Waiting for an expectant mother to choose you as her baby’s parents is a nerve-wracking time for hopeful adoptive families. With American Adoptions, 75 percent of adoptive families are placed with a child within 1 to 12 months.

But an individual family’s wait time will differ due to a number of variables, and the wait can feel especially long if a couple has already waited a long time to decide to pursue adoption. So what do you do with the time spent waiting for the phone to ring with The Call, telling you that you’re a parent?

Get Organized to Whatever Extent You’re Comfortable With

There are usually two types of people: those who need to feel like they’re actively doing something during The Wait, and those who are afraid to prepare at all.

No matter what end of the scale you tend to lean towards, your adoption specialist is a great person to ask about how to best get organized and ready while you’re waiting for an adoption opportunity. They can also let you know what you don’t need to be preparing for right now.

For example, this can be a great chance to get the house baby-proofed, to update your will or life insurance policy, or prepare a gender-neutral nursery with the essentials. Over-preparing can leave many people feeling frustrated or sad, however. So amassing a closet full of clothes for the baby girl that you’ve been dreaming of might not best for your peace of mind while you wait. Don’t worry — you can get most stuff after your child is home, so it’s ok to focus on the basics. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable.

What you won’t have time to do after your child is home, though, is organize things like your emergency contact information, research pediatricians, find babysitters, and so on. Even finally tackling home projects like clearing out more space in the garage (you’ll need it for things like stroller storage!) will keep you productive without being hyper-focused on baby, and you’ll be glad you took care of it before you got The Call.

Take Time for Self-Care and Improvement

Don’t work out or eat healthy like you should? The adoption wait is actually the perfect time to start.

Post-parenthood, much of your focus shifts to the wellbeing of your child. But if you’re in the habit of taking good care of yourself, those healthy habits will hopefully continue into parenthood. Both you and your child will benefit. Your family needs you to take care of yourself, too!

This can mean something different for everyone. Here are just a few ways that you can take better care of yourself or improve yourself while you’re waiting for The Call:

  • Start working out regularly
  • Make healthier eating choices that you can continue after the adoption
  • Take time for relaxation, like meditation, yoga, a walk, or a bath
  • Spend lots of quality time with friends and family, especially those you don’t get to see as often
  • Pick up that stack of books you’ve been meaning to get to
  • Begin learning a language, musical instrument, or a skill that you’ve always wanted to explore

Turn taking better care of yourself into a hobby while you wait. It may seem silly now, but someday you’ll be glad you took the time to practice good habits for your own benefit before a new family member comes home.

Get Your Mind Off of Adoption

Easier said than done, right? But the thing that most parents say after their own adoption is complete is that they wish they had continued to live their lives as normally as possible while waiting for The Call.

Go out to eat. Go to the movies. Take a trip. Hang out with your friends.

When all that’s left to do is to wait for the phone to ring, all you can do is to go about your business. For some, it’s easier. That doesn’t mean that they’re not excited, too.

Much of the adoption process is out of your hands. There are many unknowns. For people who aren’t comfortable with not having control in a situation, this is particularly distressing. But part of adoption is releasing that need to control, and remembering that everything is going to work out ok!

Remember that if you need to talk to an adoption specialist, you can always call us at 1-800-ADOPTION.