I tell most families that the hardest part of the adoption process is the waiting. During the waiting period, you can feel very powerless, and it’s challenging to feel like the adoption process is moving along.
At Adoption & Beyond, we encourage hopeful adoptive families to use the waiting period to educate themselves. One of the courses we require is the Infant Care Course by Valerie Trumbower from the New Parent’s Academy. As a postpartum doula, Valerie works in the homes of new families immediately after they bring their babies home.
Valerie’s journey with adoption began when she helped an adopting family through the “fourth trimester” or the time right after a baby is born until they are three months old. Helping this family during this transition, Valerie learned a lot about the importance and nuance of preparation for adoptive parents. For so many, the journey to adoption comes through infertility. Sitting in the standard classes for pregnant families can be extremely emotional and challenging. That’s one of the many reasons why Valerie created adoption-specific newborn care and resources for adoptive families.
In my conversation with Valerie, we talked about how you can educate yourself and what you can do during the waiting period while you have the time to prepare for your adoption placement. Here are her top tips:
Newborn care is very important, no matter how you come to parenthood. Educating yourself is such an important step in the parenthood and adoption process. Adopting parents deserve to prepare the same way as a family who is giving birth to a baby, but they often don’t have access to the same resources and opportunities as pregnant families. For example, many pregnant women will be prompted to find pediatricians and other medical resources at their own doctors’ appointments. Adopting parents don’t have access to the same steps in their journey to adoption. So instead, Valerie provides a pediatrician Q&A resource that hopeful parents can use during the waiting period to find the right pediatric care for their adopted child. After you’re matched, your life becomes a tailspin, so utilize the waiting time!
Bonding With a Baby
The idea of bonding with a baby that is not biologically your own is top of mind for many adopting families. If you aren’t sure how to interpret a baby’s cries or behavior, it can be easy to assume they’re upset because you’re not the birth mother. In reality, the baby is just communicating that she has a need that is currently going unmet. Valerie has several resources new parents can use to distinguish and interpret a baby’s cries. Having this information can prevent the internal spiral that can sometimes happen when you don’t understand these nuances.
The terms of your adoption might require you to stay in a hotel for the first few days with your newborn. With an interstate compact, families adopting over state lines are required to stay in that state for a period of time before they’re legally allowed to return home. This is an example of an adoption-specific scenario that hopeful adoptive families can begin preparing for now. Valerie equips adopting families with a packing list and helpful tips to make any hotel or short-term rental stay much more manageable.
Valerie also offers a 30-day “must have” list that hopeful adoptive parents can prioritize over a baby registry. There are so many costs associated with adoption that being strategic about your spending, and knowing what you absolutely need in the first 30 days, can make a big difference in setting you up for success. You also want to consider the revocation period. The first X number of days after a child is placed, in some states the birth parents still have the option to change their mind about the adoption. During this time, you don’t want to spend a ton of money until the adoption has officially gone through. To have someone else make the list of what you need removes the painful emotion of thinking through what happens if an adoption doesn’t go through.
NICU and Drug Exposure
Valerie is often asked about navigating the NICU as an adoptive parent and soothing a baby with drug exposure. The reality is that as a hopeful adoptive parent, you are preparing for a situation that you don’t know yet. The more general knowledge you obtain while you wait, the more prepared you will be to respond in real-time. You can always return to these resources as needed, but at least you know where to find support during an emotional and uncertain time. Googling this information can give you outdated or inaccurate information, and you definitely don’t want to “doom scroll” in such an emotionally heightened situation. Valerie’s course gives you access to an online support group where you can go with your questions in real-time.
The truth is, when you’re more prepared, you feel more comfortable. Education is power and control in a situation where you really have a limited amount of control. So while you wait, make educating yourself your main mission and goal.
To learn more about Valerie’s courses and resources like “Expecting 101: You’re Adopting” and her free workshop “7 Things Adoptive Parents Learn the First Week Home With the Baby,” visit Expecting 101…You’re Adopting! (newparentsacademy.com.
She’s also most active on Instagram: @newparentsacademy
To watch our full conversation, check out the YouTube video.
Also, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the adoption process, the ALL About Adoption course will help you navigate your next steps.
To learn more about the types of adoption, Adoption & Beyond’s mini-course is designed to help you discover all the different ways you can adopt, while also learning the requirements and next steps for each. Learn more here.
This blog post is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Our services are not financial, business or legal advice. The information presented here is not a guarantee that you will obtain any results or earn any money using our content. Adoption & Beyond, Inc. owns all copyrights to the materials presented here unless otherwise noted.