Now that you are in the adoption process, you may have been matched with a child and are waiting for the placement or perhaps you are still waiting to be matched with a child. The holiday season extends for over a month with parties to attend, gifts to buy and responsibilities to see family members and engage in holiday traditions. But you may not feel happy and excited about the holidays. You are still waiting for your child and another year has gone by without having the child you dreamed of.
You are not alone. I have spoken to many adoptive parents who find the holidays to be very difficult, triggering feelings of sadness and emptiness because they are still waiting for their child. Here’s the good news! There are many ways to make the holiday season a peaceful, joyful time as you wait for yor child. Here are a few:
Take the time to volunteer for your favorite charity or cause. It may be your church, food kitchen, or perhaps sponsor a family in need by purchasing holiday gifts and food for them. Check your local schools or food kitchens for opportunities to make a family’s holiday season a little brighter. Research shows that volunteering has health benefits such as decrease in depression, and will give you a sense of accomplishment in helping improve the lives of others.
Create new family traditions with your partner
Brainstorm new ways that you can enjoy the holidays together. It can be as simple as attending a holiday concert or show, ice skating, or hosting a holiday movie night. A mini vacation for New Year’s Eve at your favorite bed and breakfast can give you time to relax with each other and reconnect.
Connect with other waiting families
Join local adoptive parent groups such as Adoptive Parents Committee. You can be in touch with other couples going through the same process. Sharing stories and information can be empowering and less isolating. Plus, making new friends can be fun!
Enjoy the outdoors
Research shows that just 15 minutes of sunlight each day can help boost your mood. In addition, that extra vitamin D helps you sleep better at night. You can take a long walk, go hiking, or go jogging. Or, just sitting outside on a balcony or walking to work will give you that added natural sunlight which improves your mental state.
Remember that this too shall pass
The waiting may seem endless, but you will not be waiting for your child forever Once your child arrives, it is very likely you will forget this time of anticipation and be focused on your new life as a parent! Try to stay in the moment and keep the perspective that this is only a temporary situation with the end result of you welcoming a new child into your family!
By Elizabeth Westermann, LCSW