Handling the Holidays: For Those Still Waiting to Adopt

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Watching the leaves fall outside my window reminds me of how quickly time passes. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas are right around the corner. For those families with children, holidays evoke images of laughter, fun-filled family get togethers and memories being made. However, for those families still waiting, the holidays can be bittersweet. Listed are a few suggestions in how you might choose to plan ahead in paving the way to a more pleasant holiday season.

1. Take care of yourselves. Talk to each other. Determine your needs. Compliment one another on your strengths; recognize difficult emotions (anger, sadness, jealously) are okay to have, particularly in going through the adoption experience. Help each other come to terms with these emotions or find productive ways to vent. Don't feel compelled to have to "put on a happy face" just to make everyone else happy through the holidays.

2. Think about how best to deal with family holiday traditions and obligations. If even the thought of attending midnight mass with your entire extended family on Christmas Eve makes you feel sick, start talking now to family members to let them know of your feelings. I suspect they would be glad you did and understanding of your reasons for not attending. Or if you truly enjoy the service, consider asking a special young person in your life (a neighbors child, a niece or nephew or a child you have "adopted" through a Big Brother or Sister's program) if they would be able to attend the service with you.

3. If you have excused yourself from your normal holiday routine, plan a vacation. Money short? Walk to your nearest library, go to the travel section and take out books on your dream destination. Plan to spend a day or two together (take your phone off of the hook) and then let your imagination run wild....rent videos, make native dishes, hit the thrift shops and dress like the "locals"- just HAVE FUN!

4. If a vacation isn't something you desire, make plans to do something that would bring smiles to faces of others. Think about volunteering at a Battered Women's Shelter; a Homeless Persons' Shelter or ask your priest, rabbi or minister if he/she knows of a family that you could spend time with during the holidays. I suspect if you choose to do this your problems would seem minor compared to those of others and your smiles would probably outshine the brightest star!

5. Just can't let go of thinking about adoption??? Plan your holiday greeting to include a gentle reminder to your friends and families that you are very much wishing to become a family through adoption. Ask that if they know of anyone who might be able to help you achieve your dream to call you or your adoption agency. (Need samples of such letters...give us a call and we'll be glad to send you samples.)

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