Wednesday, January 6, 2016
I have never liked making New Year’s resolutions. In the past, I have made the typical ones about weight and health. I have promised to create more quiet time and relaxing opportunities. I have set goals of spending more time writing and learning. Each year, I have good intentions, but as the months progress, I see my resolve slipping and I fall back into old ways and patterns. Ugh.
So this year, rather than set my expectations high and feel I’ve let myself and others down, I am just concentrating on the ones I know I can achieve.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS - Even with our busy lives, we stay in touch - texting makes it so much easier. My mother and sister ground me, especially during stressful or indecisive times. They are my best support system and we are comfortable asking one another any question or stating any opinion, even if we disagree.
I have a small select group of friends. We are confidents, offering support, a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on throughout the years. Due to busy schedules and distance, we may not see one another very often, but are always a phone call away. Even those with whom I talk to less frequently, as soon as we hear each other’s voice, it is as if no time has elapsed. We pick up where we left off, update one another on life’s events and always end with the promise to call more often.
I also have a close group of friends who fall into the colleague category...those I have met while working together. We have witnessed the growing up of our children and our own passing through chronological and professional developmental stages. As many of us are adoptive parents, birth parents or adult adoptees, adoption work is very personal to us, and we provide easy access to information and emotional support both as parents and as professionals. I still call upon these “friends” when I need a second opinion or am looking for additional resources for clients. We have grown close through our working relationships.
ADOPTION - When my kids were young, holidays made me not only reflect on how much they had grown from the past year, but also made me wonder about their birth families. How were they? Were they thinking of their daughters living so far away? New Year’s was a time that I thought of their birth families. I wondered if they were thinking of us here in New York.
As an adoptive or birth parent, holidays can cause the resurfacing memories of past decisions and questioning of how those decisions turned out. Some children ask more questions about their birth family. They wonder what life would have been like if they still lived in the town where they were born. I understood this pondering in my own children, and also wondered what their lives life would have been if they were adopted by a different family.
I will continue to contemplate and learn about adoption during the coming year. I will share what I know and have learned from others. I will provide guidance and counseling on the adoption process and living as an adoptive family. I will remember and educate others that being part of an adoptive family includes birth parents, regardless of whether they are physically present in a child’s life. I will assist children, young teens and adults to understand the influence of adoption in their lives, to integrate their early history and current lifestyle and to develop self-confidence.
LOOKING FORWARD – I see many possibilities for myself over the next year. Rather than choosing a list of goals on which to concentrate, I have decided to be the best I can be, see where the road takes me and take advantage of what is presented.
I shall concentrate when the news reflects the goodness in our society.
I will seize professional opportunities.
I will share what I know with those around me.
When I see rainbows, I shall see it as a sign of good fortune.
When I am offered lemons, I shall make (diet) lemonade.
My best wishes to all of you for a wonderful and fulfilling New Year.
Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. She has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled adoptive parents and parents-to-be, and has trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program from March 1992 to March 2015. She is Head Writer for Adoption.net, member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood and has a private practice in New York City. She was a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series and named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. Follow or reach her at ADOPTION MAVEN BLOG or EMAIL.