I honestly believe that one of the most difficult parts of the adoption journey is that waiting period between being matched with your child and receiving approval to travel and meet your son or daughter face to face. Weeks seem like months as you check off the number of days passed for each step of the process. And if their birthday or a big holiday passes in the meantime, the wait seems unbearable.
Well, I don’t have any miraculous words or tips to hasten the wait. But I do have something beneficial that you can be doing to bide the time. Get connected. There are Yahoo, Facebook, and various networking sites for nearly every province, city, special need, and even age group. You can gather information ranging from a province’s cultural preferences to SWI insights to expectations for the particular age range of your adopted child.
While waiting to adopt our 13-year-old, I gained an incredible amount of information and wisdom from an online group of families who had also adopted older children from China. From them, I learned what games and activities in which we could engage our tween without the struggle of the language barrier. I made notes on different habits or characteristics I might have to teach Caroline (which I would have already assumed she knew). But the most amazing blessing of all came simply from stumbling upon a question in the daily digest of group posts I have emailed to my account. A woman in England who had once managed a sponsorship program for Caroline’s orphanage was asking whether three particular children had ever been adopted. I was stunned to see that one of the Chinese names listed was our waiting daughter!
I immediately emailed the woman and informed her that we would be traveling that next month to bring home one of the girls she had inquired about. She confirmed the identity by emailing a picture to us. While she couldn’t send anything else until we were home and the adoption was finalized, it was worth the wait. We recently received a package full of pictures of our 13-year-old from over the years (the earliest picture seems to be from six years of age), periodic reports and updates from her foster family, and even two pieces of artwork that Caroline had made 5-6 years ago. What a priceless gift! My heart skips a beat when I imagine if I’d never known about these treasures from Caroline’s history. And if I hadn’t gotten connected with this particular networking group, I would never have known these remnants of her childhood were out there.
It might seem like a silly suggestion to “get connected.” However, it’s easy to focus only on your waiting child and what you know through paperwork and updates. It’s time-consuming making preparations for his or her arrival into your home. And sometimes online networking seems like a waste of time. But I urge you to check out any resources available to you because you never know what wisdom, surprises, or valued knowledge you might gain. Some information you discover may not be pleasant, but even hard-to-hear details can better prepare you to parent your new child. In the matter of adoption, ignorance isn’t typically bliss. Information and education is important and vital for both you and for your child…particularly down the road when they try to piece together their background. And you never know what incredible blessings or friends you might find in the process.