By Kathryn Connors, Team Lead, Adopt4Life
I know what your thinking, self care and the holidays? Ha! For some of you, you may be celebrating another holiday season as you wait to become adopt-ready, you might just be starting your adoption journey with excitement and lets be honest, a little overwhelmed.
For others, you have been waiting, and trying hard not to get sucked into the “this will be your last holiday without a child” mentality.
Or perhaps, you have been matched and are awaiting further meeting or to start the transition process.
Regardless of where you are as an awaiting parent, the holidays can be a very hard time for so many. I remember clearly going through the holidays as an awaiting parent, trying to avoid those looming questions from family and friends and trying to stay afloat as I watch my friends and family posting pictures and sharing their memories of holiday traditions with their children.
So here is my personal list of how I did self-care as an awaiting parent!
Set Limits! Yep, your heard me, its OK to say NO! Don’t think you can handle going to another family party where you’ll be bombarded with questions on what’s happening, or have to sit through hearing horror story’s about a friends cousins former roommate who adopted a child who ended up in juvenile detection? Its ok to make an appearance, then politely leave, its ok to say that you aren’t able to make the kids holiday cookie baking party, and its ok to not have to explain yourself. Finding a balance and knowing your own personal limits is key to self care
Do something Just for you! Sounds easy? Its so easy to get wrapped into the waiting game that its easy to lose sight of yourself, your interests and needs. Need a day trip away? Spend an afternoon locked in your room watching re-runs or Gilmour Girls and eating all the chocolate you found on sale at Walmart? Go for it! You DESERVE it! No explanation needed. At some point in the near future, you will completely consumed by the existence of another little (or maybe not so little) person in your life, so for one day, be selfish!
Get Support. As an awaiting parent, the most validating thing that you can ever do, is to reach out to other awaiting parents for support. Need to vent? Sad? Overwhelmed? Please know that you are not alone, that others get it, and that reaching out may not only help you… but so many others who are struggling alongside you
Research. Maybe you have a few days off from work, and find yourself restless, maybe you are anxious about a certain aspect of adoption. Take your time off to do some more research on different topics about adoption. Want to learn more about FASD? Hoping to gain insight into developmental trauma? Ask your Regional Parent Liaison for some resources that you can browse to help your own learning.
Focus on the Positives. I know…a bit of a cop-out... but hear me out. Its so often on this journey that things may seem out of our control. Its important to take some time to realize just how far you have come, and praise yourself on how much work you have already done. Adoption is not for the faint of heart. Perhaps starting a journal to remind yourself of your motivation behind your reason to adopt, praise yourself for becoming that much closer to finding your forever child and know that one day, you will be in my shoes, and able to share your insights of how you survived as an awaiting parent.
No matter where you are in your journey, please know that all of us are here to support you. It’s ok to need more, it’s ok to ask for help, and it’s definitely ok to put yourself first during the holiday season.
From my family to yours, wishing you a very happy holidays!!!
The opinions expressed in blogs posted reflect their author and do not represent any official stance of Adopt4Life. We respect the diversity of opinions within the adoption, kinship and customary care community and hope that these blog posts will stimulate meaningful conversations.