Family gatherings and Christmas traditions make this a fun, exciting time of year for most people. But for couples waiting for adoption, the holiday season might become a time of added pressure and disappointment. Loved ones mean well but ask questions or make remarks that feel hurtful or seem insensitive.
A common question from hopeful parents waiting for a child is: “How do we get through the holidays?” Keep reading to get Lifetime’s advice for adoptive parents waiting to adopt this holiday season!
If you’re feeling depressed and down, don’t try to bury those emotions. Let them out. It’s easy to feel guilty that you’re not happy when people around you are cheerfully celebrating. If you pretend like everything is okay, you’ll end up hurting yourself more.
You’re allowed to be human and express how you feel, no matter what time of year it is. Give yourself permission to be sad or to cry. If you’re not up to attending a Christmas party, just decline. “I found it so helpful to jot my feelings down in a journal. Writing is very therapeutic for me!” shares one adoptive mother, now mom to a four-year-old boy.
Talk About It
While you’re waiting for adoption, consider talking to a friend, close family member, pastor, or counselor about how you’re feeling. The truth is, holding it all inside will just make you feel worse. Talk to someone who’s able to offer encouragement and be compassionate. Sometimes, just talking about what you’re going through will raise your spirits so that you can join in on holiday activities. Many people feel as if the weight of the world has been lifted from their shoulders after confiding in someone.
Try doing a little something for yourself if you’re feeling sad during the holidays. It might be a yoga class after work, a massage, or a nice relaxing warm bath. Taking some time for yourself to relax and unwind will make you better equipped to deal with the hectic holiday season. Self-care is mentioned in the media a lot lately, and for good reason: it does wonders to improve your attitude and mood! All of us need (and deserve) a break to regroup from time to time.
Often, helping others will lift your spirits. There are many ways you can give back, so we suggest choosing something that feels right to you. You might donate toys or gifts to a family in need, volunteer at a homeless shelter, or just do something nice for a friend, co-worker, family member, or even a stranger. The knowledge that you’re helping someone in need will give you an incredible feeling inside.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, getting involved in an activity or project may help. “While we were waiting to be chosen by a birth family, I painted and redecorated our guest bedroom. This project gave me something to think about other than how I felt, and it was satisfying to see the work completed,” shares one Lifetime adoptive mom. It doesn’t have to be as large of a project as re-doing a room in your house. You might work on something smaller such as scrapbooking, baking, knitting, organizing a closet, or making a homemade gift.
No matter how you choose to get through the holiday season while in your adoption wait, remember that this too shall pass. You’ll be a parent before you know it!
As Vice President 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.