The wait between going “active” and receiving your adoption opportunity call can be one of the most emotionally exhaustive times in your life. As a hopeful adoptive parent, you want nothing more than to finally have the baby you’ve been dreaming about. Waiting for “the call” is one of your last steps in your process — but it can also be one of the most difficult.
As you wait for the call, it’s a good idea to keep yourself busy. After all, a watched pot never boils — and a watched phone never rings. If you haven’t already, take a look at our guide to ideas for the wait here.
In all of the excitement for your future child, you might ask yourself: Should we start decorating our child’s nursery?
This can be a complicated decision. While the choice will always be up to you, dive into the pros and cons of each decision below.
The Case for Decorating a Nursery During the Adoption Wait
If you’ve reached the waiting period of your adoption journey, you’re so close to the end. You’ve completed all the paperwork, clearances and home study work you needed to do, and now you’re just waiting for the right prospective birth mother to see your profile.
Whether your wait is long or short, it can sometimes be difficult to keep yourself excited about the adoption process. Our specialists encourage adoptive parents to go about their lives as usual, but we know this can be difficult. You’re so close to your life changing forever!
While all parents want to be as prepared as possible for their new addition, some take the extra step of setting up their nurseries before they even receive an adoption opportunity. This can be a great way of “nesting” and getting ready for your future child. It can also help to keep you busy; by focusing on the fun steps of picking out furniture, baby clothes and toys, you may be less likely to focus on the emotional stress of the wait itself.
Don’t forget that anything can happen when it comes to adoption. While some parents are matched with a prospective birth mother early in her pregnancy, others are matched with pop-up adoption opportunities where a baby is already born! If you are likely to stress about being unprepared in case of a pop-up adoption, you might find that decorating a nursery and having everything in place helps you feel better about this possibility.
The Case Against Decorating a Nursery During the Adoption Wait
But, what can be helpful and productive for some can make the adoption process even harder for others.
Many adoptive parents have experienced some kind of infertility loss before starting the adoption process. Some have even set up nurseries in the past for a child that never came to be. Even though parents who adopt through American Adoptions will eventually be successful, it can be painful for hopeful parents to relive those memories by setting up a nursery or unpacking old baby supplies associated with their losses.
Similarly, setting up a nursery may be fun at first for some adoptive parents — but what was once fun can sometimes become a harsh reminder of the wait they’re going through to have a child. After a certain point, seeing an empty nursery may not get them excited at all. Instead, it may depress a hopeful parent to see their nursery still empty.
If you’re a hopeful adoptive parent, you will have already grieved your infertility losses prior to starting this family-building process. But infertility grief and loss is a lifelong journey, and you may find those feelings creeping back into your life during your wait to adopt. Sometimes, these feelings are aggravated by the emotions involved in setting up and decorating a nursery.
It’s important to always check in to your mental and emotional state during this time. Remember: Your adoption specialist will always be there if you need someone to talk to. Don’t ever hesitate to call them at 1-800-ADOPTION.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to decorate your nursery during your adoption wait will always be up to you. Before making any decisions, talk with your spouse (if applicable), and think back to how you’ve handled similar emotions in the past. There is no “right” answer for this dilemma — just what is the right answer for you.