COVID-19 has turned the whole world upside down and has been with us longer than anyone expected. How has it affected your adoption plans? Chances are it did not help them. If anything, it might have extended the wait and placement times. What can you do while waiting?
1. Support Groups
Find a support group. Social media is a great place to find other LGBTQ families waiting to form their families through adoption. LGBTQ Adoption family formation is not something everyone understands. You may be feeling anxiety that others around you, family and friends, do not fully understand. Being an LGBTQ family, you may not want to explain or justify your family to anyone. Knowing you are not alone gives can give you a sense of comfort. Building an adoption community is important to feel supported during this time.
Continue to do your homework and have your doctors, evaluators, schools, and other service providers ready, so you are prepared for any needs that will arise when your child does come home. If your child is coming from a different country and will not know your language, learn some words and cuisine from their homeland. This helps with the adjustment and makes your home more multi-cultural, reflecting your family’s diversity.
3. Adoption Education
Continue to educate yourself on adoption themes. They are essential to your family once you are together. If you are going to be a trans-racial family, how are you preparing yourself and your child’s environment to accept them for who they are and how their skin color will affect them in your family? If the child is older from foster care or a foreign country, there will be trauma issues because they came from a difficult place. Now is an excellent time to join trainings and support groups for adoptive parents.
4. Work with your placement agency
Please work with your placement agency to contact your child if possible, so they know you are waiting for them. When you develop a relationship before placement, it will make the initial encounter easier.
Keep a written or video journal of your traditions and of things you hope to share with your child. You can share this with them afterward while waiting to let them know later how they were always on your mind. The journal can have questions you want to ask your child and things you want your child to know about you and the family they are entering, (“what are your holiday traditions?” “what are your family traditions?” etc.). Later it can become part of their life book, which is the story of their adoption and their family.
6. Positive Attitude
It can become frustrating and seem like forever from the start of the adoption process until your child comes home, especially in these trying times. Adopting is a lifelong process, and like everything, it will have its ups and downs, but as in all families, patience and a positive attitude help us get through the day with more ease.
7. Take care of you
Exercise, which is always vital in staying healthy both in body and spirit. Stay connected to others and responsibly socialize, call an old friend, organize a zoom party, read a good book, take a walk, sleep. Do things now because once your child arrives, you might not have the time.
Spence-Chapin has been supporting waiting families and LGBTQ families for over a century. To join a support group or get advice on your adoption, visit us at www.spence-chapin.org.