While Christmastime is full of joy and family fun, for parents who are waiting to bring their adopted kiddo home, the holidays can be a reminder of loneliness, anxiety, and uncertainty. If you’re waiting to bring a child home, these tips and resources just may make this season a bit easier for you and your family.
Whether you’re waiting for a referral or waiting for the finalization of your adoption, the holiday season can provide emotional challenges. Recognizing your feelings is the first step to addressing them! Here are some ways you can make it through – and maybe even enjoy – the holiday season.
Stay Busy (When Appropriate)
Though you don’t want to stifle your feelings by filling your social calendar, remember that surrounding yourself with a loving, supportive community is a great way to keep your mind off of the waiting.
Some examples of activities can include:
Getting outside. When the weather allows, spending time outdoors in sunlight is a great way to lift your spirits. Consider going on a walk, hike, or jog, and enjoying the outdoors with your partner or friends.
Enjoying new holiday traditions. Don’t wait to have a child in the home before you take advantage of new, fun traditions! From ice skating to gingerbread house assembling, there are tons of opportunities for holiday cheer this month. You can read more about potential traditions in our recent blog, “Together This Christmas.”
Volunteering. Volunteering is a wonderful way to serve others and rejuvenate your spirit, reminding us of the beauty of the Gospel.
Attending holiday events. If it’s not too much, consider getting dressed up and festive for events! Holiday parties and community events present plenty of opportunities to celebrate the season in style and around others. (Side note: If you feel holiday events are too overwhelming, or if you make it to a party and realize it’s too much for you, that’s okay too. Give yourself the permission and space to leave when necessary.)
Take Time for Yourself
On top of remaining busy, try to slow down when you can. Taking the time to process your feelings and even pamper yourself is paramount.
For the basics, ensure you’re eating meals and drinking enough water. Get plenty of sleep and allow yourself naps if you feel fatigue slipping in. If you notice you are struggling in particular with sleep or anxiety, reach out to a counselor or your doctor for proper care.
Additionally, make the most of the holiday season with traditional comforts. If you’ve had a particularly challenging day, settle in with a blanket, hot chocolate, and your favorite Christmas movie. Other self-care ideas include taking a warm bath, journaling, exercising, learning something new, or coloring.
Be prepared that well-meaning family and friends may ask you questions about your adoption that you may not be comfortable with. When possible, prepare yourself with pre-considered answers to your questions. Know what information you’re comfortable with sharing and know that you don’t owe anyone any answers you aren’t ready to give.
Along with having pre-planned answers, brainstorm your exit strategies for when you are ready to leave an event. Communicate with your partner or a close friend or family member on ways you can easily leave events.
You can also prepare yourself for the holiday season by connecting with other adoptive parents and by brushing up on your adoption reading. Spending time with families who have already gone through the adoption process is a great way to learn more and talk to someone who understands your feelings. Considering Adoption has a list of educational readings while waiting for adoption, with topics like “Waiting During the Holidays,” “217+ Things to Do While You’re Waiting to Adopt,” and “What Not to Say to Waiting Parents During Holiday Gatherings.”
There Is Hope
While it may be difficult to see now, try to remind yourself you have a bright future ahead and that God has a plan for your adoption. Despite any struggle, be sure to slow down this season and appreciate the simple joys of the season. The journey to adoption is a beautiful one, and this is just a part of the story you are building with your soon-to-be child!
From the AGCI team, we wish your family a very merry and joy-filled Christmas!