Preparing a bedroom for an adopted child is a bit of a controversial topic. Some adoption agencies actually recommend against the practice. Having been on the waiting side for many years, I know that it seems downright crazy to spend time and money on a hypothetical child. Why are we spending money on a crib when we’re due to replace our own bedroom furniture? Why am I painting an empty bedroom when I really need to clean the bathrooms? Believe me, every adoptive parent who has taken on the task of preparing a bedroom for an adopted child has had thoughts along these lines.
After sitting with empty bedroom space for years and finally taking the plunge to prepare a bedroom, I’m so glad that I did. Going through the process for the second time, it continues to be theraputic, even though, at times, it does still seem pretty crazy. Whether you’ve just started to think about adoption or you have a home study completed and are waiting for that phone call, I highly encourage you to think about preparing a bedroom for an adopted child for the following reasons.
It helps preserve your sanity.
Home decorating may sound like a weird type of therapy. Maybe not? There are a lot of reasons it might be theraputic. But when you read about waiting to have kids coping strategies and whatnot, painting isn’t usually on that list. Either way, doing something to prepare for a child that is 100% in your control does a lot for your sanity. There is so much about adoption that is completely out of your control, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Aside from a couple of obvious safety concerns, like providing a crib and putting covers on the outlets, you can decide what you do or don’t want to do with the bedroom and exactly what it will look like.
It gives you something do while you wait.
A lot of the wait for adoption is just that: waiting. You’ll spend weeks, or even months, at a time working on a home study or completing other adoption-related tasks, like making a profile book or Facebook page. But you’ll also have long stretches of time without any adoption tasks. Preparing a bedroom for an adopted child is perfect for filling that time. You’ll be doing something productive that frankly is a lot more fun than completing tons of tedious paperwork or getting fingerprinted.
It helps you feel better about the empty space in your home.
I have spent years with both empty bedrooms (or barely furnished bedrooms serving no real purpose) and decorated bedrooms without kids in them. Neither one feels great, I know. Using what is intended to be a kid’s bedroom someday as a guest bedroom, office, craft room, work out room, etc. may be easier to cope with than an empty bedroom or bedroom decorated for a kid. If you’ve just started trying to have kids or are taking a lengthy break between fertility treatments or before pursuing adoption, using a bedroom for another purpose is great and is almost guaranteed to be less depressing.
Once you have an active home study, I’d think about making the transition with the room, so you’re ready for your little one. If the process is overwhelming or is still depressing, take it slow. Or choose a task you’re excited to complete. If you don’t love furniture shopping but are looking forward to shopping for wall art, start with wall art.
It ensures the room is ready, so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.
Obviously, the adoption timeline can vary significantly from one adoption to the next. However, in many instances, you’re lucky to have a couple of weeks to prepare. A lot of adoptive parents only have a couple of days, sometimes even less. Two days is barely enough time to shop for new furniture or collect furniture donations, let alone paint and decorate. While you don’t need a fully decorated room to bring home your new child, it’s nice to have a beautiful room ready when you’ve waited so long for this child.
Starting early with the shopping and decorating process means you won’t be rushed and can enjoy it. Picking out everything you need in one or two marathon shopping days is sure to be overwhelming and stressful. Spacing out the shopping excursions and room preparation tasks over a couple of months will go much more smoothly.
Adoptive parents, how do you feel about preparing a bedroom for an adopted child?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic!