We know this time of year is difficult for many people and for many good reasons. Some of us look forward to spending holidays with family and others dread it. And then there are those whose families still feel incomplete, for whom 2017 was not the year they became a parent. It’s not hard to imagine how hard it must be to get those family photo cards in the mail, to watch other people’s children unwrap their gifts with delight, and hear what feels like the whole world talking about how wonderful it is to share the magic of the season with little ones.
The pain is palpable.
If this is your experience, I hope you are met with compassion and comfort by those who surround you now and make up whomever you call family. If you can, find some distractions, explore a new interest, rediscover forgotten past times that get you away from the telephone and keep you connected to others. And if it’s others who are adding to your pain through misguided comments or unwanted questions, retreat with a good book or movie or take that trip you’ve been thinking about.
Life is defined by time and seasons. ~Laila Gifty Akita
If possible, revel in the time you have now which you can fill however you choose, knowing that it will be different in the future when your time will inevitably be shared and your schedule will not always (okay, almost never) be your own. Are you as good at self-care as you’d like to be? Most of us aren’t. Now is an opportune time to figure out what self-care looks like for you; through trial and error, you can set up some practices now. Trust the advice of those already in the season of parenting: you will not have the energy or head space to do this important work in the midst of welcoming a child into your home and integrating them into your already full, busy life.
We read to know we are not alone. ~C.S. Lewis
If seeing some of your experience here in print made a difference for you, give some of these titles a try https://creatingafamily.org/adoption/adoptionsuggestedbooks/adoption-books-parents/or research more to find exactly what you’re looking for. Feeling like you can’t even focus on reading more than blog post right now? Maybe children’s picture books are a good start. Start a library for your child if that feels right. Sometimes taking action, however small, can empower us and help restore our hope.
We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community. ~Dorothy Day
There are so many others who’ve been where you are in the process and even more who are in the same position know. If you know them, reach out, connect if it will help to just vent. And if that’s too difficult, send a note of encouragement. Or ask your loved ones to send some to you! People are usually waiting in the wings, not knowing what to say or do, and fearing that they will “get it wrong.” Tell them you’d appreciate words of encouragement and they’ll come through for you.
And sure enough even waiting will end…if you can just wait long enough. ~William Faulkner
Diane Tomaz is an adoptive parent of two boys and the Director of Family Support Services at MARE. She loves supporting families through the adoption process and brings a wealth of professional and personal knowledge to the task. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.