Waiting to Adopt . . . and Waiting and Waiting and Waiting


It’s the clichest of cliches to say, but here goes anyway: If you’d told me 10 months ago that I’d still be waiting to bring home baby #2, I wouldn’t have believed you. After all, we placed with our first daughter at the four month mark–and THAT felt like an eternity.

But I am not here to discuss what is an acceptable or even average waiting duration or the differences in waiting to adopt internationally compared to domestic adoption compared to foster-to-adopt. I think if you are waiting one month or 100, this fact remains: Waiting is difficult.

Waiting for BabyThe waiting period during our first adoption journey was especially tough. The unknowns not only of the adoption process, but also parenting in general made each twist and turn and weeks of no news stressful and precarious. This go around, I have handled the waiting period more gracefully, a.k.a. I have a three year old who occupies my time and brain power. Just understanding adoption and parenting more has enabled me to relax and not fret as much. (Key phrase: as much.)

Waiting to adopt is a marathon . . . a goal at the end you know will be beyond your wildest imagination, but it’s a marathon to get there. Not a marathon of activity, but a marathon of waiting. Plodding the every day. Trying to keep that mind from wandering.

For me, the hardest part of waiting is, in fact, keeping my thoughts on the here and now and what I know to be true. Often, I battle against this:

This is taking too long. Adoption will never happen. What if this or that is a sign? What if? Oh no.

This will work out. Just a bit longer. I can feel it in my bones. 

Should I email my case worker . . . just so she remembers we’re here . . . waiting? No, I shouldn’t. But maybe it’d be okay. Some news is something, right? Well, I don’t want her to think I’m a stalker.

Hello, God, are You there? Want to give me a quick peek into the future?

When that call or email does come from the case worker, another aspect of the waiting game reveals itself: The tidbits of information scenario. In international adoption, you may find out about progress in your application or even receive a match with a child. But you always want more info. And in domestic adoption, waiting families can encounter multiple situations where their profile books are shown. You wait for the agency to show your book. You wait for the response.  Wait. Wait. Wait. And if a match is made, you wait until 48 hours after the birth for placement. Wait. Wait. Wait.

Please know that I ADORE adoption, but as with most beautiful creations, the adoption journey has its hard moments, even weeks. Yet, what’s that saying? Good things come to those who wait.

So, if you are in the waiting season–whether waiting for a match, for placement, or even for a “positive” from that dern pee stick–know that it is okay to acknowledge the pain, the frustration, the scariness of it all. It’s okay to cry it out. It’s okay to wait.

You are not alone, friend. I’m right there waiting with ya.

As your family came to be, how did you handle the seasons of waiting?


  1. I never knew that I could check my email some many times in one day looking for any bit of information that our casework may send our way. The waiting is tough. I wonder if case workers really know how it makes us feel to see their name in our inbox.

  2. Thank you for this, Emily! We have been waiting, hoping for another miracle the last three years. We have also spent much of that time waiting for direction for His plans for our family. We had been a waiting family with Bethany Christian Services for about four months before we found out we would have Joel. When he was born, we would have to wait 6 months and start all over. After much, much prayer, about a year ago we started the adoption process, again, with a different agency, only to immediately sense a “Be still” from The Lord, so we stopped. After more prayer, we have begun the home study process to become resource parents. I don’t even know what to imagine of the road ahead. We’re just trying to put one foot in front of the other! I know that in times of waiting God has used music to minister to my heart. Francesca Battistelli’s “The Time In Between,” John Waller’s “While I’m Waiting,” Sidewalk Prophet’s “Help Me Find It,” and 1000 Generations’s “Fail Us Not” are just a few songs that God has used to infuse comfort and courage into my sometimes aching, waiting soul.

  3. I’ve been binge reading your posts this evening as I start to explore the adoption process. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for the last year and haven’t had any luck yet. We are interested in adopting regardless, so I’m starting to dig into when is the right time to start the process. We may get pregnant tomorrow…and then again we may not (and we’re OK with that). We know we want to adopt and the uncertainty and waiting is the hardest. Nice to read we’re not alone…in so many ways. Thank you for opening up your story and your heart.


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