Adoption waiting periods are never easy, but we understand that many waiting families face particular challenges during the holiday season. Being around relatives you don’t see often and facing their questions and curiosity can be hard – as can be seeing your friends and family celebrating with their children. We hope that these tips and ideas can make your holiday season a little less stressful while you wait.
Stay Busy, But Not Overwhelmed
One of the best ways to keep your mind off your pending adoption is to keep yourself busy. Fortunately, the holiday season is one of the easiest times to busy yourself. Between decorating, making food, attending events, shopping, visiting, and traveling from place to place, it shouldn’t be too hard to find something to occupy your attention. If you are having trouble, ask a friend or relative if they need some help or company during their own holiday preparations.
However, don’t keep yourself so busy that you start feeling overwhelmed. Trading one source of stress for another isn’t productive, and it can make you feel even more burnt out and emotional. The goal is to keep yourself happily preoccupied, not desperately stressed.
Know and Acknowledge Your Feelings
It’s perfectly normal to feel a range of emotions during your adoption wait. Most parents feel a mixture of anticipation, nervousness, stress, and even fear. Furthermore, these feelings can be amplified by being in uncomfortable or awkward situations. Thus, you need to pay attention to how you are feeling and acknowledge how your feelings might affect your behavior, as well as how other people’s behavior may affect your feelings.
This could mean taking some time to talk to a therapist or counselor about your adoption, or it could mean taking a leave of absence from a family event you know will be stressful. There is no point putting yourself in an uncomfortable or painful situation for the benefit of others. Instead, take time to center yourself and recoup your emotions for what is really important – the arrival of your new child.
Practice What to Say
If you do choose to attend events and parties, there is a strong likelihood your family members or friends will ask you questions about your adoption, your family, or something else that isn’t entirely comfortable. For these situations it’s good to have an answer planned out in advance, and it’s also good to practice it beforehand to minimize the stress and discomfort.
Remember, your family and friends are mostly just curious – they probably don’t have any idea what kind of stress you’re under. The best thing to do in these cases is to stick to your script and to move on to another subject (or conversation partner) as soon as possible.
Focus on Yourself and Your Family
Remember, you and your spouse (as well as any children you already have) are a team, and you’re all in this process together. That means it’s important to be open with each other and to communicate in clear terms. Discuss what you will say, how to handle awkward situations, and what you’re OK or not OK with beforehand.
One good way to open these channels of communication is to do something special with just your “team.” Start a new tradition or take some time to be alone with your spouse or family in a low-stress environment. And remember to focus on each other’s health and wellness as well – make sure you’re eating well, getting enough sleep, and so on.
Get Help With Your Adoption Journey
If you’re not sure how to handle your wait during the holidays or you need some additional help and support, Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption is here for you. Our adoption agency is the oldest and most experienced agency in Oklahoma, with 117 years of continual service to our community. We can help you with every step of your adoption journey, from beginning to end. Call (405) 949-4200 today to learn more or visit our Facebook page for additional advice, ideas, and help.