Those choosing to adopt a child for the first time often have no idea what to expect. The staff at MLJ Adoptions try to answer every question as fully as possible, but often with adoption, especially intercountry adoption there is not an exact answer to give. Laws may change, governments may change, fees may change, flights may change, and all of these things (and more) are out of our control. Adoption can be a journey that is made easier by faith, hope, flexibility, and a sense of humor.
You can expect to feel overwhelmed at some point. There are many steps involved, much to gather, and lots of forms (this is a legal process where we work with multiple governments with international adoption). We make every effort to give you the information you need at the moment you need it and then break it into manageable steps. Take your time to read things carefully. The answer to your question is likely in front of you. It is also important to know what you are signing. If you get overwhelmed by the information presented, take a break and come back to it later rather than starting to skim or giving up. Or you can start at the beginning and follow directions one paragraph or sentence at a time. It may be tempting to work ahead, but timing can be important in this journey. When taking on tasks that require several steps, such as gathering the documentation needed for your home study, it may help to divide and conquer - delegate certain tasks to one parent or the other.
You can expect some stress as you deal with things that are out of your control. Part of our educational program (http://www.mljadoptions.com/Homestudy.aspx) discusses how to manage stress as you wait, prepare, and adjust to life with a child. Further information and tools can be found on my website (http://www.brooke-randolph.com/Courses.aspx). Make sure that you are taking care of your physical health, and your mental health will benefit. Take deep breaths and learn to quiet your mind. Utilize your support team and find as many reasons to laugh as possible. It is perfectly ok to have questions or concerns.
You can expect to discover how adoption has touched the lives of many around you. It is amazing how much you learn from and about others when you talk about the things you experience and the things about which you are passionate. You can expect to be blessed by those who want to support you through this journey. However, there will be people who do not understand. However, there will be many who will be excited for you. You can expect opportunities to grow, to learn about yourself, to make new friends, and to discover new passions.
The majority of the time everything works out wonderfully; however, there may be unknowns and complications along the journey. If you can keep your expectations low, you are more likely to be pleasantly surprised. At the end you will have a wonderful story to share with others, including your new child.