Monday, July 31, 2017


If you were pregnant, you'd probably spend time getting a baby's room ready. You'd be painting and decorating and shopping for baby furniture. But for those adopting and who remain uncertain of the final outcome of the process, the thought of preparing the room is fraught with apprehension. Add to that the reality that many families have used the extra space, if they have any, as a guest room, office or even storage area. 

Many infants stay in their parents' room for the first few months until they sleep through the night. Add to that the reality that due to high rents, families in urban environments don't plan to move until they are in need more space. Many families in suburban or rural areas don't set up rooms until the child is actually in their home. For a family, who does not yet have a separate room for a child when the homestudy is done, I explore their plans with them. Where will the child initially sleep? Will they be creating a space for the child in the current home? Do they plan on moving and, if so, when and to what neighborhood or community?

While a room may not be decorated before the child’s arrival, there are ways to prepare. Plan to do any home renovations and painting ahead of time. You can pre-order a crib, changing table and other baby furniture and ask the store to hold it until you are ready for delivery. Stores selling baby items are aware of this option and are willing to cooperate. You can set up an order of diapers, formula and other infant care products through an online store by placing it in your shopping cart wish list. These orders can be shipped to you once needed. You can have them delivered to a family, friend or neighbor’s house to be picked up or brought to your home while you are picking up your child on the day you arrive home.

The afternoon before I was to fly out to meet my older daughter, the adoption agency called me. They had forgotten to ask for photos of our home and the baby's room. We had not prepared it as there had been disappointments along our adoption journey, and she was going to sleep in our room for at least a few weeks. I panicked and called my husband, telling him to come home quickly with 2 cans of white paint. We painted half the room, took pictures of that side while the paint was still wet and then repeated the other half of the room. Photos taken and passed off to FedEx, we sank into the couch exhausted. The next morning, we flew out and brought our daughter home. Years later, I told the story to the adoption agency director, who laughed and said I should have just taken pictures of the room as it was, boxes and all. 

In all the years I have done homestudies, I have never forgotten my own experience and have explored the apprehensions and superstitions of other singles and couples starting the adoption process. I spend some time discussing their plans with them. After a child is placed and I return for the post placement visits to see how everyone is doing, we review the living arrangements. Some children already have a fully decorated room, some rooms are partially decorated and others are still being planned. With all the variations on creative use of space I have seen over the years, I sometimes even offer suggestions.

You have enough to worry about during your adoption process but you should ask your social worker or placement agency whether you need to set up a room for your baby. Many feel as I do, that you will do this once you are sure of a child coming home. That you are eagerly looking forward to doing so, but nerves are getting in the way. Dream about the room, the furniture, decorations, wall decals or murals, filling it with toys, books and more. Envision the closet and dresser full of clothes and diapers, the bathroom with a baby bath and baby care products. Your home filled with all sorts of baby equipment and toys. It will happen.

Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. Through her private practice and agency affiliations, she has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled expectant, birth, pre/post adoptive parents and adopted persons, as well as trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program of JCCA and a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series and is currently a member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood and active in the Adoptive Parents Committee in New York. Her blogs and written contributions can be seen throughout the Internet, including her BLOG and as Head Writer for ADOPTION.NET  She was named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. You can reach her directly at EMAIL