Childbirth class is an essential part of preparing for the birth of a child, not only for the labor and delivery skills, but also for the unity that develops within expecting families. Couples learn what to expect during labor and delivery, then from their newborns and how to care for them. Great stuff.
While waiting, adoptive parents can follow the lead of pregnant women (and their partners) in getting ready for a new child. You can slow down your lives and take a look at any unhealthy patterns that you may want to change. Find opportunities in the communitiy to learn the nuts and bolts of baby care. Enroll in a childbirth class anyway - just for that reason. If you're uncomfortable in that setting, some adoption agencies run their own child care classes just for waiting adoptive parents. (just call Heart to Heart and request one!) Another option is to take a community college course on infant and child development
The waiting period is also a good time to become familiar with adoption issues and to discuss how to talk about adoption with your child and with people outside your family. Think about how birthparents might be addressed or included in your child's life. Consider carefully how information about your child's background will be discussed with him, and when.
As you think about these issues, you may discover that some parts of your child's adoption story seem distressing. You may find you have intense emotional reactions to imagined scenarios. Rather than saying, "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it," now is the time to explore the center of those feelings.
Adoptive parents often have many issues to resolve. They may not have even realized they were there - til it starts getting "real". There is the loss/grief of the biological child they never got to have. There are questions about identity, sadness at the concern of not being able to nurture a child from conception, and fear about whether the relationship with an adopted child will be a fulfilling one. And it's okay. Parents who acknowledge these issues and explore how to deal with them are in a better position to accept an adopted child as their own, to feel entitled to be their child's parents, and to honor their child's genetic influences and biological connections.I found it helpful - actually invaluable - to keep a journal during this time. Writing about my feelings - good or bad - helped me identify issues and work through them. And I was able to vent. Without judgment or fear. An adoptive parent support group can be a good place to share concerns and learn what to expect as you raise your child. This is also a time to shelve the "how-to-adopt" books and check out books about life as an adoptive family.
Communication is the key. Cuples often find that their relationship is stressed by the demands of infertility treatments and/or the adoption process. It's easy to move from focusing all your energy on conceiving a baby to focusing it on adopting a baby, but we forget our marital - and other - relationships in the process. This is a time to nurture each other. Set up a weekly "date" and keep it. Talk about parenting styles, discipline, religion, education, and other family issues. Adoption applications don't always explore these questions.