When you started the adoption process, you knew there was going to be a period of waiting involved. You knew that the home study would take several months, that you would need to be approved by an adoption agency, and that you must also wait some time for the right adoption match. You prepared for this moment, but now, with the holidays right around the corner, you are starting to get a bit discouraged. Maybe you pictured your child unwrapping presents under the tree this year. If you have experienced infertility, you might be reflecting on what you feel is missing in your family.
This is completely normal.
The holiday season is all about family – making memories and either continuing or creating traditions with the ones we love. For hopeful adoptive parents, however, this time of year can be especially tough. You want to enjoy this time with family, but also cannot help but feel like your family is incomplete. If you have started the adoption process and are waiting for a match this season, you are not alone.
Adoptions With Love wants you to know that you can (and will!) get through it. We can help.
Below we share several tips on what to do, how to stay positive, and how to get through the holiday season while you are waiting for adoption.
- Take advantage of this time with your loved ones. With the holiday season being such a family-focused time, it is normal to feel many different emotions as you wait for an adoption match. It can be easy to dwell on those feelings rather than focus on the people around you. Remember that this time is one to cherish with your loved ones. Spend time with your partner, extended family, best friends, and your children if you are already a parent. Surround yourself with people who make you smile, and make memories together. This time next year, your family may be even larger, but for now, it is important to focus on your relationships with those closest to you.
- Join support groups and meet with other waiting families. Joining a support group will allow you to get to know other families who are in similar shoes as you. Meeting with these families on a regular basis can be a great opportunity to talk through your feelings, ask questions, and get some extra advice and support.
- Read everything you can. Gather resources about adoption, raising adopted children, and on how to talk about adoption positively with others and your child. Do not forget to pick up some child care and development books, too, if you are becoming a first-time parent.
- Keep a journal. Journals are a great way to document your feelings and excitement throughout the adoption process. Written or video journals can also make great keepsakes for your child. If you are keeping a traditional journal, write down your thoughts, feelings, ideas, hopes and dreams in a way that can one day become a part of your child’s Lifebook. If you would like to keep a video journal, you can use it as an opportunity to talk to your child, tell stories, and express how excited you are for him or her to come home.
- Prepare your home. While you do not need to go out and buy a crib just yet, you can start preparing your home for a baby. The waiting period is a great time to tackle your to-do list, which might include some organization or home improvement projects you have been putting off. This might also include preparing your pets, as well, and making any anticipated changes to their routine prior to your baby’s arrival.
- Exercise. You will soon be lifting, carrying, bending, and running more than you have in ages, and doing it all while holding a baby. Try to get in-shape pre-parenthood! Exercise can also help enhance your mood and energy levels, especially if you are feeling extra stressed or anxious.
- Make self-care a priority. In addition to exercising, it is important that you eat well (and practice cooking nutritious meals), meditate, sing, dance, play, laugh, read, and/or pray. Do what makes you happy and brings a bit of peace to your day-to-day life. These will help you keep a positive attitude as you look forward to all the new adventures ahead.
- Do something for yourself. Whether it is spending a day at the spa, traveling to a new place, or taking up a new hobby, be sure to check something off your “someday” list. Once you become a parent, your schedule will get hectic. Do the things you want to do while you have the time now.
- Keep a focus on work. As a hopeful parent, you may be considering leaving your full-time job to stay at home with the baby once he or she is born. Until that time, however, we recommend continuing your daily routine and working as you normally would. Keeping busy with work can make waiting for adoption fly by, and can bring in some extra income before the baby arrives.
- While you are at it, find out your company’s “adoption leave” policy. Some employers will offer adoptive parents paid time off upon welcoming their child home. We recommend getting in touch with your supervisor or HR department, to learn about the possibility of taking a leave of absence (with or without pay) when the time comes.
- Explore local pediatricians and child care options. Before your baby is born, we recommend having a pediatrician (or an idea of who will be your child’s pediatrician) in place. Ask your friends, family, co-workers, and adoption agency for referrals. Find a doctor who you feel comfortable with, who is experienced and accepts your insurance, and whose hours and location align with your needs. If you are planning to return to work after your baby arrives, you may also do the same with local child care options. While you do not have to decide now, it can be beneficial to have these resources lined up (especially for those with wait lists).
- If this is your first child, take a parenting workshop or training sessions. In the state of Massachusetts, first-time adoptive parents are required to complete a parenting training course. As part of our adoptive parent services, Adoptions With Love offers pre-adoptive educational group seminars to help waiting parents prepare for their baby’s arrival.
- Most importantly, keep a positive attitude. Remember that adoption is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep a positive outlook and never lose hope throughout the adoption process. Adoptions With Love is dedicated to expanding your family through adoption. It will all be worth the wait.
For more tips on waiting for an adoption, please do not hesitate to reach out to Adoptions With Love. If you are a hopeful family in Massachusetts looking to start the adoption process, you may also call us at 617-964-4357. Stay tuned for our new eBook, “The Massachusetts Adoption Process: A Guide for Adoptive Parents” coming soon.