The adoption process can be long and strenuous for both birth parents and adoptive parents. You know it’s worth it, but when you’re in the middle of it, it’s easy to start feeling anxious, frustrated, or even scared.
The birth mother is managing the challenges of pregnancy, complete with the physical and emotional changes, a potential impact on her career and other relationships in her life, and medical appointments in addition to the adoption process.
On the other side, the adoptive parents are waiting to be matched with a child. They’re preparing their profile so birth mothers have an opportunity to get to know them, going through the home study, and preparing their home for the arrival of an infant. They could get word of a match tomorrow – or not for several months or even a year. Every day is filled with hope and potential disappointment.
However, it’s important for both the birth and adoptive parents to stay positive throughout the adoption process. The Mayo Clinic reports that a positive outlook improves immunity, lowers your risk of depression and distress, improves coping skills, and even increases life span. That’s all beneficial while you’re waiting for the adoption to be complete – and beyond.
Here are some tips for staying positive during the adoption process:
Prepare and Educate Yourself
The better you understand the adoption process; the less anxiety you will experience. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, and take the time to read some blog posts or books about adoption. We can connect you with resources for both birth and adoptive parents.
Yoga, meditation, or other mindfulness practices can help you learn to stay aware of your thoughts and catch them before they spiral into negativity. These practices can also help you appreciate your life, stay in the present moment, decrease stress, and relieve your worries about things that are out of your control.
There are lots of apps, websites, and YouTube videos that can help you get started with these practices. Try this simple one:
During a daily task, like brushing your teeth or washing the dishes, immerse yourself completely in the experience. Notice how you hold the toothbrush and how much paste you use. Pay attention to how you breathe while the toothbrush is in your mouth and how the paste makes your gums tingle. Notice every detail about brushing your teeth. This is a simple mindfulness technique you can use throughout the day to prevent yourself from engaging in negative thinking.
Do Things You Enjoy
Don’t put your whole life on hold while you wait for the baby to be born. Continue to participate in activities you enjoy: reading, watching Netflix, having dinner with friends, cooking, painting, exercising, and more. Look for opportunities to laugh: laughter relieves stress and tension, so watch a comedy show or some cat videos.
Take Care of Yourself
It might seem selfish to think about yourself when there’s a child in the middle of it all, but it’s important to take care of yourself. It’s hard to be the parent your child needs if you’re not healthy and happy. Even if you’re feeling nervous about the adoption process, keep eating healthy foods, exercising, and visiting your doctor as required (for both the birth and adoptive parents!). Amidst all the uncertainty, you can eliminate stress and find comfort by maintaining some familiarity in your schedule and habits.
Focus on the Child
This is what it’s all about! When you’re feeling anxious, remember: there’s a baby getting ready to come into the world, and he or she is going to benefit from the choices you’ve made and the process you’re going through now. Every day that passes brings you closer to the moment you give birth or the moment you take your baby home for the first time. As the birth mother, remember that every day is required for your child to develop in your body; as the adoptive parents, remember that every day allows you to grow into the parents you’ll soon be.
When those feelings of anxiety arise, take a deep breath and know you’re on the right path. Focus on the beautiful gift you’re going to give this child. As we always say, adoption is a shared gift.
If you’re just beginning to consider placing your child for adoption or considering adding a child to your family through adoption, we’ve got a team dedicated to helping you. Get started today by clicking on one of the buttons below! We look forward to helping you through the entire adoption process!