I want to be able to share something with you that I found very helpful to my adoption. Many other adoptive parents have taken this advice, so I think this could be very helpful for you too. There are always going to be ups and downs, good days and hard days in adoption, period. If anyone has said their adoption journey was simply blissful, they were either remembering the great outcome only now that they are holding their child’s hand or don’t want to focus on obstacles.
You can focus on your goal of becoming a parent through adoption while being prepared for challenges with my three tips:
1. Communicate With Your Spouse
Regularly communicate about your adoption with your spouse about everything: the “good, the bad, and the not so pretty.” If your spouse isn’t aware of the challenges you are going through, they can’t lend a helping hand. Share the fears and dreams you have for being a parent. Let them help you with all of your adoption to-do’s: getting your home study done, booking your profile photo session, completing paperwork, and scheduling time for an adoption video.
If you fail to share or to listen with your ears, eyes, and actions, one spouse can feel like they are on the outside. Don’t let your adoption plans drive a wedge between the two of you. Make sure to talk and then talk some more. My husband and I have a 20-minute debriefing and update on the happenings of the day on a regular basis. We find while cooking dinner is good.
2. Plan for One-on-One Time
Schedule a date night weekly for the two of you to enjoy each other without talking about the adoption. The process of adoption can consume you. I know this far too well first hand in my adoption and watching so many of my clients in route to being adoptive parents. Many parents-to-be are “type A” personalities (me too!) We are used to fast results and instant everything.
Be aware of this challenge. You need to connect with your spouse regularly because you are going through this journey to parenthood equally, even if one of you is doing more of the legwork. Schedule time together away from the adoption work: it will help ensure a happy journey together.
Make it happen by scheduling your first date night now. If you’re like us, there are many months of the year that a weekly date night out is close to impossible. An alternative we found and appreciate is a “date night in.” Order pizza or pick up Chinese food, and stream a movie on Netflix. Put your cell phones in the other room, away from where you’re relaxing. If needed, you can check them for urgent calls at the top of the hour.
3. Take a Look at Your Finances
Do your best to maintain ongoing communication regarding any areas and especially regarding financial matters in your adoption. If you haven’t already, start putting 10% or more of your income away monthly to build a safety net. Doing this for just a couple of months will help. Also, cut out trips to Starbucks and make coffee at home; it starts to add up.
When you’re in the adoption journey and into parenthood, you might be living with some cash-flow challenges. There are significant ups and downs financially in adoption as well as raising children. Do your best to soften the impact of expenses by staying in communication with your spouse and adoption professionals.
Marriages aren’t only made in heaven, they’re made here on earth with hard work, just like adoption and parenting. They all take a lot of focused work and aren’t always easy or fun. But, they produce amazing rewards also! Don’t let the waiting-to-adopt phase of adoption ruin your marriage. Other adoptive couples are generally going through the same challenges you are; it’s just part of the process. I feel that being aware and taking action helped me prepare for the needs that naturally come with being a parent. The extra effort to communicate, one-on-one time alone, and sacrifices to ease the financial aspects all help!
Do your part and as I like to say, “Watch God do His part.”
Bless you! Share your tips with us.
P.S. Remember, other people’s problems and lack of planning can unconsciously sidetrack us from God’s purpose for our lives. Don’t allow that to happen.
Break away from any distraction and stay focused on the vision and plan God has for your life. God is your biggest advocate. God wants you to succeed and is working in your life daily so you will succeed. Stay focused on the plan He has given you.