Surviving the Wait for Your Adopted Baby

Practical Things to Do

Update your health insurance. Call your human resources department or health insurance provider, and find out how to get your child covered under your current health plan. Check to see whether there's a waiting period before coverage begins, or whether there are other stipulations you'll need to be aware of.

Make out a will. If you don't have a will, have one drawn up; and if you have an existing will, be sure to update it so that your child is included from the day you adopt him. Also, be sure to name a guardian (or guardians) for your child, in case something happens to you.

Find out about your company's "adoption leave" policy. Some companies offer adoptive parents time off with pay, but many don't. Call your human resources department to learn about your company's policy, and speak to your supervisor about the possibility of taking a leave of absence, with or without pay.

Locate a pediatrician. Even before your child comes to live with you, it's a good idea to have a pediatrician in place. Ask friends, relatives, coworkers, and people at your adoption agency for referrals, and set up some exploratory appointments if possible. Some doctors charge for these "get-acquainted" visits; others don't. When searching for a pediatrician, look for a doctor whom you'll feel comfortable with, and who has experience with foreign-born babies (if you're adopting internationally), offers a convenient location and hours, and takes your insurance plan.

Explore child care. If you're planning to return to work after your baby arrives, start looking at child-care options now. While you don't have to make a final decision about which day-care center or situation you'll choose, you can get a sense of what's available -- and how much each option will cost. Also, be aware that some popular child-care centers have waiting lists that are several months long, so you may need to sign up even before your baby comes home.

Take a new-parent and/or CPR class. The more information you have about the practical aspects of baby care, the more confident you'll feel when your new baby arrives. Ask your adoption agency whether they offer a class for "expectant" adoptive parents or whether they can refer you to a course in your area.

Read books about parenting and adoption. There's a huge selection out there, so save some money by going to the library as well as to the bookstore. Ask other parents for books they recommend and turn to for advice time and again.

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