For adoptive parents, the words adoption and anticipation are practically synonymous. You’ve started the process and you’re on your way to realizing your dream of a family. Your mind and heart skip to visions of the end result: The welcome home, the complete family, the normalcy of parenting – play dates, birthday parties, and school. Whether you’ve traveled along the road of fertility challenges, are a relative caregiver who was called upon to care for a child in your family, are
envisioning completing your family with an infant, are hoping to adopt a child from another country, or are adopting from foster care, there are so many variables that come into play which can potentially derail your envisioned adoption timeline.
Things like court proceedings, travel time, waiting on paperwork, waiting to be chosen, adoption falling through, or a combination of these and more, can hang up the process. While we may have little control on the external process, we can look within to establish a sense of peace and strength.
We hear more and more about mindfulness these days; this is another situation in which being mindful can be helpful and calming. Part of the process is accepting that there will be chaos; you will hit speed bumps or have times when you feel ruthlessly rushed or when you feel like you can’t wait one more day. Trying to refocus can help you accept those challenges as they come up and lead you to feeling calmer quicker. Practicing mindfulness might mean that you are able to navigate challenges more gracefully and with kindness for yourself. Remember – there may be bumps, but you are still on the road to your family.
Accepting the unpredictability and throwing your hands up in an attitude of “whatever will be, will be” certainly isn’t as easy as it sounds! But it is possible. Here are a few ways to help you get there:
- Self Care & Self Connection: Taking care of yourself and knowing when to give yourself a break are very important. If you push yourself relentlessly, you’re not going to have either the emotional or physical energy you may need to effectively navigate challenges. Taking time out to take care of yourself — perhaps by going for a nightly walk, carving out a half hour to read a book, treating yourself to a new movie, or other ways in which you can be kind to yourself — can reconnect you with your stores of energy and hope. You may find it easier to remember the notion that, “I am a rock – steady, strong, unmoving, no matter the wave that washes over me.” The adoption process can be frazzling; you may also find that seeking support and guidance from a counselor or a support group may be helpful, as well.
- Education: By learning all you can about the process, and all of the myriad and various ways that process sometimes looks, you can give yourself a better understanding of what to expect, as well as remind yourself more easily that challenges and set-backs may come up along the way. You can also learn more about ways that you might have a positive affect on the process, or tips on how to deal with delays or unexpected bends in the road.
- Support: The support of others can do wonders during tough times like these. It can mean having a person to hold us accountable when we slip into an unproductive, negative space. It can mean having a partner who is experiencing the challenges alongside us who truly understands the difficulty. It can also look like a group of strangers who have been in our shoes before, who can provide education, helpful tips, and hope. It might be a church group which helps us to connect with ourselves and our sense of faith. Or it can even be a group of friends who simply provide breaks of “normalcy.” And please remember, it can look like a phone call to our Resource Specialists, who can connect you with information, other adoptive parents, therapists, and more. (You can also reach us via email.) We’re always here to support and listen.
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