· Baby care information/(take an infant CPR class). What do you need? Childcare: Initially, keep in mind bonding time with you, the parent, when considering childcare. It is useful to find someone who has some understanding of adoption, and is consistent, who can care for your baby when you are unable to do so due to going back to work. Try to take extended time off work to bond with your baby. An optimum amount is 3 months.
· Gain some information about how you can encourage a secure bonding and attachment with your child? (attachment focused parenting by Daniel Hughes is a good resource)
· Information about the New born brain and development. Even though it will cause some anxiety get some clear information about how drugs and alcohol impact the brain. Any lasting impact is unknown until the baby is older if your child has been exposed. However, becoming informed allows you to ask informed questions of your pediatrician when you have concerns.
· Open adoption What is it? (if that is what you are chosing) – Gain information so that you can discover what it means to you and your child? Begin to write down what it means to you.Become informed about adoption! This is an additional responsibility for adopting parents so you can advocate for your child,when many of life's situations calls for your support and guidance. Gain some understanding of the 7 core issues of adoption and their influences on individual and family development and times of transition. And lastly, spend time with a baby while you are waiting!