Dear Mardie, Sometimes it is so hard to stay positive in the adoption wait. We are on top of everything and have had some interest, but some days, like when my sister announces she’s expecting her fourth baby, it is just easy to get down on things. I still believe that adoption will happen, but staying positive can often be a challenge. Do you have any suggestions?
Yes, that is something that many families have shared, and can be a natural part of any time in life where you have less control in a situation but great personal investment and emotion in the outcome. I’m happy to share some things that were valuable to me when I was adopting, as well as some new ideas from my team as well!
Guard Your Heart
During this time, it is okay to decline invitations that are just too difficult emotionally. I attended far too many baby showers that resulted in a tearful evening at home afterwards. It’s normal to struggle with joy for your friends when you long for the same thing that often comes easy to so many others. For me, I began sending a thoughtful gift and card, but choosing not to personally attend if possible. Sometimes, this meant I even skipped showers of a cousin or niece – but I needed to do what was best for me.
Make New Memories
Similarly, many families have many traditions tied around holidays and children, like Easter and Christmas. My husband and I simply got tired of distant relatives asking when we were going to have a baby or, later once we were waiting to adopt, why we hadn’t adopted yet. We made the personal choice to make different plans that could still honor parts of our family traditions while blazing new trails that could avoid the difficult questions or kid-heavy events, like the annual Easter egg hunt. We could, if we chose, enjoy in future years when we had adopted but for now, it was a great time to sneak away for a romantic or sight-seeing weekend, because everyone else is celebrating with family!
Stay Positive in ALL Things
Pay attention to what you are reading and listening too. Everything we take in has the potential to affect our mood, outlook, and success. Here are a few great ideas to add positive encouragement to your conscious and subconscious:
- Get CDs or podcasts of uplifting positive people. Tony Robbins, Joyce Meyer, Zig Ziglar, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Joel Osteen, or anyone who has a positive, motivational message. Replace political talk shows and fighting hosts with these messages of positivity.
- It’s great to watch your favorite TV show or movie, but avoid ones that cause stress or pull at your emotions so hard that you feel drained when you are done. Really think about if you are being pulled down or stressed out by what you are watching. Look for uplifting shows that have positive feelings and messages. A happy ending isn’t always worth all the stress a movie showed just to get there!
- Are there games you play on your mobile phone? Consider swapping one out with Bold Moves, a game made by Oprah that is fun and has positive encouragement throughout. Similarly, download a daily devotional like First 5 and look for other positive messages your device can provide you with.
- Examine your friends – are they lifting you up or dragging you down? It’s time to clean house!
- Choose positive music when you listen, even if it is in the background. Christian Contemporary is a great choice as is simple relaxation music that weaves nature sounds in with it.
Little things can mean a lot when you are waiting to adopt. You may find yourself more sensitive, closer to tears at time, and just generally more on edge. This can be normal, but trying to manage other stressors and situations in your life can free up some mental space to help stay on a more even keel.