I’m going to write some posts about for the waiting adoptive parents out there. We did not have a support group at our adoption agency and between the online courses that were mandatory, and the recommended courses, there wasn’t much that was actually useful. So I’m going to write about some useful tips you may want to consider. I’m going to assume you may have done the homestudy, profile and the ton of paperwork already. Each province, state, agency has their own guidelines for that sort of thing.
- First of all, if you’re not hell bent on experiencing pregnancy, you will not miss getting stretch marks, swollen ankles, nausea and throwing up, and stitches in places you don’t want them. Unless of course, you have all those to begin with. Ahem. You will get a child that you will love just as much as if you had pushed it through your hooha. If you have that book about what to expect in the first year, you should read it. It’s useful. Also go here for a crap load of information that will equally be as useful. But read Lori’s stuff first while you are in the endless wait because you won’t have much time after.
- You may or may want to start a nursery depending on your situation. I didn’t, but I waited almost 2 years so I’m pretty sure it would have just drove me nuts. But I did actually move into a bigger place so I had a room that was minimally furnished and I just made mental notes. The last thing I wanted to do after so many years of disappointment was a room full of baby stuff when I had no control over the outcome. That’s just me, though. Everyone is different and each journey is unique. You don’t need as much stuff as you think. I was so nervous about painting the room that my husband waited until I was away and when I saw it, my heart sang.
- Ours was an inter-country adoption (meaning we went to the States). So we had to fly several hundred miles. Frequent flyer points come in handy so stock up.
- When we got the call, I had a friend tell me what I needed and she brought some stuff over for us to pack in a suitcase. in fact, she had been putting stuff aside for me at her home. She gave me a baby sling, showed me how to use it, a ton of receiving blankets (to be rolled and used to tuck around baby in a carseat, burp cloths, etc.), 2 blankets, a newborn travel bed, some onesies, socks to be used over his hands at night, and some washcloths. That was about it. When we left the hospital with him, they shoved some formula, a soother, and a receiving blanket at us, told us to record his poo times and that was it. We googled quite a bit during the time we were away. Anything else we needed, we just bought at Target. We stayed at a hotel that had a kitchen, living room and bedroom so we were fine. We just took the car seat though as we carried him everywhere. I did regret not having the stroller we had bought on the way to the airport but we were travelling as light as possible. We had a couple of long, hectic days where we could have used it.
- When we finally got home, our friends came to the rescue and provided everything else. So you need a bassinet of sorts, diapers, formula and one of those warmers to keep the baby wipes warm. I thought it was ridiculous at first, but I grew to love it!!!! Babies dislike being wiped down with a cold anything. I also should have bought a bottle warmer, but I managed.
- There is a whole baby industry out there trying to shake every penny out of your wallet. You set foot in one of those swank baby stores and you are done. There is organic everything. For example, if you buy a baby carrier and want those little cotton pads that go on the front supposedly cause a baby may gum on them or drool on them, they come in regular cotton and organic cotton. The organic cotton is of course more expensive. Waste o’money but you will be faced with that choice in accessories each and every time. Unless they’re sucking on it for hours at a time, I don’t see how it matters. You will also see a ton of slings that promise to make you look like an African woman in the fields. They will come with booklets and instructional videos. Good luck! Also strollers – gack, don’t get me started. Some of them cost more than rent. Factor in where you live, where you walk, the type of weather you will be walking in, how to navigate aisles, if you take public transport, and of course, ease of use. The more expensive a stroller is, the more attachments you will want to make it actually functional for more than 10 minutes. For example, if you are paying $700 you should really get a cup holder for free, but you’re not going to, so there you have it. My friend had the popular top of the line one and she couldn’t carry much in it. Mine was about $400 cheaper and guess who ended up carrying her stuff? Also your child may outgrow it within the 2 years and you’ll need another. But you’re going to end up getting another smaller, lighter umbrella stroller to travel with or store in your trunk anyway. Just so you know.
- Now a word about adoptive breast feeding. I know breast is best, but I was in no space to go down that road. I also looked into breast milk banks could saw no possibility for those who have adopted. My best friend couldn’t pump enough for her own child never mind mine. But please do google it when you’re waiting and make an informed decision about it. I don’t have anything to offer in that arena. I do have to say that my son was incredibly healthy and to date has not had any serious illnesses or infections. He ate like a champ. What I can tell you about formula is that often the organic ones are made in the same facility as the regular ones. Some are better than others. Read the labels, do your research. It’s very enlightening. Also that means your partner can participate in the feedings. Nudge, nudge, honey, it’s 2am. Great bonding time.
- Warning: random people will be all over your child. You didn’t get to have that experience of having a big belly for people to comment on so it may come as a shock to you that people will pay a lot of attention. Babies are cute, they smell great (or should) and bring back pleasant memories for people and unsolicited advice. Catnip to seniors. I had an old woman climb out of the ocean after a swim, walk over to me and clamp her hand over my baby’s arm before I even knew it. Having a kid apparently means a woman is an open vessel for whatever falls out of people’s mouths. Most of it will be charming and delightful, but not all. It’s great to practice how you tell people about your adoption journey but remember all the details belong to you and your child and not the mentally disturbed rubby on the street. Remind me to tell you about that story one day.
- Stay at home for as long as you and your mate can. Bond with your child. Breathe her in, talk to her, hold her close. Put off company until you settle in. You deserve this time. You will experience a myriad of emotions. One of which will be exhaustion. You will be up at random hours and you can kiss a good night’s sleep goodbye for about 5 years. Seriously. Everyone says nap when the baby naps. Nobody does it, I didn’t, but you should. I did laundry, cleaned the house, made phone calls, I did a lot of staring. In the province of BC at least, you can get a home visit from the community nurse, call and schedule it. There’s a lot to know about immunizations and other resources, and you may have a lot of questions about the colour of poo. It’s better than waiting in a germy walk in clinic or having to wait for a doctor’s appointment. You didn’t have a midwife, so gather a support team of family and friends. Or a new mum’s group in the community. It may feel awkward at first, but they’ll be the only people who will listen to all the inane chatter that you will utter. You will obsess about everything little thing and now worry has a permanent place in your heart. Get used to it.
- Another topic of controversy – if you have a boy, to circumcise or not to circumcise. In this city, it’s another expensive la – di – da but unless it’s done in a hospital after birth, it’s another occasion to open a bottle of wine to soothe your nerves. And if you aren’t breastfeeding, you can drink wine. So there.
Stay tuned for more.