I’m a list-maker and I admit to it unabashedly. Highly motivated by intrinsic rewards, the euphoria of completing my To-Do’s is well worth the mockery I sometimes receive from my family. Not to mention that my list-making skills primed me for the paperchasing required by our adoption process! 

The only downfall of living by the list is: What do you do when the list is done? And in our adoption process, that point came all too quickly. I recall the purchase of neon pink Post-It notes and the prompt scattering of those little stickies across our countertop, my dossier binder, even the dashboard of the van. Reminding me to Dash To the Bank for NotarizationHustle to the Post Office for Overnight MailQuickly Contact the Clerk of Court for  Certified Birth Certificates! And so on. Before long, though, things on our end were done and we were left with a thinner, sadder stack of Post-Its – with virtually no purpose except to stare blankly, reminding me to just Hurry Up and Wait.
What follows is a sketchy To-Do List to be utilized by families facing the completely unpredictable wait of an adoption process. I’ve divided this post into two sections: The Practical and The Playful. My vision is that this could become a conversation of sorts, so veteran parents, please weigh in with your comments!
The Practical
          Make a will. Our agency required it, and the peace of mind is priceless.
          Contact your health insurance agency to determine protocol for adding a child. I cannot stress this enough; despite our preparedness, we had major issues resulting in costly, unnecessary charges after our child was home.
          Investigate child care options or (if bringing home an older child) schools and related services.
          Learn your child’s first language (if different from the language you presently speak) – or at least a few survival words/phrases. If you are bringing home an older child, try locating a local person who speaks your child’s first language. You’d be surprised by the availability of visiting college students who may be willing to assist your family after homecoming.
          Read books about adoption, the transition/attachment period, and general parenting. And then pensively consider that the books don’t hold all the answers. J
          Finish projects. Scrapbooking, remodeling, research – whatever it is, get it done. And when it’s done, start a new one just for the sake of busyness!
          Revamp your budget to include the new addition(s) to your family. Or, if you don’t have a budget, now’s a great time to practice sticking to one!
          Make necessary purchases. We paced ourselves with this, to stretch out the dollars and the entertainment value over time. Beds, car seats, clothes… the list of child-related paraphernalia lingers indefinitely.
          Join an adoption support network. We were incredibly blessed by the camaraderie formed through attending Katelyn’s Fund events, but we also made good use of our agency’s adoption forum as well as other online sites. Reach out to those who truly understand your journey.
          Journal or blog. Writing is extremely cathartic on both good and bad days.
          Search the Word. Meditating on His promises is incredibly encouraging. Certain portions of scripture became like mantras for us during difficult times with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We documented many of those verses that became special to us and now find ourselves passing them along to other waiting families.
The Playful
          Consider names.
          Decorate a bedroom.
          Learn about your child’s birth culture. (If applicable.)
          Go shopping! Don’t underestimate the power of retail therapy. J Find retailers with generous exchange/return policies and staple the receipts to the tags.
          Meet and talk with other adoptive families. Hear their stories, glean from their experiences, and (best of all) play with their adorable kids. Seeing others bring this journey to fruition is very encouraging.
          Learn about Lifebooks and start collecting special items for your child’s. We collected so many precious things along the way that we had to create a Lifebox for all of our son’s treasures!
          Schedule short getaways with your spouse and/or children. Enjoy this time, knowing that when your child comes home, some “cocooning” may be in order. We took several weekend trips (plus an impromptu vacation) to refresh and regroup. Each time we returned feeling spiritually rejuvenated.
          Enjoy an old hobby or start a new one.
          Exercise. A brisk walk does wonders to relieve stress!
          Journal or blog. Yes, it’s also a“practical” activity, but it can be great fun simultaneously!
          Encourage others. Turning my attention to others was a wonderful distraction. Getting involved in church activities or work projects serves dual purposes: helping someone else and empowering oneself.
The adoption process is a truly unparalleled game of “hurry up and wait”. But the wait is survivable, and it can even be enjoyable when we focus on the knowledge that His plan is perfect and His timing is flawless. 
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18