In Ask an Adoption Veteran, we offer you advice, tips, and insight from people who have been through the adoption process before. Today, we talked with American Adoptions executive director, Shawn Kane, who is an adoptive father himself. We got his input on a challenge that all adoptive parents can understand: making it through the wait time.
Q: How long did you wait for an adoption opportunity?
Shawn: We waited about a year. We started the process, and then we had three disruptions before we were able to adopt.
Q: What were you feeling during that time?
Shawn: The wait time is frustrating. Before that, you’ve got a flurry of paperwork and then the profile, so you’re nervous but excited at the same time. You have something to do. Looking back, that part was comparatively easy to when we were waiting. It’s hard. You have triggers throughout the day – other people and their kids, friends getting pregnant – things that remind you of what you’re going through.
Q: What did you do to stay sane during that time?
Shawn: Well, in our situation, we had a son, so that kept us busy. Tips for other people might be just sticking with your routines, volunteering your time, and spending time with your family and friends.
Q: Did you and your wife handle the wait differently?
Shawn: Definitely. I probably internalized things and didn’t talk as much. Amy had some stress and guilt that came from the fact that we’d had miscarriages before. I think she felt some regret – like she had failed the family – but I never felt that way. She probably talked more about it and confided in me.
Q: How did you feel after finding your adoption opportunity?
Shawn: Initially, we got excited. But then the level of anticipation increases and intensifies as you wait for the due date. It’s on your mind even more. You would think that it would get better, but now it’s more tangible. Then there’s more stress when the baby’s born, because there’s a revocation period and birth father issues to sort out. It’s not until you get to finalization day that you really feel that sense of relief and completion. You finally got to the finish line.
Stay tuned for future “Ask an Adoption Veteran” segments, where we will cover topics like home studies, parenting adopted children, and more.