Adoption, adoptive parents, waiting

5 Ways to Cope for Waiting Families

Most families that adopt go through the waiting period, waiting to be put on the list, waiting for family to choose them, waiting for the finalization. Many of them went through their waiting period when trying to conceive a child before turning to adoption. All this waiting with an unknown future in the balance can be very daunting, so it’s important to have coping methods that work for you and your family.

Identifying Stress Symptoms

Stress manifests in different ways for different people. Some common symptoms are headaches, disrupted sleep schedule, and low energy. Along with these, it is not uncommon to feel moody and overwhelmed, lose or gain weight, and feel the need to avoid others. Some people have only one or two symptoms, while others may have multiple. Recognize them and break the stress cycle because once you feel stressed, it can be easy to stress over being stressed. All these symptoms are your body’s way of telling you to take some time to decompress and relax.

Coping Methods:

Stay goal-oriented

At the end of your adoption journey, you will have a new addition to your family. Maybe you do this by decorating the child’s future room or getting play toys. Perhaps it’s reading parenting books and working on becoming the parent you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let the wait distract you from what you are working towards: a bigger family.

Lean on your support system

It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Waiting is not easy on anyone, no matter the life circumstances. Make sure the people you rely on positively reinforce and support you. It’s hard enough to fight your doubts and negative thinking; you don’t need any more from people who are supposed to uplift you.

Keep busy

An inactive body leads to an inactive mind, and an inactive mind dwells and stews on what is out of its control. Hobbies are a great way to keep busy. Do what you love and use that extra free time to do what makes you happy. Once your child is officially a part of your family, you will have less time for yourself and your hobbies, so enjoy it while you have it. The waiting period isn’t forever. Make the most of your downtime.

Take time for self-care

Caring for a child takes up a lot of time. Take the time now to focus on yourself and your needs. Are you up to date on all your doctor’s appointments? Have you gotten that haircut you’ve been talking about for weeks? Did you visit your parents as you’ve meant to? Have you read that book collecting dust on your nightstand? Ensuring you are the healthiest, most capable version of yourself will go a long way once your child arrives.

Communicate your thoughts and feelings

Stress and not being able to cope can put a strain on relationships. It is essential you do not bottle up your emotions. Speak to someone, whether it be a professional or a trusted supporter. Being on the same page as your partner can help as well. You are both going through the same experience. Share how you’re feeling. Share the joys and burdens.  A couple with open communications fares better than those who assume. Another way to decompress is to keep a journal. It’ll help release the pent-up energy, and it’s something you can save and look back on once you have completed your adoption journey.

Stress and Coping Summary

Stress can turn a beautiful experience into something extraordinarily unpleasant, but only if you let it. Identifying your stress and its triggers allow you to cope and alleviate the symptoms. The best thing you can do is focus on improving your life in the present, so you can be prepared for your future, the one where you have a happy, complete family.

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