Be Prepared–What to Do While You Wait

No matter how long your adoption process is, it’s a long wait. Ours was only six months, but it was without a doubt the longest six months of my life. Everyone has a different way to pass the time. Some enjoy their time as a family of X (whatever size family they are now), knowing it will never the same again; others try not to think about or count the days of waiting; still others use the time to prepare and educate.

I was the educate and prepare type, with a little of the enjoy our last moments as just a couple (at least until J goes to college). And I really do think it’s the best way to pass the time. I’ve said it before, but will say it again–parenting an adopted child IS NOT the same as parenting a biological child. That means, even if you’ve already had children, you need to educate yourself about parenting an adopted child. And more than likely, you’ll need to continue educating yourself over the years of bring up this child who came into your lives through adoption.

So reading is one great way to educate yourself  and pass the time while you’re waiting. Learn about attachment and try to understand the losses of adoption. I read many adoption and attachment books while we were waiting. My favorite then was Becoming a Family by Lark Eschleman. But now my favorite adoption book, the one I consider a must read, is Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen. This one will teach you about grieving, regression, attachment, and how children deal with trauma; give ideas to help your child; and will take you through your child’s teen years in understanding how adoption may continue to affect their lives.

Here are a couple of more titles to add to your reading list, if you’re so inclined. I’ve only recently discovered Patricia Irwin Johnston. She has several books that she’s written over the years. A couple of them have been combined recently into a new title, Adopting: Sound Choices, Strong Families. It’s very comprehensive in helping you prepare to bring home a child. (She’s also written Adoption is a Family Affair: What Relatives and Friends Must Know. I haven’t read this one yet but I’m intrigued by the title.) Some other titles are listed on the page linked at the top of this blog.

Learn about your child’s birth culture. This is a great, interesting way to pass the time because if you’re like us, you don’t know much about a different culture. We’ve truly fallen in love with Korea and now would love to live there. Take language lessons. At the very least, learn some key phrases and/or songs. Check out YouTube. There you’ll may find clips that will help you learn, especially songs. If you’re adopting from Korea, check out one of my previous posts. It links to several Korean songs on YouTube. Search your local library for a program like the Rosetta Stone or see if there are language lessons given in your area.

Make connections with local community that represents your child’s birth culture. Culture is so much more than just traditional festivals and food. Probably the most important thing you can do for your child is have people in your life who look like your child will look. These are the friends and mentors who will help your child navigate being an ethnic minority in America. I must admit that this is one area where we’re really lacking. It’s hard to make connections. If you’re religious, finding a diverse church can help. See if your community has a culture center where you can make connections.

And, of course, you’ll be doing all of the normal new baby preparations, like buying diapers and preparing the nursery. Ask any family who has waited for an adopted and they’ll tell you that no matter what you do to pass the time, it will still seem to go slowly. But if you do the things on this list, you’ll be so much better prepared to parent your child once he’s home–once the time for reading and learning is curtailed for a time. And you’ll be so glad you did.

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My Korean Culture Blog

Just a reminder that if you want to learn more about Korean culture (both traditional and pop culture), language resources, and cooking, check out my other blog: thekoreanway.wordpress.com It's filled with resources for adoptive families or anyone interested in Korean culture.

Favorite Korean Movies-TV Shows

Be Strong, Geum-Soon
Please Teach Me English
Spy Girl
Tae Gu Ki
2009 Lost Memories

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2worlds1familyblog at gmail dot com

It’s a Small World After All

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