What to do while you wait

Today’s biweekly update from the Children’s Bridge included a good listing of things waiting families can do to help pass the time.  I thought I would share it for those who are in the (excruciating) waiting stage.  I’ve edited the  list slightly to make it more generic, but this list was created by Cathy Murphy from the Children’s Bridge.

Enroll in a language class
What language will your child be hearing or speaking when you receive them? It is a great comfort to your children if we can learn a few phrases or simple songs in their language to support them during their transition into your family. You may not learn to speak fluently but it will certainly enhance your understanding of your child’s culture.

Attend cultural events in your community and learn more about your child’s culture
Join in some of the celebrations for: Autumn Moon Festival, Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Race, Divali Festival of Lights, Kwanzaa, Day of the Republic (October 25) and Independence Day (December 16). Sign up for a cooking class and research and try recipes from your child’s country of origin.

Attend a families-in-waiting support group
Families-in-waiting support groups meet monthly in many cities across Canada. These groups provide you with the opportunity to meet others who can relate to your circumstances and provide support, networking and friendship while you wait! Sharing the wait with someone else who understands can be very helpful.

Find a “mentor” from the adoption community
They’ve gone through the process and can share their experiences with you. What were their joys and challenges during their adoption journey? How can their experience and friendship support you on your own adoption journey?

Read your Adoption and Parenting Resource Kit and books on adoption and parenting
This is when you have the time to sit back and relax with a good book.

Keep a journal
Write your emotions down in a journal. You can record your thoughts and feelings as well as some of the frustrations you will feel with the longer timelines.

Prepare for parenthood
Becoming an adoptive parent doesn’t happen over night but when it is time to travel to your child’s country you’ll want to be sure you’re ready. It’s never too early to look for a pediatrician or family doctor (the wait lists are long in Ontario). There is a list of International Adoption Clinics in the member’s section of the CB web site www.childrensbridge.com. What resources are in your neighborhood? Have you been to your local community playgroup or drop in centre?

The Children’s Bridge is always looking for volunteers to help support our pre and post adoption services. Consider giving some time to the CB Board of Directors or mentor other prospective adoptive families as a volunteer Regional Coordinator in your area.

Safety/childproof your home
Is your house childproof? Have you:

  • Installed outlet covers and plates on outlets?
  • Installed smoke detectors on every level of your home?
  • Used window guards, window stops or safety netting to prevent kids from falling out of windows?
  • Removed window blind cords that have loops, which can cause strangulation? Bought safety tassels to replace cord loops?
  • Installed door knob covers to keep children out of dangerous rooms (bathrooms, garage, office)?
  • Posted emergency numbers next to all phones?
  • Installed safety latches on all cupboards and airtight containers, including refrigerators?
  • Stored knives, sharp objects and heavy pans out of child’s reach?
  • Stored medications, detergents, soaps, alcohol and other hazardous items out of reach?
  • Used back burners when cooking, and remembered to turn handles away from counter edge?
  • Equiped faucets with anti-scalding devices? Also remember never to have hot drinks near children.
  • Latched trash compactor and dishwasher?
  • Ensured there is a fire extinguisher in the kitchen but not close to any heat sources?
  • Made sure trash can has lid and is inaccessible to children?
  • Ensured you have a safe cupboard (filled with wooden spoons, plastic cups and lids, and other harmless items) for your child to explore while you are cooking?
  • Used child safety gate to keep kids out of kitchen when you are not there?
  • Ensured you have a cordless phone to remain mobile with kids around and have at least one cell phone in house for use in emergencies when there is no electricity?

Finish Projects
Finish those home renovation projects such as painting, refinishing furniture or even renovating your home.

And last but definitely not least . . . look after yourself
You’ll need to find ways to deal with the stress of adopting and being in process. Exercise is a great stress reliever. Now may be the time to join that health club, sign up for a yoga or try a thai chi class. Who knows it just may make the wait more bearable! (And work with weights – your baby won’t necessarily be a 6lb tiny bundle – more likely a 20lb+ baby on the brink of toddlerhood. Your arms and back will thank you!)