One Year Back in the Waiting Pool

Family Photo August 2019

As we’ve been back in the waiting pool for baby #2 just over a year now, I’m sharing a few (and by a few, I mean a lot) of thoughts on where I am with this process.

The hypocrisy

First, to all those who are rolling their eyes and ready to click away from this post because they don’t want to hear about how hard it is waiting for baby #2, I’ve been there. 100%. When we were waiting for baby #1, I had zero interest in hearing about how hard for people who were waiting for subsequent babies. So if you’re not in a place to read this post, please don’t. You need to protect your heart.

Why I’m writing this post anyway

I almost didn’t write this post because it still makes me feel like a hypocrite, given how many years I spent not wanting to read this type of post. But I’m writing it because this is where I am right now. Yes, life is 100 times better with one child. I don’t lay awake at night wondering if we’ll become parents and if not, why not. But it’s still tough when you don’t feel like your family is complete, and you have so much room in your heart for another child.

I’m also writing this post for the same reasons that I wrote my back in the waiting pool post a year ago, which are as follows.

  1. We continue to need a lot of prayers. I truly don’t believe that we’d be here with a two-year-old son and waiting for baby #2 without a wealth of prayer. We still need prayer. Every single day.
  2. You never know where or how you’ll make an adoption match. I’m sure it sounds completely crazy. Most of you are thinking, “I’ll never know anyone thinking about making an adoption plan.” But you might. Quite a few adoption matches happen through connections outside of adoption agencies.

Family Photo August 2019

The journey

Our journey for baby #2 has already looked very different from our journey for baby #1. We were extremely fortunate when we entered the waiting pool the first time around that we had an amazing, fully staffed team and lots of profile opportunities. We waited seven months for our son and knew a lot of other couples who adopted during that year. In the year that we’ve been back in the pool, the entire team has turned over, leaving multiple stretches with a less than fully staffed team, and there have been very few profile opportunities.

Significant staff turnover isn’t uncommon among smaller adoption agencies. However, it’s still been pretty disheartening, especially after our experience the first time around. Having a below capacity staff takes a toll on everyone, including the staff members. Quite a few of the couples we met early in the adoption process are either finished adopting or have transitioned to other avenues to growing their families. So our support within our agency has changed significantly. I’ve been very fortunate to develop an awesome network of adoptive mamas in the greater Milwaukee area. I still have them and their ongoing support through everything.

The misconceptions

There are a couple of common misconceptions about adoption that I’ve encountered on multiple occasions over the last year and want to address here.

“Is your adoption agency prioritizing other families over your family since you already have a child? Is that why you’re waiting longer?”

Nope. Some adoption agencies do have a prioritization hierarchy for waiting families and will prioritize by age, wait time, number of children, etc. We are working with agency that doesn’t give any prioritization. When the agency is working with an expectant couple, every family in the waiting pool receives the family’s information. Then we can decide if we’d like to have our profile materials shown to that couple.

There are some exceptions to this process, namely if the expectant couple has certain preferences. For example, a couple might feel strongly about having a family of a certain race. Or they might want to place a child in a home where there is already at least one child. In these situations, the couple’s preferences will be given priority which may affect which waiting families receive their information. In our agency, these situations are pretty rare.

“Did you have to make another one of those profile books? That’s fun. You’re so crafty and take such good pictures.”

Thank you. I know that people mean well when they make this sort of remark. First, yes, obviously, we had to make a new profile book. Now we have Tommy, so our story looks really different than it did when we were creating our first profile book in early 2017.

Second, if you think that making a profile book sounds like fun, I encourage you to try making a few pages of a book. See how long it takes you to collect even a handful of pictures you love that truly represent you and your family. Then add appropriate captions and a bit of additional commentary about your family. The process sounds really easy, I know. I assure you that it isn’t easy or fun. It’s difficult, time-consuming, and stressful.

Family Photo August 2019

On changing perspective

One of the biggest struggles I’ve had the further we’ve gotten into the wait is letting go of my own dreams. I always wanted two kids really close together in age. While it’s still possible that we’ll have two kids fairly close in age, it’s not what I always imagined. Having kids who aren’t really close in age has a lot of benefits. The older Tommy gets, the more I appreciate this concept. But it still isn’t what I really imagined.

Additionally, after there were so many profile opportunities the year Tommy was born, we got excited thinking that we might be able to adopt again that quickly. If we had adopted again that quickly and it went smoothly, it’s likely that we would have thought about three kids. We’ve never had a set number of kids we wanted. So all my dreams aren’t crushed if we have two kids. But it’s unlikely that we’ll go for a third unless something happens really soon. And I’m definitely struggling with that a bit.

I realize that this is more than a little ridiculous, especially since I never had my heart set on three kids. Many people change their perspective on how many kids they’ll have for all sorts of reasons out of their control, such as multiple miscarriages, pregnancy loss, and significant medical needs with their children. But it’s still tough watching that window close.

Family Photo August 2019

On waiting in general

I’m also struggling right now because we’re in an extended period of waiting without much to do. I haven’t written an update about our own adoption story since we weren’t back into the waiting pool because there hasn’t been anything significant to share. I finished nursery #2 over a year ago. We do complete training hours for our home study and update our home study annually. Otherwise, we don’t have any adoption tasks. I get regular traffic to the blog and to our adoption materials on the blog. So our web presence is pretty covered. And we’re just waiting.

I also need to stress the fact that while we’ve been back in the waiting pool for a year, we started trying to grow our family almost nine years ago. Counter to popular belief, the counter doesn’t start over when you have a child or adopt a child. In some ways, the wait is easier with one child. But in other ways, it’s not easier because we’ve spent that much longer still trying to grow our family.

More than anything, I’m ready to be done waiting and move onto the next chapter in my life. I’m so ready to just enjoy having kids. I don’t want to think anymore about what’s next with the process of growing our family. I want to have the experience of having at least one more baby. And then I can’t wait to watch them grow up together.

Family Photo August 2019

Finally, I may or may not have been waiting to write this post until we got our late summer family pictures back. Josh and Lindsay of Lichter Photography absolutely killed it. We have never had so much fun taking pictures, and it’s evidenced in the quality of their work. I’m so grateful to have these amazing photos of my little family.

To all those who are praying for our journey in parenthood and our continued desire to grow our family, who are asking how we’re really doing and wanting to hear the honest answer, and who provide amazing support for adoption in general, I am thankful beyond what I’ll ever be able to express in words. I truly don’t believe we’d be here today with a two-year-old son and back in the waiting pool for baby #2 without a ton of prayer. Your continued support means the world to us.

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