The holidays are a time for celebration, happy moments, and spending time with loved ones. But for those who are waiting to adopt, the holidays may become a source of stress or a reminder of what is missing, and friends and family may not be able to understand. Waiting to adopt can be hard at any time during the year, but it is particularly difficult during the holiday season. Here are some helpful tips for navigating the holidays while you wait.
Avoid Things That Are Triggering
If you know that being around pregnant women and small children makes you upset, limit your time around them. The holidays are filled with social events, but you don’t have to show up to every one of them. Yes, you should attend your office party at work. But, it’s okay to skip the party hosted by your friend with a newborn baby if you don’t feel up to it.
Prepare Yourself for Uncomfortable Conversation
Holiday parties are filled with small talk. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself engaged in a conversation with someone you’ve never met before and are met with questions such as “how many children do you have?” Don’t let these conversations catch you off guard. Understand that these questions are bound to come up and prepare your responses ahead of time.
Sharing your feelings regarding your adoption process with family and friends can help to take some of the weight of your shoulders. If you haven’t shared with your friends and family that you are struggling to start a family or that you are trying to adopt, now is a good time to do so. Letting them know now will help them to be more sensitive towards your feelings and to avoid making remarks that may make you upset.
Get Support from Other Waiting Parents
Being surrounded by children and families during the holiday season may make you feel alone. Reaching out to other parents who are also waiting to adopt can help you to realize that you are not the only one experiencing these feelings. Your family and friends may not be able to understand your emotions, but other parents who are waiting to adopt will. Look into joining a waiting parent support group through your agency or connecting via online forums.
Do Something Special for Yourself
Some waiting parents may blame themselves for their inability to start a family. Remember that it is not your fault! Instead of beating yourself up about it, channel your energy into doing something nice for yourself. Have an extra glass of wine, buy yourself a gift, or take yourself out for a spa day.
Take a Breather
You have worked hard all year; you deserve to take a break. Taking a step back to think about things other than your adoption process can give you some time to relax and recharge. Hang out with friends, read a book, go to a family gathering. Remind yourself that you are not running away from the issue, but instead are giving yourself time to breath, and when you are ready to think about adoption again you will come back with a renewed perspective.
Remember That the Holidays Don’t Last Forever
Although it may feel like a foreboding time, remember that the holidays are really short and only come around once a year. Enjoy yourself and the time you get to spend with your loved ones because, before you know it, they will be over!