Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Holidays tend to include more time with family and friends. While they may know you are trying to adopt, they may not know the emotional toll it takes to participate in an event where there may be children or where questions may be asked.
For these events, line up an ally, someone who knows how you feel and knows when to step in. They can distract others or remove you from a conversation by saying you are needed elsewhere or suggesting that you try a food item or come look at something in another room. Arrange a “signal” with this person beforehand or a way to let them know you need their help.
Do not be hard on yourself for not wanting to attend an event or to spend time with others. You have a right to your feelings. Choose the few parties you need to participate in and avoid the others.
You may find yourself avoiding not only these events but also shopping malls and other locations where there are children. It’s okay. Buy what you can on the Internet or go to the mall late at night when children should be home and in bed.
Take some time to be alone to think or to pamper yourself. Spend time with special friends and family members who understand your situation. Plan to do something you like that will bring you joy. Think about changing your holiday traditions. Taking a vacation to an “adult” location may help you avoid seeing young children. Take up yoga or meditation which will be helpful all year long. If you think it will help, join a local or on-line support group or seek counseling.
While it has been over 29 years since I avoided an event, I never forgot how it felt during those motherless days when I wondered if I would be a mom. If I would ever be able to spend time with family and friends without wishing their kids were left home, and not feel empty or guilty for feeling that way.
My parents, sister and friends welcomed my daughters instantly. My extended family welcomed them too, but with varying degrees of curiosity. I answered or deflected questions without divulging my daughter’s personal information. Over the years, the questions lessened and my daughters became able to answer the ones they wanted.
Whether you are waiting to adopt or already parenting – share what you want with family and friends. Remember the difference between secrecy and privacy - the information really belongs to your child. It is also okay to say you don’t want to talk about it.
Adoption was and will always be part of my life. Some days it is more prevalent. But mostly, I am a mom like anyone else.
Happy holidays (whatever you celebrate)…..
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