Waiting. The sheer thought of it is boring. Waiting in line. Waiting for test results. Waiting for prayers to be answered. Waiting for dreams to come true. Waiting for “this to shall pass” because, whatever it is, it sucks. I feel like God put me in “Waiting Boot Camp” several times in my life.
Waiting to meet the man of my dreams.
Waiting to become a mother.
Waiting to see if and when we will be blessed with another child.
The latter is where I am now. The first time, I didn’t play “the waiting game” right. The second time I learned a few positive ways to cope. This time around, I’m waiting better than I did before. Hopefully the lessons I’ve learned will help you not just get through the waiting, but enjoy the journey (as much as possible). Here are “the lessons” that I am following so I spend less time sulking (I did a lot of sulking), and more time believing that whatever “it” is, it will happen.
Lesson # 1: Stop obsessing about money. Yes, adoption is expensive, and yes, you’ll have to have some kind of financial plan. However, OBSESSING over money can lead you to not do things that will be good to do in the mean time. Find a balance. Take a trip – one you can afford. I would have loved to gone to Italy, but instead we planned a trip to a bed and breakfast about an hour away. We got a great room with a great view. We had a wine and cheese dish delivered to our room. I pretended to be in Italy. It was great.
Lesson# 2: Make TWO bucket lists – or THREE even. When I was single, the only things I thought I wanted to do ever were with a boyfriend or a fiancé or a husband. Did I think I would always want to do couples things and never have a girls’ night (or day) out??? When I was waiting to become a mom, I think I daydreamed about going to a pumpkin patch with my child every day. Every.single.day. Why was I obsessed with the pumpkin patch? Ok, it is awesome and I’ll probably take Xavier twice this year at least – but, I should not have fixated on events and adventures that were family oriented. When Matt and I first were married, we started to talk about hiking along the coast of Maine. It still sounds awesome to me. However, Matt has recently discovered that he has a fear of heights, and often experiences vertigo along with it. I still want to hike the coast of Maine – but I think Matt’s out on that one. Why did I not hike more before I met him? My point is – have separate bucket lists – and attempt to check some things off while you wait.
“As a couple” Bucket List- Go to the movies, go out to dinner, Go away for a weekend, etc., ski, parasail, go to Italy
“As a family” Bucket List- Pumpkin patch, Disney world.
Bucket List for you (with or without somebody else!)– Hike the coast of Maine, Go to Italy, Disney World
Lesson # 3: Keep praying. Go to adoration – and if your there for a whole hour crying and don’t say one prayer – that’s ok. Longing for someone can really be tough, and it’s okay to be sad sometimes. Just try not to let it linger all day, every day. Ask the Lord for what you want specifically. Write him a big long detailed letter. Light a candle in a church. Ask other people to pray for you. Ask nuns, priests, friends, family, saints. But also include gratitude in your prayers. My friend once told me to think of five things I am grateful for every night. There were nights when I was so down I could only think of three – so than think of three. There were times were things like “Sprite” were on my list. Whatever. Honestly, I have been doing this for most of this year. I’m almost always thankful for my bed. I love my bed. Whatever it is that you can feel thankful for – think of it . . . and thank God for it.
Lesson #4: Read books and stories that will make you laugh and lift your spirits. This is something I found great comfort in when we waited to adopt the first time around. I loved reading books like Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen and other editions that told stories of hope and answered prayers. After we adopted our son, I read the book Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos. I love this book. Nia tells her story about how she became famous and how she became a mom, and neither journey was even close to being easy. Nia is a riot! She cracked me up, but also shared moments that will really touch your heart. Plus she tells the story like your sitting across from her having coffee. I honestly felt like we were bff’s after I read the book. Laughter is the best medicine! I don’t get to read much, but I hope to read books by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. And if you’re to tired to read, watch an entire stand up of Brian Regan – he’s hilarious!
Lesson #5: Enroll in a class or a degree program. I am so thankful I did this before I was a mom! After being married a couple years I decided I really should get my Master’s Degree. I was looking into a program for Reading Specialist when I also discovered a graduate history program. After thinking about both, I decided it was important for me to enjoy the journey. Reading and studying history was much more appealing to me than reading about reading. I’m not sure I can express how happy I am that I did this. We had intense reading assignments – which were great distractions from whatever I was going through. Going to class was like belonging to a book club. I loved it, and when Xavier was a baby – I finally finished. I am so happy and grateful that I not only earned a Master’s Degree, but I enjoyed working for it as well.
Lesson #6: Don’t stop running, or doing Zumba, or kickboxing, or swimming, or whatever exercise you can somewhat enjoy. We all need exercise. I recently saw a shirt that says, “I run to burn off the crazy”. I need this shirt. This is why I run. It really helps my mental health as well as my physical health. I still need to remind myself to do this more. If I could go back to being pre-mom Amy, I would also smack myself at my “Awww, all the babies in running strollers”. Guess what. Running with a stroller isn’t as fun as running alone (as far as running is “fun” to begin with anyway).
Lesson #7: Listen to other people’s advice. Now, trust me, I understand. If one more person told me I needed to relax I may have punched them . . .but, let’s be honest . . . I do need to relax. People are annoying, but often it comes from a good place. Try to walk away with something you can actually apply to your life. Remember when I talked about wanting to hike? Well, when I was single and depressed I went to counseling. My therapist encouraged me to join this group known as the Sierra club. You know what they do a lot of? Hiking. When my therapist suggested this I thought, (now read this very sarcastically) “ok, yeah, sure.” Should of done it.
Lesson #8: Work at something you can feel passionate about. I am so grateful that I was a teacher for fourteen years. I really enjoyed the subjects I taught and creating unique lessons and fun ways to teach. I was able to lose myself in my work. If I worked at a job that didn’t ignite that fire in me, I know I would have had a rougher time. If your job doesn’t exactly “light your fire”, find somewhere that can use a volunteer. If you are waiting to adopt, try places where you may make a connection – but even if you don’t, you’ll make a difference in someone’s life. Drug and rehab facilities often need volunteers, crisis pregnancy centers and Project Cuddle – which is seeking to be a national organization- are just some places that may really need someone just like you. If none of this “floats” your boat – try transforming a space or room in your home. After our fourth failed match, I lost myself in sprucing up our patio. It really was a good distraction and I felt productive when it was done.
Lesson #9: Since this article is geared toward waiting for a child through adoption, I strongly suggest spiritually adopting a baby. Our family did this and I am so convinced that this prayer works that I am going to write a whole different article on it. I know going through infertility is tough, and wanting to be a mom or dad so badly is painful. But our cross is not the cross of a young woman considering abortion. Where ever someone is that is planning to abort, she is not in a good place. It’s not happy or joyous. Whatever she is going through – she needs prayers too. The spiritual adoption is prayer is short and sweet – so it’s easy to add another thought of hope for the mother as well. The following link will bring you to a download. We printed it, filled it out and hung it on our refrigerator. It reminds us to pray it right after Grace Before Meals at dinner.
Spiritual Adoption Prayer
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg of you to spare the life of (give the baby a name), the unborn baby I have spiritually adopted, who is in danger of abortion. Amen.” —Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
In case you want to read more about how powerful this prayer is:
Of course, these are just lessons I have learned . . . so far. If you have some advice to share on how to “wait more gracefully”, please, share! Adoptive parents have a road only other adoptive parents understand. But please believe, good things come to those who wait!