Adoption is a process filled with amazing highs and deep lows. When you first make the decision to adopt, your emotions will be flying high and you’ll be thinking of baby names and deciding how to decorate the nursery. Then the paperwork starts. And the wait. What should you expect in terms of highs and lows?

High – Small Successes with Paperwork. Adoption is one of the least tree-friendly processes in existence – the paperwork is endless! But each time you complete an application, survive a homestudy visit, or receive a needed form or certificate from an outside source, celebrate! These are the small successes that move you along the timeline towards your child.

Low – The Paperwork Frustration. Things will never move along as fast as you’d like. Your husband will drag his feet while completing his autobiography, your social worker will get the flu and cancel an appointment, or you’ll stalk the mailman for weeks hoping he has the last form you need to complete a dossier.

High - When you’re finally done ‘applying’ and you’ve moved to the ‘waiting’ stage, breathe a huge sigh of relief!

Low – Waiting bites. :) The wait can seem endless. Most times, your agency will provide an estimated time from waiting list to placement. Just as often, that target will move. Count down a monthly milestone – it’s important to feel like you’re making progress. But remember that an estimated placement date in adoption is nothing like a due date during pregnancy. No doctor is going to tell you you’re ‘overdue’ and induce your labor. Adoption has no set timeline and you’ll need to develop a level of patience you’ve never had before!

High – The referral. When you finally receive the phone call that your little one has been born or is waiting for you – WOW! There’s nothing like it. The day you see your child for the first time – whether in person or through photographs – is something you will remember always. The little one will immediately snatch a corner of your heart and never let go, making you remember exactly why you signed up for this rollercoaster ride in the first place.

Coming soon: Coping strategies during the wait.