By Renata Sledge
While preparing for the birth of our daughter, my husband and I experienced the same exciting planning that all new parents do; what should we name her, how should we decorate the nursery, will she sleep in our room, will we make her food, should we find a day care and if so, which one?
One month to prepare for a new baby
Our experience was different from many parents in one crucial way, we had less than one month to decide all of this as our family has grown through adoption. On one hand we need to prepare and “nest” as an appropriate developmental response to parenting, on the other, we have an attorney and social worker encouraging us to “nest carefully” in case something changes.
Calling day cares…
In preparation for Clara’s birth, I called several day cares in our community. I asked to tour several and identified the facilities that matched my expectation for day care (as Deborah’s niece, my expectations are quite high).
Unfortunately, as I was not pregnant and we could not predict an unexpected birth, we were not able to be placed on a wait list at any facility. Adoption, by its nature, is full of surprises, we could not plan and therefore, waitlists were not appropriate. This was my first (though in hindsight very obvious) clue that our first year in day care will be different from the experience of my friends.
After Clara was born and we decided that we would use a day care, we started calling centers again. I was surprised by some of the responses of the centers. One provider actually laughed when I told her the date we needed saying, “Honey, you have to plan for these things.” I thanked her and crossed her off my list (and several lists of my friends). It became clear my “ideal” for day care was not going happen; at least for the first year.
Adoption challenges parents to be very flexible and public in the very private decision of growing a family. I was surprised that yet another way I would have to be flexible and reconsider my goals was with childcare. Ultimately, we found a provider that gave what we believed Clara needed for the moment, and continued to look for our ideal center.
What child care centers can consider…
I have listed below some things a center can consider when a family growing through adoption calls:
- Consider modifying waitlists in such a way to be friendly to families who grow through adoption.
- Most employers do not provide leave for adoption which means some families will have to think and act quickly.
- There are many types of adoption and adoption experiences (domestic, international/intercountry, open, closed, foster, family). Each experience is different so it is best to ask questions rather than assume.
- In many cases, the child will not have a birth certificate, social security card or even final adoption decree. (Review state regulations for required documentation).
Are you a working parent seeking adoption?
To learn more about employee benefits and rights for parents who adopt see the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
First post in this series: Adoption is Mysterious and Miraculous
Next up: Parent/Teacher Talk