The Easter holiday is a time for family, worship, fellowship, and food. We come together with loved ones to celebrate and worship. Yet for many waiting adoptive families, holidays like Easter that center on children and family can be difficult.
There’s no magic formula to “survive the holidays” while you wait to be chosen by a birth mother. What you can do to prepare is to recognize that holidays like Easter may be difficult, and to accept your emotions when they come. Here are 7 tips to help you not only get through the Easter holiday while you wait but to celebrate too:
1. Remember What Easter is About
On Easter, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb. He conquered death and bridged the gap between man and God. Easter is the accomplished prophecy of the Messiah who was persecuted, died for our sins, and rose. Remembering the resurrection of Jesus is a way to refresh your daily hope.
2. Create New Traditions
Discuss with your spouse which family traditions you’d like to share with your child. Have some fun coming up with new traditions, too! Decorating eggs, and having an Easter egg hunt is a fun tradition to enjoy with children. Consider making a special dessert for the family gathering after church service.
3. Turn to God
Allow God to comfort you through His holy word: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) and “Lord you are always with me; you hold me by my right hand…My flesh and my heart may fail, but you are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:23,26)
4. Send a Letter
This idea was shared with us by an adoptive mom, who says, “While I was waiting, I wrote a letter before the holidays to close friends and family. In the letter, I answered questions that I thought they’d ask. I love them, but I didn’t want to feel ambushed with questions when we were together over the holidays. I shared my feelings, how our adoption journey was going, and kindly let them know that I’d initiate the discussion about our adoption when we saw each other. Setting this boundary really helped me, because I knew I wouldn’t be ambushed with questions as soon as we entered the room! Plus, they wouldn’t have to deal with the awkwardness of not knowing what to say or ask about our adoption. We were able just to enjoy our time together!”
5. Be Choosy With Invites
At times, going to an Easter service or gathering may be difficult for you, because it’s a painful reminder that you’re still waiting to hold your child in your arms. Talk with your spouse and decide which invitations you want to accept. Keep in mind that you have the right to change your plans if either of you are having an especially difficult time.
6. Focus on Others
A great way to serve God, minister to others, and take your mind off your own pain is by shifting your focus towards others. As Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” (Mark 10:45) You might volunteer to serve food to the homeless, spend time at a nursing home, or write cards for those grieving in your church. All around you, there are people in need.
7. Plan Your Responses
Most people honestly mean well when they ask you about your parental status or adoption journey. Prayerfully think about what you’d like to share with others about how you feel about the adoption wait. Then, you can plan ahead of time how you’ll respond to certain questions. Doing this can really cut down on your anxiety at the moment.
All of us at Lifetime wish you many blessings this Easter! This holiday is a great opportunity to think about the sensitivity of hope. It’s a time when everything seems possible, and at the same time uncertain. HOPE is a positive expectation that something good is about to happen. Trust that your adoption is about to happen, even though at the moment you’re waiting.
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.