Thursday, December 14, 2017
The holidays are upon us. You most likely will spend more time with family and friends, catching up on the year gone by and looking forward to the one to come. Children will be part of many celebrations and ever present on television shows and commercials. If you are trying to conceive or adopt - any of these situations may impact on your emotions. If you are in your own home, you can change the channel or mute unwanted messages. But, if you are out and about or with family and friends, someone will most likely bring up the subject of children or family building.
Preparing for this scenario may make things easier. You can shop on line to avoid seeing children in the mall or go there late at night when most children should be home and in bed. You do not have to go to any events or celebrations that make you uncomfortable. You can carefully choose the ones to attend. However, you should have a plan. Decide ahead of time, what questions you will answer, what information you will reveal and what is off limits. You have the right to share only what you want to share.
Make sure someone else at the party "has your back". They should be aware of your plan and know when to distract others with varying topics of conversation or suggesting you come try a food or are needed somewhere else. Agree on how you will let them know you need their assistance (i.e. a tug on an ear, use of a specific word, twirling a ring or other signal.)
It's also okay to spend some alone time. Create new holiday traditions. Do something with friends or family who get “it". Schedule a pampering session. Vacation in an adult only resort.
You can also prepare and get through the holidays (and other events throughout the year) with the help of a support system (in-person or online group) or by seeking out professional counseling (short or long term).
I never forgot how it felt to attend events where I knew my emotions would be raw. I admit I avoided some. Even after having my daughters, I learned to stay away from gatherings where new mothers talked about pregnancy and childbirth. Over the years, it was much easier as conversations turned to day-to-day parenting. Then I was one of the group.
Remember - it is up to you what to share and with whom, now and in the future. It is your story now. As your child grows, it will become their story, too. You can share specific or generic information or no information at all. You will teach your child how to field questions, to answer or not.
Adoption will always be a part of how you became a family. Some days, it will fade into the background. Holidays tend to bring it to the forefront.
Wishing you a happy holiday season.
Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. Through her private practice and agency affiliations, she has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled expectant, birth, pre/post adoptive parents and adopted persons, as well as trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program of JCCA and a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series and is currently a member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood and active in the Adoptive Parents Committee in New York. Her blogs and written contributions can be seen throughout the Internet, including her BLOG and as Head Writer for ADOPTION.NET She was named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. You can reach her directly at EMAIL