Arabella represents 1 of over 7,000 children welcomed as sons and daughters through Lifesong adoption support.
You have dotted all your i’s and crossed every t.
You crushed that pile of paperwork your adoption agency threw at you. You read books, watched webinars, talked to other adoptive parents, and you are ready. You are beyond ready to get on a plane and bring your child home.
Then you get the call, and the moment you have been dreaming about has an actual date. It is the moment where your dream will become a reality as you meet your child for the first time face-to-face. It’s a beautiful thing.
But it is also the moment where things get real and real can be hard. Really hard.
If you are getting ready for that moment, or struggling through the aftermath, I have one final adoption checklist for you to work through during the early days with your adopted child.
1. Be Flexible.
There are going to be hiccups and things are going to go wrong. Don’t worry when they do. Trust God and do your best to relax and go with the flow.
2. Lower your Expectations.
While the moment you meet your child might be picture-perfect, it probably won’t be. Expect tears. Expect resistance. Expect it to be hard. The higher your expectations are, the farther you will fall when reality doesn’t match up.
The moment you meet your child is the fulfillment of a long-awaited dream, but never forget it is made possible because of a profound loss in the life of your child. Be there for them, but don’t expect it to look a certain way. Neither of you need that kind of pressure.
3. Prioritize Self-Care
Adoption can be draining, especially in the early days. Make time for yourself. If you neglect yourself, you will not be able to fully care for your child. Bonding is important, but if you feel like you are drowning, make sure your child is with someone trusted and give yourself a night off.
Create daily moments of self-care. Make it a priority. It is an investment of time you and your child will not regret.
4. Find Someone to Talk With
When things don’t go as planned or when you experience feelings you were not expecting, it can be helpful to have a trusted friend you can share openly with. It needs to be someone who won’t judge you in your moments of weakness, who will listen and pray and walk along side you through the moments of hard and celebrate the moments of joy.
If you know other adoptive parents–people with first hand experience–consider prayerfully asking if they would be open to meeting periodically.
Sometimes a physical friend is not an option. Online groups of adoptive parents can also offer a sounding board. Whether in person or online, having someone to walk alongside you during this life transition can make a big difference.
Find verses from the Bible that apply, and pray them over yourself, your child, and your family. Pray for wisdom. Pray for strength. Pray for understanding. Pray for peace.
And, ask others to pray for you. Invite them in so they can lift you and your child up in both the hard things and the celebrations.
Remember that God called you to this place. He connected you with this child. He will never leave you or forsake you. He is with you in moments of joy and moments of despair. His grace is sufficient. He will see you through.
Finally, remember to give thanks for all of the beautiful messy moments that take place on this crazy roller coaster ride we call adoption.
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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Megan is a mom to six. She is also an avid reader. When she has time, she blogs at www.youngbooklove.com where she helps parents discover books their kids will fall for.